Editor’s note: This article is reposted with permission of Zillow. View the original item: "Best Places to Buy in 2012." Median list prices for each metro are from Realtor.com. And please note: There are slight discrepancies between Zillow’s and Realtor.com‘s metro delineations. Please check each site for precise metro info.
By Jill Simmons
The 2012 buying and selling season is well under way and the housing market is finally showing signs of life. Agents are sharing stories of bidding wars in many markets as buyers are getting off the fence, ready to capitalize on still-record-low levels of affordability.
So, is now really a good time to buy? In many markets, yes, and some places are better markets for buyers than others.
Knowing that some people might still be wary of dipping their toes in the real estate market, we looked at the places where it makes a lot of sense to buy if you live there. To determine our Best Places to Buy in 2012 list, we gave equal weight to several factors including:
- housing prices compared to local incomes.
- home value trends (where home values have been stabilizing or rising over the past year and past quarter).
- unemployment rates and the change in unemployment rates over the past year.
- whether buying makes more sense than renting.
One caveat: Just because your city didn’t rise to the top of our list doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy there. If you’re planning to live in your home at least five to seven years and have good credit, now can be a great time to buy in many markets. Median list prices and Zillow Home Value Index values are as of April 2012.
Location: Grand Rapids, Mich.
|Median list price||$139,900|
|Zillow Home Value Index||$108,000|
Downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., via Shutterstock.
Home values are on the upswing in Grand Rapids, Mich., increasing on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, according to Zillow’s Home Value Index (ZHVI). Home values are up 4.8 percent from April last year. The median home value is $108,000, which compares favorably with median incomes in the area. The unemployment picture is also improving in Grand Rapids, falling nearly 2 percent this past year.
843 Mayhew Wood Drive SE, Grand Rapids, Mich., 49507
For sale: $129,900
This updated Alger Heights home is in an established neighborhood and has three beds, two baths and is 1,551-square-feet big. A renovated kitchen has maple cabinets and granite tile counters. The flooring features natural slate, hardwood and newer carpeting.