Top 10 markets to invest in

Realtor.com analysis examines inventories, price trends and unemployment in 146 markets

Realtor.com’s latest top 10 investment markets report shows metros just off the beaten path leading the way.

Built from Realtor.com data updated through February 2012, the report put Tucson, Ariz.; Austin, Texas; and Kansas City, Mo., as the top current real estate markets to invest in. The top 10 list was built by analyzing the housing inventories, price trends and unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 146 markets Realtor.com tracks.

Thanks to the jobs boom surrounding the University of Arizona and the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and an 8.19 percent drop in real estate owned (REO) properties along with a 3.03 percent median house list-price increase from a year ago February, Tucson, Ariz., tops the list. A median price of $170,000 anchors the market.

Austin, Texas, the "live music capital of the world," with a median list price of $229,500, representing a 12 percent year-over-year increase, and low relative unemployment (6.3 percent as of December 2011), is a close No. 2 on Realtor.com’s top 10 markets to invest in. It’s usually a good idea to bet on breakfast tacos, live music and that laid-back Southwest charm that fuels the hip, beautiful capital of Texas.

Kansas City, Mo., too, features relatively low unemployment at 7.3 percent and a strong year-over-year median list price increase (4 percent) to bring the largest city in Missouri, and its renowned barbecue, into the top three housing markets to invest in, according to Realtor.com. Its cross-state cousin, St. Louis, caps the list at No. 10, with its strong job market, 7.5 percent year-over-year median list-price increase and 11.29 percent uptick in rate of speed a house sells compared to a year ago.

Rounding out the top 10, in order, are: Baltimore, Md.; Fort Worth, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Jose, Calif.; Raleigh, N.C.; Milwaukee; and St. Louis.

Location: Tucson, Ariz.

 

Median list price $175,000
Year-over-year price increase 3.03%
Percent faster time it takes to sell a house vs. last year 12%

San Xavier Del Bac Mission in Tucson, Ariz., via Shutterstock

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Location: Austin, Texas

 

Median list price $229,500
Year-over-year price increase 12%
Unemployment 6.3%

View of downtown Austin, Texas, from Ladybird Lake, via Shutterstock

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Location: Kansas City, Mo.

 

Median list price 134,950
Year-over-year price increase 4%
Unemployment 7.3%

J.C. Nichols Fountain in Kansas City, Mo., via Shutterstock

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Location: Baltimore, Md.

 

Median list price $239,500
Year-over-year price increase 3%
Percent faster time it takes to sell a house vs. last year 4%

Baltimore, Md.’s eponymous oriole via Shutterstock

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Location: Fort Worth, Texas

 

Median list price $160,000
Year-over-year price increase 8%
Unemployment 7.1%

Texas Longhorns at the Stockyards Station near downtown Fort Worth, Texas, via Shutterstock

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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

 

Median list price $195,000
Year-over-year price increase 5.46%
Unemloyment N/A

Utah state capitol building in Salt Lake City via Shutterstock

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Location: San Jose, Calif.

 

Median list price $468,888
Inventories vs. last year -34.49%
Unemployment N/A

Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose, Calif., via Shutterstock

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Location: Raleigh, N.C.

 

Median list price $215,000
Year-over-year price increase 7.5%
Percent faster time it takes to sell a house vs. last year 7.38%

North Carolina state capitol building in Raleigh via Shutterstock

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Location: Milwaukee

 

Median list price $175,000
Percent faster time it takes to sell a house vs. last year 9%
Unemployment 6.9%

"Milwaukee" sign in downtown Milwaukee via Shutterstock

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Location: St. Louis

 

Median list price $159,000
Year-over-year price increase 7.5%
Percent faster time it takes to sell a house vs. last year 11.21%

Gateway Arch on the banks of the Mississippi River on the edge of downtown St. Louis via Shutterstock

Inman News reporter Paul Hagey compiled this report.

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