New index topped by housing markets where prices have skyrocketed

No. 1 “emerging” locale is Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (iStock)
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (iStock)

Buy high, anyone?

A new methodology from the Wall Street Journal and to track the nation’s “most attractive” housing markets puts smaller, cheaper cities in places such as Idaho and Montana dominate the rankings.

But prices have risen rapidly in these areas, putting some homes out of reach for locals. Powering the phenomenon are — you guessed it — urbanites from expensive markets like Seattle or Los Angeles.

The index ranked the top metro areas for home buyers looking for an appreciating housing market and lifestyle amenities. Although it claims to identify areas that are not just nice places to live but also good investments, it was dominated by cities where home prices have already shot up.

Topping the first monthly edition was Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where the median sales price shot up 47 percent from a year ago to $476,900, according to the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors.

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Realtors said that homebuyers are attracted to the quality of life and small-town feel of Coeur d’Alene. Many buyers are targeting new markets thanks to the emergence of remote work.

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The No. 2 emerging housing market was Austin, Texas, followed by Springfield, Ohio; Billings, Montana; and Spokane, Washington.

While sellers in these markets cash in, locals are finding themselves priced out by all-cash buyers from high-earning cities.

“It will prove increasingly difficult to attract teachers to our school district if they cannot find reasonably priced housing here,” said Scott Maben, spokesman for Coeur d’Alene Public Schools told the Wall Street Journal. “We are greatly concerned.”

The Journal and reviewed data for the 300 most populous core-based statistical areas, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. The analysis looked at real-estate markets and economic health. Those areas consist of eight indicators: real estate supply, real estate demand, unemployment, wages, regional price parities, amenities, commute, foreign-born residents and small businesses.

Missing from the index’s explanation was the usual disclaimer: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

[WSJ] — Keith Larsen