2012 is looking promising for the beleaguered U.S. housing market. The National Association of Realtors forecasts a rise in overall home sales of 5 percent, to 4.5 million this year, and The Wall Street Journal recently reported that a number of hedge funds, including Caxton Associates LP, SAC Capital Advisors LP and Blackstone Group LP, are betting that the housing market will grow.
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But that doesn’t mean all markets are created equal. According to the recent Home Data Index report by Clear Capital, 24 percent of 50 major metropolitan markets showed signs of stabilization in 2011, while others jumped dramatically higher or lower. Prices are still projected to fall in Atlanta, Ga.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Detroit, Mich.; and 20 other cities, but for 25 other metro areas, things are looking up. “What’s interesting,” writes Dr. Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital in a press release, “is that the lower segments of appreciating markets are driving much of the current price growth. In places like Florida, which have historically been hard hit, we are now seeing considerable activity in lower-end properties as demand continues to heat up.”
If you’re looking to invest in real estate, here are 12 housing markets that are projected to grow by 3 percent or more in the next year.
Anne Brennan contributed reporting to this article.