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The 10 worst real estate markets across America



Determining top and bottom performing markets

When looking at various economic indicators, various lists pop up revealing what analysts name the best and the worst real estate markets across the nation. has named their ten “sickest” housing markets across America naming vacancy rates, total housing units and unemployment as their three determining factors.

While several of these cities certainly belong in the bottom 10 real estate markets, some do not. Take Oklahoma City for example. This week, CNBC named Oklahoma City as the second best housing market noting factors such as the city’s underwater mortgages being 30.9% below the national average. We look to BusinessInsider’s own note that the city has an unemployment rate of only 4.9%, nearly half of the national average.

Regardless, BusinessInsider’s analysis based on their chosen data points reveals these 10 cities as the worst real estate markets in America:

10. Oklahoma City, OK

Homeowner vacancy rates: 5.2% (6th)
Rental vacancy rates: 9.6% (34th)
Total housing units: 539,077
Unemployment: 4.9%

9. St. Louis, MO

Homeowner vacancy rates: 3.3% (19th)
Rental vacancy rates: 11.4% (18th)
Total housing units: 1,236,222

8. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City tied with Detroit for #8.
Homeowner vacancy rates: 3.7% (13th)
Rental vacancy rates: 11% (22nd)
Total housing units: 883,099
Unemployment: 8.4%

7. Detroit, MI

Detroit tied with Kansas City for #8.
Homeowner vacancy rates: 2.4% (32nd)
Rental vacancy rates: 17.2% (3rd)
Total housing units: 1,886,537

6. Dayton, OH

Homeowner vacancy rates: 4.7% (7th)
Rental vacancy rates: 10.7% (23rd)
Total housing units: 385,160
Unemployment: 9.3%

5. Baton Rouge, LA

Homeowner vacancy rates: 3.9% (11th)
Rental vacancy rates: 13% (12th)
Total housing units: 329,729

4. Atlanta, GA

Homeowner vacancy rates: 5.4% (4th)
Rental vacancy rates: 11.8% (17th)
Total housing units: 2,165,495
Unemployment: 9.7%

3. Memphis, TN

Homeowner vacancy rates: 4% (9th)
Rental vacancy rates: 13.5% (11th)
Total housing units: 550,896

2. Indianapolis, IN

Homeowner vacancy rates: 5.2% (5th)
Rental vacancy rates: 13.5% (10th)
Total housing units: 757,441
Unemployment: 7.8%

1. Tucson, AZ

Homeowner vacancy rates: 6.8% (1st)
Rental vacancy rates: 15.9% (6th)
Total housing units: 440,909
Unemployment: 7.8%

According to, the methodology was: Census data on the 75 largest U.S. metropolitan areas and ranked the cities with the highest overall vacancy rates for both homeowner vacancy and rental vacancy for the second quarter of 2011. We picked the cities with the worst rates in each of the two categories to create meta-data ranks. We then removed the cities that had either improved homeowner vacancy rate in either the last twelve months or the last quarter. We believed that any sign of improvement in homeowner vacancies, the more telling of the vacancy rates, should disqualify a city.

To improve our analysis, we also looked at unemployment rates for these cities provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also used historical median home prices, as provided by the National Association of Realtors.

The analysis shows that some cities have home vacancy rates over 5% and rental vacancy rates over 10%. Obviously, these levels of unused inventory have the effect of driving down both home and rental prices month after month. It also means that there is comparatively little demand for the purchase of new or existing homes. These ten markets are essentially dead as far as real estate prices and sales activity are concerned.

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  1. Chris

    August 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

    #1 baby Yeah!!!! Oh wait, this is the worst real estate markets list….noooooooooooo!

  2. Greg Cook

    August 4, 2011 at 11:53 am

    The common thread seemed to be that the higher your homeowner vacancy rating and rental vacancy rating, the higher (lower?) the ranking.

    They don't have a housing problem, they have a people problem. Not enough of them to live in the available housing.

  3. Joe Loomer

    August 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Unemployment. Write it down.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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