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CNN Money Article – Red Hot Markets

Real Estate – Red Hot Markets: Why is housing in some cities still booming?

NEW YORK (Money Magazine) — When Elisabeth and Tom Merrill decided to sell their home in Wenatchee, Wash. (pop. 107,000), they braced themselves for a long slog.

The couple and their four kids were bursting out of their 2,400-square-foot house, but they had read about the nation’s slow-as-sludge real estate market and expected the worst.

But their house sold in 10 hours for $387,000, 80% more than they paid six years ago. “I was thrilled,” says Elisabeth. “I can’t believe how fast it happened.”

While housing prices increased only 3.2% nationally in the year ended June 2007, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), a government regulator, prices in Wenatchee shot up 24%, partly because a recent influx of retirees boosted demand for housing.

Wenatchee is not the only hot spot bucking the national trend. Markets in the Pacific Northwest, Utah and Colorado still boast annual appreciation rates of 10%-plus, along with a scattering of bright spots in the South and even in the East and the Midwest.

How to account for these exceptions? Continue reading

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