Starting today, we’ll reveal the strength of the housing market in our new monthly series “The Monthly Meyers Index,” which is based on the latest data from the Zonda iPad app.
“The Meyers Index provides an excellent barometer of the monthly changes in the health of the national, state, and metropolitan housing markets.”
– Rick Peiser, Real Estate & Urban Development Professor at Harvard Design School
Steady Rise Over The Past 5+ Years
September was the first month to reflect the hurricanes with the US index falling 15 points to 559. This drop was driven by job losses, mostly in the hospitality and retail sectors. It was also driven by a modest decrease in permits balanced by a modest increase in new home sales. Even though September’s value is down 2% compared to last year, it remains 18% higher than the 7-year historical average of the index and 6% above where the value was two years ago.
Our Top 5 CBSA Highlights
Reporting on regional growth across the markets is one of the most powerful aspects of the new Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) rankings in the Zonda Market Reports. While for top markets there is value in comparing different CBSAs, don’t be alarmed if your smaller metro isn’t batting in the major leagues. For example, Baltimore’s rating has bounced between 300 and 400 in its entire 7-year history, which is nowhere near the 900 rating for some top markets. It’s important to use the Meyers Index on a relative basis for CBSAs compared to their own historical averages.
NE Dallas Stays Hot. Dallas is arguably one of the hottest markets in the country, and our Meyers Index captures that strength. The CBSA is #1 based on the Meyers Index, up 2% month-over-month and year-over-year. Dallas’ labor market is also on fire, with a 3.4% unemployment rate and 2.8% annual clip in new jobs. McKinney, Frisco, and Fort Worth have the most active new home projects within in the CBSA.
Small Blip in Houston Data. Even after a blip in Houston’s score due to Hurricane Harvey, the metro remains a force to be reckoned with. You might be surprised that Houston is a top market for Millennials. These buyers, along with other young families, are school focused; the top 10 school districts in the market account for about 70% of the local housing starts.
Power Outages Hurt Orlando. After Hurricane Irma swept through, Orlando and many of the top markets in Florida faced power outages. This explains why the state index slipped 37 points month-over-month, led by Miami (down 23 points), Tampa (down 20 points), Jacksonville (down 15 points), and Orlando (down 14 points). Storm aside, Orlando has done a good job diversifying away from tourism and hospitality while embracing new jobs in tech and engineering.
Tech Still Drives Demand In San Francisco. A recent study placed San Francisco’s economy among the strongest in the nation due to tech giants remaining big players in the region. The average sales pace for builders in this market is higher than the national average, and the scarce inventory combined with pent-up housing demand is driving velocity for the communities that hit the market. Attainable housing is hard to come by for average (or even above-average) Americans, which has driven the demand for housing to the more affordable eastern suburbs.
Affordable Alternatives In Riverside. Riverside’s housing strength is largely fueled by workers in the logistics, warehouse, and retail industries. While job growth is healthy in the market (up 2.7% compared to last year), many of the largest employers are only offering wages between $25,000 and $75,000 a year. These salaries contribute to a focus on price point for new homes. Baby Boomers, Millennials, and young families are heading to the Inland Empire for affordable alternatives to coastal living.
About Meyers Index
The Meyers Index is a single score between 0 and 1,000 to help you understand the health of the housing market at both U.S. and regional levels. Think of the Index as a quick economic and housing snapshot.
How did we get this number? Rick Peiser, Real Estate & Urban Development Professor at Harvard Design School and Henry Pollakowski, Urban & Housing Economist at Harvard University have been working with Zonda to aggregate and weigh key housing data such as price appreciation, sales activity, demographic growth, household income levels, school scores, and affordability to interpret the strength of the housing market.
Instant housing Insights with zonda
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