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Real Estate: Is the party over?
Exclusive forecasts for the 100 largest markets.
December 16, 2005
By Ellen Florian Kratz, FORTUNE
FORTUNE

Living in a bubble? 4 Questions
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NEW YORK (FORTUNE) -- Everybody from Los Angeles to Boston -- your mom, your doctor, your dry cleaner -- is puzzling over which way the nation's real estate market is headed. Up or down? Bubble or not?

It's a debate that's been raging for years, and recently that there have been clear signs of a slowdown. It's unlikely, however, that the housing market will come to a screeching halt.

To get a clearer picture of how things may play out, FORTUNE turned to Moody's Economy.com and home property-valuation service Fiserv CSW.

The researchers crunched numbers on the 100 largest metropolitan regions in the country, and the results of their analysis appear in the table below.

Nationally, the overall outlook seems reasonable: 7 percent appreciation for 2006 and flat for 2007. But markets that have seen the greatest appreciation over the past five years appear to be vulnerable.

Indeed, at some point in the next two years, according to the forecast, a third of the nation's 100 largest metro areas (accounting for 60 percent of the U.S. population) are expected to see modestly falling house prices.

Real estate bear markets often come in the form of steady declines over many years, rather than sudden sharp drops.

As inflation gradually gnaws away at the value of nominal home prices, regular folks might not take much notice. But in the long run the loss of wealth becomes all too real. From 1989 to 1997, for instance, Los Angeles residential real estate dropped more than 40 percent in inflation-adjusted terms.

The nation's most perilous regional market, according to the forecast data: Las Vegas, a speculator-infested hot spot. Prices there are projected to deflate by 7.9 percent next year, the year after by another 5 percent. For newcomers to the market and those with low-money-down deals who may have overleveraged themselves with adjustable-rate mortgages, even a modest downturn could mean financial jeopardy.
Rank Metro Area State Median
home price
Projected
growth 2006
Projected
growth 2007
1 San Antonio TX $129,900 8.30% 7.00%
2 Jacksonville FL $164,700 8.10% 2.50%
3 El Paso TX $107,100 8.10% 7.10%
4 Little Rock-North Little Rock AR $115,700 7.80% 7.20%
5 Baton Rouge LA $133,800 7.60% 3.80%
6 Richmond VA $191,800 7.40% 3.30%
7 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA $193,100 7.30% 1.00%
8 Nashville-Davidson-Newport News TN $157,300 7.10% 6.70%
9 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown TX $139,800 7.00% 6.60%
10 Memphis TN $147,600 7.00% 6.50%
11 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA $247,400 6.90% 1.20%
12 Oklahoma City OK $116,900 6.90% 6.00%
13 Birmingham-Hoover AL $152,500 6.90% 5.40%
14 Albuquerque NM $166,700 6.50% 6.10%
15 Columbia SC $133,200 6.40% 5.40%
16 Fort Worth-Arlington TX $125,700 6.30% 5.00%
17 Syracuse NY $109,400 6.20% 5.40%
18 Dayton OH $116,500 6.10% 5.60%
19 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission TX $71,000 6.10% 6.20%
20 Salt Lake City UT $165,700 6.10% 3.40%
21 Austin-Round Rock TX $161,800 6.10% 5.00%
22 Tulsa OK $116,600 6.10% 6.20%
23 Pittsburgh PA $113,000 6.00% 5.00%
24 Cincinnati-Middletown OH $146,200 6.00% 6.60%
25 Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY $176,700 6.00% 4.50%
26 Dallas-Plano-Irving TX $155,500 5.90% 6.30%
27 St. Louis MO $134,900 5.80% 4.10%
28 Toledo OH $116,400 5.70% 5.00%
29 Greenville SC $141,300 5.70% 5.00%
30 Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice FL $314,300 5.60% -3.60%
31 Indianapolis IN $121,700 5.60% 5.40%
32 Wichita KS $107,200 5.50% 4.80%
33 Columbus OH $150,700 5.50% 6.00%
34 Akron OH $117,600 5.40% 5.30%
35 Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY $96,400 5.40% 5.30%
36 Knoxville TN $140,100 5.40% 5.20%
37 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner LA $149,100 5.40% 6.60%
38 Rochester NY $111,200 5.30% 6.80%
39 Raleigh-Cary NC $183,100 5.20% 5.10%
40 Philadelphia PA $199,400 5.10% 0.50%
41 Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC $172,800 5.10% 5.50%
42 Louisville KY $134,800 5.00% 4.60%
43 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis WI $210,900 4.80% 2.50%
44 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater FL $193,700 4.80% -0.50%
45 Greensboro-High Point NC $145,100 4.80% 5.50%
46 Kansas City MO/KS $154,600 4.70% 4.10%
47 Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown NY $265,000 4.60% 0.80%
48 Youngstown-Warren-Boardman OH $83,400 4.50% 5.30%
49 Gary IN $127,300 4.40% 3.40%
50 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor OH $142,800 4.30% 5.10%
51 Omaha-Council Bluffs NE $136,100 4.30% 4.10%
52 Lake County, Kenosha County IL/WI $259,100 4.20% 1.90%
53 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta GA $165,300 4.20% 4.00%
54 Honolulu HI $570,400 4.00% -1.00%
55 Orlando-Kissimmee FL $226,400 3.80% -0.50%
56 Grand Rapids MI $137,300 3.60% 2.90%
57 Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach FL $356,600 3.10% -4.50%
58 Springfield MA $197,900 3.00% 1.20%
59 Portland-Beaverton-Vancouver OR/WA $234,600 3.00% -0.70%
60 Baltimore-Towson MD $249,100 2.90% -0.80%
61 Tucson AZ $220,900 2.90% -4.00%
62 Camden NJ $210,800 2.70% 0.80%
63 Denver-Aurora CO $244,800 2.60% 2.50%
64 Wilmington DE $231,000 2.50% 1.70%
65 Seattle-Bellevue-Everett WA $335,500 2.50% 1.00%
66 Tacoma WA $222,700 2.30% 0.60%
67 W. Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach FL $386,200 2.10% -3.90%
68 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale AZ $238,100 2.00% -3.70%
69 Warren-Farmington Hills-Troy MI $196,000 1.90% 0.80%
70 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC/VA $404,900 1.80% -3.40%
71 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford CT $257,600 1.80% 0.60%
72 Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall FL $343,700 1.80% -5.50%
73 Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn MI $120,100 1.60% 2.00%
74 Newark-Union NJ $407,000 1.50% -1.80%
75 New Haven-Milford CT $280,300 1.40% 0.60%
76 Worcester MA $287,800 1.30% -0.30%
77 Edison NJ $387,900 1.20% -2.90%
78 Chicago-Naperville-Joliet IL $264,900 1.10% 0.20%
79 Cambridge-Newton-Framingham MA $448,800 0.80% 0.00%
80 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN $234,600 0.70% 0.70%
81 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk CT $472,500 0.40% -1.30%
82 New York City-White Plains-Wayne NY/NJ $504,800 0.10% -3.50%
83 San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City CA $766,000 0.10% -2.90%
84 Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick MD $444,500 0.00% -0.50%
85 Boston-Quincy MA $422,900 -0.10% -1.40%
86 Essex County MA $380,600 -0.20% -0.70%
87 Stockton CA $423,100 -0.30% -5.90%
88 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA $720,900 -0.40% -3.90%
89 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura CA $480,300 -0.70% -5.00%
90 Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CA $651,300 -0.70% -4.40%
91 Fresno CA $340,800 -0.80% -2.80%
92 Bakersfield CA $286,300 -0.80% -3.00%
93 Providence-Fall River-New Bedford RI/MA $292,800 -1.10% -2.20%
94 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville CA $372,900 -1.20% -5.10%
95 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale CA $412,900 -1.60% -6.30%
96 Nassau-Suffolk counties NY $461,300 -2.00% -4.20%
97 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA $362,800 -2.60% -6.80%
98 Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine CA $682,300 -3.10% -6.10%
99 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA $598,700 -3.40% -5.70%
100 Las Vegas-Paradise NV $296,000 -7.90% -5.00%

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