5 States Where Home Prices Are Soaring

There's a growing chorus of evidence that nationwide home prices have turned the corner. In May, the median price of newly constructed homes across the country shot up by 10.3% compared to the same month last year. And in April, two separate measures of existing-home prices estimated the annual increase to be somewhere between 7.4% and 12.1%.

But not all states are experiencing the same degree of price appreciation. According to data released today by CoreLogic, in fact, there were two states in which prices actually fell last month. In Delaware, home prices declined by 0.6%. And in Alabama, they dropped by 0.1%. Though, in the interest of full disclosure, if distressed sales are excluded from the calculation, even these two states saw year-over-year growth in existing-home prices last month.

So, where are home prices up the most? It turns out that all five of the top states in this regard are located west of the Mississippi River. As CoreLogic's president and CEO Anand Nallathambi noted, "Home price appreciation, particularly in much of the western half of the U.S., is increasing at a torrid pace." You can see this in the table below.

State

Year-Over-Year Increase in Home Prices

Nevada

26%

California

20.2%

Arizona

16.9%

Hawaii

16.1%

Oregon

15.5%

Source: CoreLogic's May 2013 Home Price Index Report.

While some of these probably come as no surprise, it's a bit perplexing why, say, Oregon has found itself among the ranks. Nevada, California, and Arizona all experienced some of the sharpest drops in prices after the bubble burst. So it makes sense that they would experience the sharpest rebound. The same cannot be said for Oregon.

In the latter case, one is left to conclude that it's the beneficiary of more fundamental economic trends. In Portland, for instance, both Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) have major headquarters. And both are in the process of expanding their Oregon-based operations. Nike is in the process of building 500,000 square feet of office space in the area and hiring 500 new employees. And at the end of last year, it was reported that Intel will add 3.6 million square feet of new construction to one of its manufacturing campuses there.

Whatever the explanation, the objective for investors is to profit off of these trends. And the most obvious way to do so is through exposure to homebuilders like D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI  ) and Lennar (NYSE: LEN  ) , both of which have major operations in many of these states. Now, to be clear, much of the opportunity here has already passed. In anticipation of these trends, both companies' stock prices have increased by more than 80% over the last two years alone.

It's for this reason that one of the best and safest stocks that will benefit from the continued improvement in housing is the one identified by our analysts in the recent free report: "The Stock Warren Buffett Wishes He Could Buy." The name of the company might surprise you, but after you read our analysis, I suspect you'll be as convinced about its promise as I am. To access the report instantly, simply click here now.


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