If you ask a homeowner in Las Vegas and one in Dallas about their experience in the real estate collapse of 2008-2010, you're going to hear very different stories. Why? Because the Las Vegas market was absolutely crushed, while the Dallas market felt only a small speed bump.
The lesson is, of course, that real estate is not easily generalized, certainly at the national level, definitely at the state level, and yes, even at the local level. So to avoid overgeneralizing and get right to the crux of the matter, here are five real estate markets entering 2014 on a hot streak.
1. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Myrtle Beach was hit hard by the real estate collapse, just like many other markets dependent on tourism for economic growth. Couple that with speculative building run amok, and the town had little chance of thriving as the bubble burst. Fast-forward to 2014, though, and Myrtle Beach is on the rebound. The market saw 1,960 new homes sold in 2013, a 34% jump from 2012. Expect that trend to continue as the 2014 spring selling season rolls around.
2. Raleigh, N.C.
Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, is home to a diverse economy supported by a thriving technology industry, higher education, a strong health-care presence, and an underrated manufacturing base. Like its North Carolina counterpart to the west, Charlotte, Raleigh has seen a boom recently in the real estate market. There were 6,511 new homes sold in 2013, an impressive 18% increase for an metropolitan area of nearly 2 million people.
3. Colorado Springs, Colo.
Home to the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs is a pleasant community of about 400,000 people living a mile above sea level. The area is heavily reliant on the defense industry -- the top four employers as of 2011 were all military-related -- a key stabilizer for the area over the past several years. In 2013, 2,590 new homes were sold, up 26% from 2012.
4. The Villages, Fla.
The Villages, a master planned community situated in the heart of central Florida, is likely the least known of the markets you've never heard of, but that doesn't mean that the market isn't booming. In 2013, The Villages saw 4,086 new homes sold, a whopping 52% increase from 2012. Even more astounding, The Villages accounted for 45% of all the lots sold in the entire central Florida market in 2013 -- 45%!
5. Daphne, Ala.
For Gulf state communities, the real estate crisis was exacerbated even further by the economic impact of the BP oil spill in 2010. Since that time, many of these communities have bounced back strongly, with the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley metro area in Alabama leading the way. Job growth in the area is expected to reach 5%, driving the unemployment rate well below the national average. New home sales increased 100% year over year to 1,423. And with total housing starts predicted to increase by another 30% in 2014, this market is likely to stay hot for the foreseeable future.