Bankrate.com Aug 31, 2016
The Phoenix metro area is the second-best in the nation for homeowners, according to a Bankrate.com report released Wednesday.
Portland, Phoenix, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Minneapolis/St. Paul round out the best metropolitan areas for homeowners, according to the report. Bankrate.com is a leading aggregator of financial rate information and this marks their first time releasing such a report.
The study reviewed eight factors: home affordability; price appreciation; property taxes; homeowners’ insurance, energy and maintenance costs; foreclosures and how rapidly rents rose over the past six years for which data are available.
Phoenix ranked high on the list for several reasons, including strong home-price appreciation, few foreclosures and inexpensive homeowners’ insurance, according to the report.
“Phoenix was one of the best cities in all the categories we looked at,” said Claes Bell, Bankrate.com analyst. “We were looking to see which cities were the best for attainability, sustainability, affordability and if there was a rewarding financial benefit to owning a home in these areas.”
The Phoenix area scores fifth lowest on the scale of rent hedging, which is a way of measuring rent increases compared with the home price appreciation. In Phoenix, house prices have also been rising faster than rents over the past five years, contributing to the Valley’s high ranking. The Phoenix metro area had the tenth highest energy cost among the 50 metro areas, a reflection of high air conditioning bills during the summer months, according to Bankrate.com.
Home values plunged during the housing bust, but now they are recovering, according to Bankrate.com, and the pace of home appreciation in Phoenix in the last five years is second fastest among the 50 largest metro areas.
The greater Phoenix area also has bounced back from the foreclosure crisis. For the last three years the city has had the second lowest foreclosure rate among top metro areas.
“Builders stopped building during the housing bubble and now demand beats out supply,” Bell said. “Phoenix is no different in that way from the rest of the country. What’s different is the property tax rate and the affordability of the home itself. In cities like New York and L.A., housing costs are half to three-quarters of a person’s annual income.”
Strong home-price appreciation over the past five years is a common thread in Phoenix, Atlanta and Las Vegas. The Twin Cities’ best housing attributes are strong home-price appreciation and a dearth of foreclosures.
Hartford, Connecticut ranks last because of high carrying costs: It has above-average property tax, energy, homeowners’ insurance and maintenance fees. The New York City metro area is second-worst due to high property taxes, minimal home-price appreciation and expensive maintenance costs. Only Los Angeles (fourth-worst) prevented a northeastern sweep of the bottom five (Providence is third-worst and Buffalo is fifth from the rear), according to the report.
“Major cities in the middle of the country did really well in this ranking,” Bell said in a press release. “Out of the top 15 metro areas, only one is within 250 miles of an ocean. Homeowners in America’s largest coastal cities face a number of challenges, ranging from sky-high mortgage payments gobbling up an outsized portion of homeowners’ incomes to high property insurance rates, especially in hurricane-prone areas, and our ranking reflects that.