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Solid Job Growth, Declining Delinquencies, Improving Demographics Indicate a Healthy U.S. Housing Market for 2017

December 20, 2016

Stabilizing oil prices and employment readings are likely to improve the housing metrics in energy-intensive regions

Columbus, OH -

The majority of the most sustainable housing markets in the country are located east of the Mississippi River, including New York City, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia, and are likely to see continued sustainable growth in home sales activity and house price appreciation in 2017, according to a forward-looking housing barometer released today by Nationwide. 

According to Nationwide’s Health of Housing Markets Report (HoHM Report), common characteristics among the most sustainable housing markets include sustainable house price growth, affordability, solid job growth and falling delinquency rates. 

“Despite rising home prices and interest rates, an increase in household formations, solid job growth, continued declines in delinquency rates and a still-low level of mortgage rates are all contributing to a sustainable housing market that should continue over the next year,” said David Berson, Nationwide senior vice president and chief economist. “Importantly, with improved employment and income prospects, millennials are an expanding portion of housing demand as they move out of their parents’ homes – increasingly to form families.” 

The quarterly report evaluates the housing health for the U.S. and 400 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Overall, it indicates that the vast majority of local housing markets will experience sustainable housing activity during the next year with little chance of substantial downturns. 

The HoHM Report also found that unsustainable house price growth is lowering affordability in four cities in the western half of the country: Dallas, Denver, Portland and San Francisco. 

The report also found that: 

  • Regionally, the rankings show positive housing trends in the majority of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). This suggests that most local housing markets should see sustainable expansion over the next year.
  • Energy sector slowdowns continue to depress the housing outlooks in several MSAs in energy-intensive areas, especially in North Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, and Louisiana. Stabilizing oil prices and employment readings, however, are likely to improve the housing metrics in these regions. 
  • More than a quarter of MSAs are rated as healthy and most sustainable — indicating a positive outlook for 2017 and a very small likelihood of a downturn in housing activity.

The 10 top metro areas in the index, which reflects the health of housing, are, in order, New Bern, N.C.; Cleveland, Tenn.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Goldsboro, N.C.; Baltimore-Columbia, Md.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Valdosta, Ga.; Cumberland, M.D.-WVa.; Columbia, S.C.; and Augusta-Richmond, Ga.-S.C. 

Three of the bottom 10 metro areas are in Texas. In order, the full list of the bottom 10 are Bismarck, N.D.; Victoria, Texas; Casper, Wyo.; Houma-Thibodaux, La.; Lafayette, La.; San Angelo, Texas; Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas; Anchorage, Alaska; Missoula, Mont.; and Hammond, La. 

Showing the most improvement in the past year, in order, are Watertown-Fort Drum; N.Y.; New Bern, N.C.; Jacksonville, N.C.; Grand Island, Neb.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Dutchess County, N.Y.; Charlestown, W.Va.; Pittsfield, Mass.; Cleveland, Tenn.; and Elmira, N.Y.

Weakening the most in the past year, in order, are Bismarck, N.D.; Lubbock, Texas; Anchorage, Alaska; Iowa City, Iowa; Texarkana, Texas-Ark.; Owensboro, Ky.; Casper, Wyo.; Manhattan, Kan.; Bremerton-Silverdale, Wash.; and Carbondale-Marion, Ill.

More information about the HoHM Report, including the methodology used, can be found at www.inthenation.com/housing. The HoHM Report is released on a quarterly basis online and in print.

About Nationwide 

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.


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