U.S. housing markets to watch in 2014

Dec 30, 2013

Oklahoma City

Home prices didn't bubble as much as in other markets, and so prices didn't crash as hard, making this university town a place to watch in the year ahead, according to Trulia. The housing market in Oklahoma City peaked in 2009 and has lost only 1% of its value since then. And thanks to local employers such as Chesapeake Energy (chk), Dell, and the Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City's jobs picture looks bright. At about 5.3% as of November, the unemployment rate is relatively low compared with the national average of 7%. Even though home prices have risen steadily, they're still affordable for most buyers. According to Trulia, about 75% of homes for sale are within reach of middle-income Americans.

Seattle

Seattle could be one of the nation's hottest housing markets next year, say real estate websites Zillow and Trulia. Home to retail pioneers, from Amazon.com (amzn) to Starbucks (sbux), the area has created jobs at a faster pace than most U.S. cities. When the housing market crashed, Seattle was among the hardest hit cities, but home prices have rebounded, thanks in part to geography. Located between mountain and sea, Seattle has a limited amount of land to build on. And so the area has recovered from record foreclosures faster than areas that struggled with an excess supply of homes for sale.

Raleigh, N.C.

The city is home to tech firms, including Red Hat (rht) and Etix, as well as several prestigious universities, from Duke University to the University of North Carolina. It rode out the Great Recession better than most other U.S. cities, and as urban studies theorist Richard Florida points out, many flocked to the city in the years following the recession. Raleigh ranks second among the top 10 largest metros with the biggest population growth between 2009 and 2012. During that period, its population grew at an annualized rate of 2.3%, just below Austin, Texas, which grew by 2.92%. More than half (69%) of homes for sale in Raleigh are affordable to middle-income Americans, according to Trulia.

Nashville

This southern city is quickly becoming an "it" town. The New York Times earlier this year featured Nashville as an up-and- comer, with some of the best in music and food. Officials have spent $623 million on a new downtown convention center complex, one of the most expensive public projects in Tennessee history. And a boom in the city's fortunes is expected to deliver renewed interest in its housing stock, according to Trulia, which listed Nashville as a market to watch in 2014. In November, closings rose by 18.9% from a year earlier, according to the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. And the median price for a single family home increased to $195,000 from $179,900 during the same period.

Salt Lake City

Utah has one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates. As of October, it was at 4.6%, markedly lower than the national average of about 7%. Because of this, Zillow and Trulia have listed Salt Lake City as a housing market to watch next year.

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