Towns Where Housing Markets Are Turning Around

With an average of 1.8 million homes on the market on any given day in the second quarter of 2013, home list prices are rising in major metro markets around the nation as housing inventory continues shrinking, but the city of Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy last month, is that one surprising dark horse among the Top 10 of's Turnaround Towns Report.

With a median list price up by 37.8 percent, Detroit is second only to Oakland, Calif., where the median list price rose 41.3 percent. And in Detroit, the rate as which homes in this category are selling beats out every single town east of the Rockies.

"Detroit has made remarkable progress in the last year, shrinking its inventory of unsold homes by more than 26 percent and becoming one of the most balanced markets in the nation," said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, which operates

However, despite it's progress, Detroit ranks No. 7 overall on this list of the top turnaround towns. See if you can guess which towns made up the other nine, and then test your answers against the slideshow below. Hint: No town in Florida made the list this quarter.

Top 10 Turnaround Towns of 2nd Quarter 2013
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Towns Where Housing Markets Are Turning Around

Reno was labeled a boom town when it made the list at No. 38 a year ago, and has continued to climb. After all, it was  No. 78 on the list two years ago. It has cut its inventory by 32.3 percent from the same quarter last year and list prices are responding, rising 26 percent on a quarter-over-quarter basis.

Reno has cut its inventory by 28.47% from the same quarter last year and list prices are responding, rising 12.50% on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Home shown above is a short sale asking $239,000, the median list price for the area. 

See more homes for sale in Reno.

The median amount of time that homes sit on the market in San Diego has fallen 26.4 percent. That's not the fastest rate drop on the list, but it still beats the median age of inventory nationally, which fell 14.3 percent to an average of 83 days on the market.

The 1,292-square-foot detached home shown above is priced at $429,900, which is the median list price for San Diego. Although it has only two bedrooms, the corner lot home boasts one of the largest backyards in the complex.

See more homes for sale in San Diego.

Foreclosures have played a significant role in Portland’s housing market in recent years, but as the market begins to turn around, the number of filings is falling, but in spite of the foreclosure backlog, Portland’s for-sale inventory has declined by 23.5 percent. The median list price is up 12 percent to $280,000. 

The three-bedroom home shown above at the area median list price, is a short sale that has had only one owner. Built in 1997, the home has a view of St. John's Bridge, and it has a hot tub.

See more homes for sale in Portland.

Although Detroit has lost more than half of the population it had in the 1950s, and it is plagued by its recent bankruptcy filing,  the inventories are down 26.5 percent from a year ago. The market’s median age of inventory is just 45 days, the second lowest in the nation.  

“We’ll be watching the inventory levels in the months ahead, but if this past quarter is any indication, Detroit won’t be giving up without a fight,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move.  

The average list price in Detroit is $125,000, the same as the three-bedroom historic colonial shown above. The home still has original hardwood floors, but there are marble countertops and a jet bathtub in the master. 

See more homes for sale in Detroit.

Los Angeles made its leap into the Top 10 from No. 65 a year ago. 

List prices are up 30.3 percent, for a median of $439,000 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach metro area.

That list price might seem low for a California city, especially given that the median list for Santa Barbara is $699,000 and San Jose is $675,000. But it's about what you can get for your money.

For example, at this median list, you'll find two-bedroom condo apartments like the one listed above. This unit, located on the upper level and at the rear of the building, is one of the most coveted two-bedroom units in the complex.

See more homes for sale in Los Angeles.

Seattle has worked its way into the Top 10 turnaround towns with consistently low inventories and fresh listings. The median age of the market’s inventory on in the second quarter was only 23 days, making it the second youngest in the nation. Seattle homes listed for sale are down 29.9 percent since the second quarter of 2012. Though Seattle’s market prices are not rising as quickly as others on the list, it's seeing a resurgence in seller confidence.

The three-level townhome pictured above is a three-bedroom end-unit with upstairs master bedrooms. The list price of $374,950 is about the going median price of Seattle-area homes. 

See more homes for sale in Seattle.

Inventories in San Jose dropped 35.4 percent compared to the second quarter of 2012, the second-largest drop in the nation, behind No. 2 on the overall list. Year-over-year San Jose prices were up exactly 25 percent in the second quarter of 2013, another sign that the market is returning to normal after a combination of historically low inventories and strong demand powered prices in San Jose and several other Northern California cities to huge increases.

The four-bedroom home shown above is listed for $675,000, which is about the median price of homes selling in San Jose.

See more homes for sale in San Jose.

Santa Barbara’s strong prices catapulted it into third place on the list. In the second quarter of 2013, this market’s median price was up 34.3 percent over a year ago to $685,000. Though Santa Barbara inventories were still extraordinarily low –- down 27.8 percent from the second quarter of 2012 -– they have started to recover. The average 56 days that Santa Barbara listings spend on dropped 30.9 percent from the second quarter of 2012.

The three-bedroom home shown above is listed for $699,000, reflecting a price drop of $31,000, bringing it more in line with the median list price for the area.

See more homes for sale in Santa Barbara.

With record numbers of foreclosures just four years ago, home prices in Orange County rose 29.4 percent above year-ago levels. In the second quarter of this year, the county -- which is home to cities like Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Anaheim and Huntington Beach -- had the fastest declining inventory in the nation, with listings on down by 36.6 percent. The median age of Orange County homes on in the second quarter of 2013 was 51 days, far below the national median of 83 days and 43.3 percent lower than a year ago.

The 2010-built three-bedroom corner unit detached condo shown above is listed for $549,000, just about the median price for the area.

See more homes for sale in Orange County.

Oakland has been well on the path to recovery for more than a year. In the second quarter of 2013, listings in the Oakland market fell by more than 34 percent from year-ago levels. Oakland led the nation in year-over-year list price increases in the second quarter of 2013 and houses in Oakland are staying listed on for only 15 days, which is the youngest inventory in the nation. The median list house price in Oakland has risen from $339,000 a year ago to $479,000 in the second quarter of 2013.

The home shown above is a 1906-built, updated Victorian, listed for the area median price. 

See more homes for sale in Oakland.


More about hot housing markets:
Today's Housing Market Is Extra-Tough for First-Time Homebuyers
Top 10 Turnaround Towns of 2012's Second Quarter

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