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Seven Home Markets Topping Out

By S.E. Slack

Overall, national home values are back to December 2004 levels, down 13.5 percent since their peak in May 2007. Home values in seven of the top 35 metros measured by real estate firm Zillow are above their pre-recession peaks or will exceed them in the next year.

If you’re considering leaving Chicago for the wild West, four Texas markets – Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio – might interest you. All are currently at their peak or nearing it.

Austin, known for its eclectic music scene and movie star aura, is a relatively hot buyer’s market. The median price of homes currently listed is $331,990. Dallas is currently trending into a seller’s market. Home values there have skyrocketed nearly 14 percent in the past year. The median list price of a home in that city is $245,000.

Homes in Houstonare currently listed for a median price of $235,000. That market, too, is trending into seller’s territory but buyers can still find a few gems. Home values have risen just 3.6 percent in San Antonio, where the river employs thousands. The median price of homes currently listed in that city is $173,995.

Denver, Pittsburgh and San Jose are the remaining markets nearing or at their peak. Denver’s proximity to the mountains for skiing and hiking attract lovers of the outdoors. List prices there are approximately $349,900 and the buyers’ market is still strong. In Pittsburgh, which has more bridges than Venice, the median list price of a home is $139,900. It’s still a buyer’s market but appears to be testing the waters for a seller’s market. San Jose rounds out the seven metros with a nearly neutral market and list prices averaging $639,500.

Home values are expected to rise another 3.3 percent through March 2015 although sales will likely cool.

“Nationwide, the number of homes listed for sale on Zillow was down 0.5 percent annually in March,” says Zillow economist Svenja Gudell, “after having increased on a monthly basis late last year for several months in a row.”

The national slowdown in home value appreciation will continue throughout 2014, says Gudell, although specific markets will still show volatility and increases.

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