To say that the housing recovery has been uneven is an understatement. Some markets that have seen huge employment and population growth in the last decade, such as Denver, Seattle and San Francisco, lead the news with bubble-worthy headlines. Not only have home prices there surpassed their recent peaks, they continue to rise at double-digit paces. Nearly all the homes in Denver and San Francisco (98 percent) have surpassed their pre-recession peak, according to Trulia. Other less obvious markets, like Oklahoma City and Nashville, have also seen the prices of most homes surpass their peak.
In areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, fewer than four percent of homes have recovered to pre-recession price peaks. These include Las Vegas; Tucson, Arizona; Camden, New Jersey; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and New Haven, Connecticut.
Rising incomes are the leading cause of home price growth, according to Trulia, which looked at four factors: job growth, income growth, population growth and post-recession housing vacancy rates. Income growth showed the greatest correlation to home price growth.
The intuition here is this: Housing is what economists call a “normal good,” so when incomes rise, households tend to spend more on housing, which pushes up prices,” wrote Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s chief economist in the report.