ATTOM Data Solutions has reported this past week that about half U.S. opportunity zones, where there was sufficient sales data, saw median home prices rise more than the national increase of 9.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019.
Based on ATTOM Data Solutions new report, 78 percent of the zones had median U.S. home prices in the fourth quarter of 2019 that were less than the national median of $257,000 - almost the same percentage as in the third quarter of 2019. Some 48 percent of the zones had median prices of less than $150,000.
"Home prices in thousands of Opportunity Zone neighborhoods targeted for revival across the United States continued to ride the tide of the national housing market boom in the fourth quarter of 2019, marching along with broad trends and even doing better in many areas," said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. "These areas are among the most vulnerable to economic downturns. As a result, the recent upswing could change on a dime if the broader housing market flattens out or sags. But for now, the price gains are a crucial measure that neighborhoods designated as Opportunity Zone tax breaks hold significant allure for potential residents."
High-level findings from the report include:
Median prices rose from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019 in 66 percent of the Opportunity Zones with sufficient data to analyze. In 34 percent of zones, they declined or stayed the same.
Median prices in 47 percent of Opportunity Zones with sufficient data to analyze rose year-over-year more than values increased nationally. The national increase from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019 was 9.4 percent.
In 20 states, year-over-year median price increases in at least half the Opportunity Zones beat the national 9.4 percent figure. Those with the most such zones were Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Ohio and New Jersey.
Among the Opportunity Zones with sufficient data to analyze, California had the most, with 465, followed by Florida (332), Texas (234), Pennsylvania (166) and North Carolina (165).
Of the zones analyzed, 1,776 (48 percent) had a median price of less than $150,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 594 (16 percent) had medians ranging from $150,000 to $199,999. Another 529 (14 percent) ranged from $200,000 up to the national median price of $257,000, while 817 (22 percent) were more than $257,000.
In Metropolitan Statistical Areas with sufficient sales data to analyze, 84 percent of Opportunity Zones had median fourth quarter sales prices that were less than the median values for the surrounding MSAs. Among those, 25 percent had median sales prices that were less than half the figure for the MSAs. At the same time, 16 percent of the zones had median sales prices that were equal to or above the median sales price of the broader MSAs.
The Midwest continued to have the highest rate of Opportunity Zone tracts with a median home price of less than $150,000 (73 percent), followed by the South (58 percent), the Northeast (51 percent) and the West (12 percent).
States with the highest percentage of census tracts meeting Opportunity Zone requirements included Wyoming (17 percent), Mississippi (15 percent), Alabama (13 percent), North Dakota (12 percent) and New Mexico (12 percent). Washington, DC, was also among the leaders (14 percent). Nationwide, 10 percent of all tracts qualify.
About half U.S. opportunity zones, where there was sufficient sales data, saw median home prices rise more than the national increase of 9.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing U.S. home sales grew in December 2019, bouncing back after a slight fall in November 2019. Although the Midwest saw sales decline, the other three major U.S. regions reported meaningful growth last month.
According to CoreLogic's latest Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and among 20 metropolitan areas, data collected for October 2019 shows a national rent increase of 3.1% year over year, compared to 2.9% in October 2018.
Allowing for even modest amounts of new density in the nation's overwhelmingly single-family neighborhoods across the U.S. could lead to millions of new homes nationwide, helping alleviate a housing affordability crisis that has been decades in the making.
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