The old saying is that the most important factor when it comes to real estate is location, location, location. That axiom has never been more true, particularly when you are considering the current housing recovery, which seems to be unbalanced.

According to a report by CNBC, some of the markets hit hardest have been the first to bounce back. TenX, a real-estate auction and analytics company, rated locations based on current trends, including population, unemployment, job and wage growth and other real estate factors, such as inventory and new construction.  It found the healthiest markets in Tampa, Dallas, Columbus, Ohio, Las Vegas and Jacksonville. Rick Sharga, chief marketing officer at TenX, pointed out that Florida is recovering nicely.

“We’ve seen unemployment numbers drop pretty dramatically there. We’ve seen job growth and wage growth stick for a few years now, and we’ve seen a very steady increase in both the sales of homes and home prices.”

Sharga said Las Vegas was a surprise on the list, since that city was in the center of the housing crash, with a high foreclosure rate. Prices today still are 20 percent below the high-water mark set during the housing boom.

“What we’re seeing is a return to population growth. Prior to the housing bust, Las Vegas had some of the steadiest population growth in the country. We’re starting to see that again. And we’re starting to see job growth.”

Dallas is no surprise at No. 2 on the list. The city was fairly insulated from the highs and low’s during the housing crisis. It also is seeing solid employment in a diverse economy. One area of concern is affordability.  The area has become less and less affordable and it has been trending in that direction for the last year, according to Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, which analyzes the U.S. real estate market.

“Dallas County has been under normal affordability for the market for four consecutive quarters and it’s continuing to deteriorate. It’s a continuation of what we have seen in this housing recovery is strong home price increases with weak wage growth.”

On the other end of the scale, the five “unhealthiest” housing markets include Northern New Jersey; Central New Jersey; Long Island, New York; San Francisco and Los Angeles. Everything from high home prices, lagging job growth and weak inventory are the culprits for these bottom ranking, sickly markets.

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