Where Are Homebuyers Buying?

Having a crystal ball that could forecast where and when the real estate market is going to be hot would be terrific, wouldn’t it? We’d know where and when to focus our research and staff. We’d know where to advise our clients to invest. We’d know which business partnerships to cultivate in specific locations.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball but we do have recently published predictive research done by ATTOM Data Solutions. Its latest Pre-Mover Index gives us some direction on where to look for strong sales activity in Q3, 2017.

Based on information collected from purchase and loan applications along with geographic and demographic information indexed off the national average, ATD offers prognostic data on projected sales activity for a total of 122 metro areas.

Of those 122 areas, ATTOM predicts that areas in and around Chicago, Washington DC, Reno, Tampa, Jacksonville and Charleston will attract the most homebuyers. On the other end of the scale, San Francisco, Rochester, Honolulu, Providence and Grand Rapids will be among the areas attracting the least numbers of homebuyers.

Daren Blomquist, the senior vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, said, “Markets with a healthy mix of access to good jobs and relatively affordable housing attracted the most interest from pre-movers in Q2, 2017…this is a harbinger of strong home sales activity for Q3.” Blomquist went on to say that ”…meanwhile, in some of the nation’s hottest housing markets, there was more pre-mover interest in outlying counties further away from jobs but with more affordable homes to purchase. We see this pattern playing out in places like Denver, New York City, Silicon Valley and Seattle.

Blomquist and Mathew Watercutter, the senior regulations vice president and broker for HER Realtors agree. “…larger markets in proximate areas (to metros) like Columbus and Cincinnati are seeing higher than normal sales.,” said Watercutter. “…these markets are more urban in nature and are attracting many millennial buyers as the job markets are improving…” Yes, said Blomquist, “…activity appears most robust in the outlying counties further from jobs but also less expensive.”

ATTOM Data Solutions predicts that “collar” counties in the Chicago metro, Will County and Du Page County, will draw homebuyers in Q3, 2017. It also predicts Loudon and Prince William Counties in Virginia, “collar” counties in the DC metro area, will have strong sales in Q3.

Data focusing on second home buyers from this Pre-Mover Index points to the Ocean City metro and Cape May County in New Jersey, the Naples metro and Collier County, Florida and Hilton Head metro and Beaufort County, South Carolina. The highest share of investment home pre-movers points to the Memphis metro and Shelby County, TN and the Kansas City metro and Jackson County, Missouri.

We’ll revisit this ATTOM Data Solutions Q3 Pre-Mover Index in a few months to see how this predictive research does in terms of forecasting where homebuyers actually are buying.