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America’s Worst Housing Markets Revealed

By Mike Wheatley | November 14, 2011

Interested to find out how bad the real estate market is in your area right now? Most likely, you can do so easily enough by yourself – just take a drive around the neighborhood and spot the “for sale” signs as you cruise up and down the streets. Come back in a couple of months, and you’ll likely see that those signs haven’t gone anywhere…

US worst housing markets

Property markets are in decline, but where is worst off? Image courtesy of howzey @

Okay, but we knew that already right? Ever since 2008 when the recession kicked in, housing markets across the country have fallen on hard times, with thousands of homeowners going into foreclosure or suddenly owing more on their mortgages than what their home is actually worth. But while some areas have seen a gradual decline, other areas have quite literally fallen into the abyss. Let’s take a look at just how bad things have gotten in those areas with a look at America’s top five WORST housing markets:

(Results based on percentage change in median sales price between now and 2006. Data courtesy of Zillow)

5: Altamonte Springs, FL

% Change: -41.3

Altamonte Springs fortunes have fallen fast with the housing bust. According to the latest stats from Zillow, the median value of a home in the city stands at $86,000, while the median sales price comes in at a poor $66,900.

4: Lehigh Acres, FL

% Change: -42.2

Leihigh Acres, in Fort Myers, is what’s known as a “census-designated place”. During the early 00s, the area saw a huge boom in its housing market, reaching its peak in 2006 with 7,500 new homes being built. Fast-forward three years to 2009, and home sale prices had crashed by a whopping 80%. Naturally, foreclosures have sky-rocketed, while unemployment shot up from just 3.5% in 2007 to 9.8% in 2011. Zillow lists the median home value at $63,700, while median sales were recorded at $65,200.

3: Trenton, NJ

% Change: -46.0

Trenton has fallen a long way from its glory days of the post World War II period. Formerly a big manufacturing center, like many other industrial cities, Trenton’s economy has steadily declined for decades. As manufacturing jobs slowly dried up, the city fell on hard times and many residents moved away from New Jersey’s state capital. Crime levels have shot up, and Trenton is now ranked as America’s 4th most dangerous city for those with populations ranging from 75,000 to 100,000. Naturally, once the housing market collapsed and the recession hit home, things got a whole lot worse. The city faces record unemployment levels, and while median home values average $60,700, median sales come in at just $38,000.

2: Pontiac, MI

% Change: -47.4

Being so close to Detroit, it comes as little surprise that Pontiac has been hard hit. Pontiac’s fortunes declines alongside those of the American auto industry, which served as its economic base. The city was once the home of both the extinct Pontiac brand and the primary truck factory of General Motors. Not any more. With the loss of those two facilities, Pontiac crashed to the extent that in 2009 the city had to go into receivership.  The city’s population has declined by 30% since the 1970s, standing at just 59,575 in the last count (US Census). Zillow’s Home Value Index gives median home values at $33,800, and median sales prices at a miserable $24,000.

1: Homestead, FL

% Change: -48.8

Take a glance around Homestead, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just another ordinary working-class area in Florida. But a closer look reveals a staggering amount of disarray. Homestead was one of Florida’s prime boom towns pre-2006, but many of the homes built during that period are now either in foreclosure, delinquent, abandoned or not even finished. Even worse, Homestead has seen a far greater deterioration of its home values than most other Florida cities. With a percentage decline of 48.8% in its home values, Homestead stands out as the worst city in the whole of the US. Zillow lists median home values at $76,000, while median sales were $96,400 last August. With high unemployment and high levels of crime thrown into the mix, Homestead is all in all, a rotten place to be stuck in right now.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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