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Austin declared the best housing market to invest in this year

Austin declared the best housing market to invest in this year

Realty Austin South First Street Home for Sale
Austin has the top housing market to invest in 2015.  Courtesy of Realty Austin

Another day, another list pimping out Texas’ real estate market. This time, Forbes declared five of its 20 “best buy cities,” i.e., where to invest in housing in 2015, are in Texas, including Austin at No. 1. In fact, all five Lone Star locales are in the top 10.

Behind Austin are Houston (No. 3), Dallas (No. 5), San Antonio (No. 6) and Fort Worth (No. 10). Forbes worked with Local Market Monitor, a data company that looks at home prices and economic factors in 300 housing markets across the nation, and determined that these cities are safe bets to invest — whether for rentals or first-time buyers — because of strong job and population growth, diversified economies, and relatively low housing prices.

Austin’s housing market is slightly overpriced at 8 percent, according to Local Market Monitor’s “Income Price,” which tries to capture how the average home would be priced in a market without speculation or disruptions like the housing crash and how it relates to the average income over several years. Still, the city’s booming population — which grew 8.9 percent from 2010 to 2013 — and annual job growth of 3.6 percent push it into the top spot.

Houston’s housing market is still underpriced by 7 percent, with an average home price of $214,049, and the area’s job growth is exploding at 4.1 percent annually. Dallas is underpriced by 9 percent, with an average home price of $197,159, and a slightly lower job growth of 3.8 percent.

San Antonio’s houses also are underpriced: by 12 percent, with an average home price of $189,080. San Antonio’s job growth is 2.5 percent. Of the Texas cities, Fort Worth’s market is the most underpriced at 17 percent, with an average home price of  $180,312, and annual job growth of 2.6 percent.

Texas had the most cities on the list; Florida had the second most, at four. However, only No. 4 Orlando made the top 10. For the Texas cities, home prices have been growing between 7 and 12 percent, which indicates that even though flipping houses might be harder as the market continues to strengthen, the investment for long-term ownership is good in Texas.

Local Market Monitor did say that oil boom cities like Midland were bad investments, while the larger Texas cities had enough economic diversification to weather the current energy-sector storm.

Rounding out the top 10 are Provo, Utah (No. 2); Denver (No. 7); Boise, Idaho (No. 8); and Oklahoma City (No. 9).