Location, Location, Location: The Grass Isn't Always Greener

Posted by Steve Vincent on Jul 6, 2015 10:34:04 AM

In home values, appreciation, gain in value, Neighborhoods, Triad house values, Triad Life

Sometimes we Triad folks can get a little jealous.  We look North and West and see home values skyrocketing and homeowners building great equity and think, why not me?

It’s true, the cost of housing in this North Carolina neighborhood is well below that in Boston, New York, California or Hawaii, and that’s a good thing.  Here, we can afford a large, well built home on a real lot that would push a million dollars in some other markets!  The median home price in Greensboro is about $140,000.  In Seattle, it’s $487,250!

Here is what $263,950 Buys in Greensboro:


At 12 Old Orchard Lane, this home has 4 bedrooms, about 2400 square feet and just under a third of an acre lot.  It’s available for sale and I’d love to show it to you!

Here’s what $263,950 buys in Aliso Viejo, CA, an hour South of Los Angeles:


It is one of just 7 properties in the area priced below $300,000.  It’s actually at $270,000 and is a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 700 square foot condo!  I am sure Aliso Viejo is very nice but I think I’d rather be living on Orchard Lane!

It’s also true that  homes in some other locations appreciate faster.  For example the median home price in San Jose, CA rose more than $65,000 in the past 12 months.  Here, a somewhat sluggish market caused our median sale price to actually drop slightly.

But, as with many other things, it’s often best to stand back and take a look at the bigger picture when considering home values.  I looked at appreciation trends over the past 30 years in a handful of other markets.  What I found is that here, our growth rate, though smaller, is steadier; and when the market fluctuates, it fluctuates less.

For example, in Greensboro, we gained a little more than 75% in value during that 30 year stretch, averaging about 2.6% a year.  In San Diego, the gain was more than double at 158%, about 5.46% per year.  But, when the market dropped,  it didn’t just stumble in Southern California, it fell off the cliff!  While Greensboro lost about 5.19% in value between 2007 and 2012, San Diego lost almost 34%!

Here’s a summary of what I found: 

Market 30 gain in value Average per year Drop during the downturn
Greensboro 75.41% 2.6% -5.19%
San Diego 158.37% 5.46% -33.74%
Charlotte 94.38% 3.25% -8.10%
Jacksonville, FL 93.57% 3.23% -42.43%
Dayton, OH 73% 2.52% -12.27%
Tucson, AZ 99.75% 3.44% -41%
Atlanta 74.67% 2.57% -26.21%


It’s clear that while some markets gain in value more rapidly than we do in the Triad, when the pain and suffering of a market drop happens, it hurts a whole lot more there than here!  Look at the similarity of  the first two metrics in Greensboro and Atlanta; then look at the drop during that 5 year period (2007-2012).  Atlantans lost five times the value we lost here!

Yes, in San Diego houses can appreciate more rapidly, but that’s not always a good thing.  Today, while we are bumping along like the steady tortoise we are, they (the hare) are talking about another looming real estate ‘bubble’ bursting!

I’ll take the North Carolina Triad any day.  Here, we can get a great house at a good price.  We have a steady, predictable real estate market that delivers all the benefits of home ownership without the roller coaster boom and bust cycle of some other markets.  And, there are communities around the Triad that appreciate more rapidly than others.  We at The Vincent Group and GreatNest can help you find them!  That’s our job:  helping you make a good housing investment, one that will nurture your family and your net worth!

GreatNest and The Vincent Group is a full service real estate company charging a low set fee instead of a percentage commission. We serve buyers and sellers in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem , Summerfield, Oak Ridge, Jamestown and surrounding areas. You can reach us at (336) 790-5210 or by emailing Steve Vincent. Visit our website: greatnest.com.