Nature of Country's Housing Challenges Shifts, Reflected in Changing Markets Leading Recovery May 2012

Seven housing markets hit hardest by foreclosures – all from Florida – are leading the nation towards a general housing recovery, while unexpected new comers in Michigan, Texas, Iowa and California are showing signs of strength and stability, according to the Top Turnaround Town Report released today by, the #1 homes-for-sale site operated by Move, Inc., (NASDAQ: MOVE), the leader in online real estate.

The list of 25 Top Turnaround Towns, developed using year-over-year comparative data from the first quarters of 2012 and 2011, is led by Phoenix-Mesa, AZ, Miami, FL and Orlando, FL – three top foreclosure markets experiencing list price appreciation, along with reductions in inventories and their median age of inventory, all on a year-over-year quarterly basis.  Other call out markets include Boise City, ID (4), which has been on the rise steadily since its debut at No. eight in the third quarter of 2011, and Naples, FL, which rose one spot from sixth to fifth in one quarter.

Noteworthy newcomers include Bay Area frontrunners Oakland, CA (6) and San Jose, CA (24), heating up as the nation watches the local hi-tech industry and upcoming Facebook IPO, and the Lone Star State markets of Dallas, TX (12) and Forth Worth-Arlington, TX (18). While Detroit, MI continues its struggle with high unemployment (10.2%), it landed in the 23rd position on the list with a 5.82% increase in list price appreciation, a -29.59% reduction of for sale inventory, and a market that’s moving 27.27% faster, all on a year-over-year quarterly basis.

“We continue to see signs of stabilization and recovery on the local level throughout the country, basing analysis on the real-time nature and accuracy of the data,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of operator, Move, Inc.  “By all indications, the 2012 housing market is unfolding as we expected, and we’re encouraged with the progress local markets are making.  However, much will depend on the continued health of our economy, specifically job rates, and how lenders will release their foreclosure inventories now that the 49 state AG Agreement has been signed. All of these key factors will determine how quickly our local housing markets recover and remain healthy.”

 1. Phoenix-Mesa AZ leads the nation on the Turnaround Town list after advancing from the #2 position in the fourth quarter of 2011. While it was one of the hardest hit areas by foreclosures, median list prices are up 26.94% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same time last year, and the area experienced the largest increase in median list prices of all of the 146 MSAs monitored by Unemployment in Phoenix is at 7.8% and contributes to its improving local economy and growing demand for housing. The market experienced a -32.94% year-over-year quarterly decline in the local median age of inventory thanks to the sale of thousands of foreclosure bargains. While Maricopa County today generates 1 foreclosure filing for every 242 homes, if inventory remains in check, it’s a matter of time before Phoenix stabilizes and has lasting home value appreciation. 

Phoenix appeared on the Turnaround Town Report: Q3 2011 (4); Q4 2011 (2). 

What to know about Phoenix: Contributing to the economic recovery is a slew of high-profile events the city has to offer, including Super Bowl XLII in 2008. The National Football Conference must have liked the location because they tapped the city to host the main event again in 2015. A robust public transit system is also part of the attraction: Phoenix continues to move forward on its transportation system, opening the PHX Sky Train next year, which will link passengers from Sky Harbor International Airport to the city's light-rail system.

2. Miami, FL remains a hot spot for international investors who are infusing the local housing market with cash transactions. In fact, the Miami Association of Realtors reported in March 2012 that 65% of the sales in Miami-Dade County were all-cash. That's HOT, especially considering all-cash sales nationally in March reached 32%, reflecting a strong presence of international buyers in the Miami real estate market. While Miami moved from the #1 to #2 spot in just one quarter, the housing market remains strong.  In fact, in the past year, the city's for sale inventory decreased by -48.03%, the market is moving 40.98% faster, and median list prices increased by 24.32% from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012. With a stabilized inventory and median list prices regaining some of the 50% of value lost since 2006, experts say one of the nation's hardest hit foreclosure markets is on its way back. Miami also was name as a top 2012 performing market by 

Miami appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q3 2011 (1); Q4 2011 (1).

What makes Miami HOT: Art, fashion and culture reign supreme in this Latin American hot spot. Miami hosts Art Deco Weekend every January, and the yearly Miami International Boat Show. New collections from top designers debut during Fashion Week, while the Festival of the Arts show highlights paintings, sculptures, ceramics and other fine art. Lately, basketball is catching all the attention in Miami with the Heat's playoff run.

3. Orlando, FL, like many other Florida towns, is showing signs that a turnaround may be just around the corner. The median age of inventory in the first quarter 2012 was 64 days, -38.46% below levels observed in the first quarter of 2011.  Orlando’s for sale inventory in the first quarter of 2012 dropped -41.58%, while list prices rose 11.54% on a year-over-year quarterly basis. Orlando ranks 3rd on’s searches to listings ratio chart, a leading indicator that more people are looking for homes. But distressed properties remain problematic as 9,330 first-quarter foreclosure filings were reported (1 in every 101 homes), which is a 52.2% increase from the same quarter in 2011, and a 7.8% jump compared to fourth-quarter 2011.

Orlando appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q3 2011 (2); Q4 2011 (3). 

Major attractions: Children aren't the only ones having fun in Orlando. The central Florida city is a golfer's paradise with more than 170 courses. But most of the city's attractions focus on the kiddos with an expansion of Fantasyland's Magic Kingdom recently opening at the Walt Disney World Resort and a new exhibit at SeaWorld, Turtle Trek.

4. Boise City, ID is showing signs of a rebounding market with encouraging indicators for future stability. With an improved unemployment picture — Boise’s rate was 8.7% in February 2012, better than the state (9%) and national (8.2%) — positive housing indicators should follow. The City of Trees had fewer houses on the market in Q1 2012 than the same time last year, which may have contributed to higher demand and a housing market that moved 23.60% faster in Q1 2012 compared to the same quarter last year.  Median listing prices rose by 17.53% on a year-over-year quarterly basis, and Boise City's year-over-year inventory declined by -36.87%, which is the 12th best improvement tracked by Only 1 in every 519 homes fell into foreclosure in Boise City’s Ada County, contributing to the area’s stabilization of inventory.

Boise City appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q3 2011 (8); Q4 2011 (6).

What to know about Boise City: The city is home to the largest ethnic Basque community in the U.S. Every five years, the city hosts a large Basque festival, Jaialdi, and is also home to the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and the Basque Block in the downtown area.

5. Naples, FL shot into the #5 position on the Turnaround Town report in the first quarter of 2012, up two spots from #7 in Q4 2011, thanks to the strong signs of a recovering market. In Q1 2012, median list prices in Naples jumped 14.34% on a year-over-year quarterly basis — the fifth best in the nation. Plus, for sale inventory in Naples dropped by -34.16% from the first quarter 2012 compared to a year ago. Another positive sign -- the local housing market is moving 23.49% faster in Q1 2012 compared with a year ago, so buyers are definitely moving faster. Combined positive market conditions with a 8.3% unemployment rate, Naples is on the right track.

Naples appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q4 2011 (7).

What's popular: Tourism reigns in Naples.  As the economy in The Sunshine State improves, local visitors are flocking to Ten Thousand Islands, a chain of mangrove islets and islands that touches the Everglades. Eco-tourists can take advantage of the area's fishing, boating and snorkeling.

6. Oakland, CA is showing the vital signs of a turnaround based on's first quarter 2012 data. With an unemployment rate of 8.7%, far below California’s 11.4%, Oakland’s economy is growing. In the first quarter of 2012, median list prices in Oakland are up 7.07% compared to the same time last year, and inventory is moving 46.43% faster during the same time period. These factors were enough to move Oakland into the sixth spot on the list of Top Turnaround Towns. Also, in January 2012 the New York Times ranked Oakland fifth on its list of 45 places to go in 2012. Today, Oakland's market is a huge contrast to the -41.6% decline in median sale price it saw from first quarter of 2006 to the third quarter of 2010.

Major draws: From foodies to history buffs, Oakland offers something for everyone. Every January, the city hosts Restaurant Week where gourmets explore the exciting culinary scene. Jack London buffs can experience the call of the wild on the history walk named for the author, which leads to his favorite waterfront spots.

7. Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL was named the No.2 Hot Spot for Global Homebuyers by Inman News because it has the second-largest share of homes sold to buyers with a foreign mailing address. Interest by foreign buyers is a critical component to the turnaround of the Fort Myers-Cape Coral real estate market, and kept it in the top 10 on this list even through it moved from #4 in Q4 2011 to its current position of #7. International buyers contributed to the market’s year-over-year quarterly median list price gain of 18.27% while for sale inventories fell -27.61% in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same time last year. Only 1 in every 271 homes in Lee County received a foreclosure filing in February 2012, contributing to the area’s stabilization of inventory. Fort Myers-Cape Coral made the lis of Top 2012 Performing Real Estate Markets list. 

Fort Myers-Cape Coral appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q1 2011 (3); Q3 2011 (3); Q4 2011 (4). 

What’s fantastic in Fort Myers: Historic homes and spring training are main attractions in The City of Palms. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford both owned winter homes in Fort Myers, which are now tourist attractions. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll find the training camps of the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins in the area.

8. Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL experienced a 12.95% bump in median list prices in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a year ago, while it’s for sale inventory declined -30.88%. Like other Florida markets, much of the stabilization is attributed to an influx of foreign buyers.  In fact, the area has the highest percentage of homes purchased by buyers with foreign mailing addresses. ix Lakeland’s biggest hurdle on the road to recovery is its unemployment rate, which dropped to 10%, but is still higher than both the state (9.1%) and national (8.2%) averages. Lakeland-Winter Haven also made Business Insider’s 15 Best Housing Markets For The Next Five Years list. 

Lakeland-Winter Haven appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q3 2011 (7); Q4 2011 (9).

What to do in Lakeland: Landlocked Lakeland has a fitting name with more than 20 lakes in the surrounding area. And if you want to get off the lakes, visit the Polk Museum of Art, which features works from Ansel Adams, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

9. Sarasota-Bradenton, FL ranks #9 in on the Top Turnaround Town report for the first quarter 2012 and one of seven cities in The Sunshine State to take a top ten spot on the list.  March home sales in the area were up 23.7% compared to February, and just slight below March 2011 levels, dipping -1.4%. Median list prices were up 12.56% in Sarasota-Bradenton for the first quarter 2012 compared to the same period last year, and for sale inventory is down -27.69% from a year ago. While signs in Sarasota-Bradenton are positive, the market remains fragile with an unemployment rate of 9.2% and a general foreclosure rate in Sarasota County of 1 in every 353, both higher than their respective national averages. 

Sarasota-Bradenton appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q3 2011 (6); Q4 2011 (5).

What to see in Sarasota: The southwestern coastal city is bordered by several barrier islands before land meets the Gulf of Mexico. It's not all golf courses and gardens, though. Sarasota also has many cultural attractions to enjoy: musical, dance, artistic and theatrical venues.

10. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL rounds out the top 10 spots on the Turnaround Town list. Recent improvements in key metrics have been impressive, mirroring the turnaround underway in other Florida foreclosure centers. Distressed mortgages peaked last September at 16.3% in Tampa, and remained steady at that level.  National rates declined from a high of 7.9% in February 2010 to 6.7% today. Although the share of distressed mortgages has been substantially higher in Tampa than the nation overall, data suggests the foreclosure rate since April 2009 is no higher than the national level. While the housing market in The City of Champions remains fragile with deeply discounted foreclosed properties, low property values and many severely underwater mortgages, the Q1 2012 data from shows median list prices are up 11.92% and the market moved 20.34% faster compared to the same time last year.

Noteworthy about Tampa: The western Florida city on the Gulf of Mexico has been tapped to host the 2012 Republican National Convention. Delegates will enjoy the plethora of golf courses, museums and shopping the city offers. Plus, don't forget Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, which was originally an admission-free hospitality promotion of Tampa's Anheuser-Busch brewery.

11. Punta Gorda, FL made the #11 spot on the Top Turnaround Town report thanks to its -26.30% reduction in for sale inventory and the 13.34% increase in median list prices in the first quarter of 2012 compared to Q1 2011. The housing market in Punta Gorda is moving 21.90% faster in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same time, which hints at improved buyer demand. Punta Gorda was also one of the Florida markets that suffered the steepest sold price declines in the country since 2006 with a -59.9% drop according to Case Shiller. That’s nearly double the 33% depreciation rate housing declined on a national basis. Unemployment in Punta Gorda is 9.3%, higher than the state rate of 9.1% and the national rate of 8.2%. 

Punta Gorda first appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q4 2011 (10). 

Popular in Punta Gorda: Walking around Punta Gorda, you might notice the large paintings decorating the city. It's home to 24 murals, commissioned and preserved by the Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society. It's not all arts, though. There's also snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, fishing and golfing in the area.

12. Dallas, TX is showing strong signs of a turnaround market mostly due to the -29.15% reduction in for sale inventory and the -22.83% reduction in the median age of inventory for the first quarter of 2012, as compared to the same time last year.  Median list prices in Dallas in 2012 saw a year-over-year quarterly increase of 8.58%, another positive sign contributing to its No. 12 position on the Turnaround Town Report. Unemployment is relatively low in Dallas at 7.1% when compared to national rate of 8.2%, and consistent with the state rate of 7.2%.  Dallas was among the cities named as a Top 2012 Performing Real Estate Market by 

Dallas appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q1 2011 (4).

What to do in Dallas: The first Six Flags Over Texas opened near Dallas in 1961, offering entertainment and fun for both locals and visiting tourists. The 212-acre park isn't the only attraction in the area. The city also boasts Dallas World Aquarium, the Dallas Arboretum and many interesting museums including The Sixth Floor Museum @ Dealey Plaza.

13. Washington, DC real estate has always benefited from its largest employer, the U.S. government, but has also had its share of foreclosures and slow sales due to higher lending standards. For the first quarter of 2012, list prices were up 13.18% on a year-over-year quarterly basis, ranking the D.C. market in the top 10 MSAs in terms of price increases. The median age of inventory in D.C. hit 63 days for Q1 2012, and for sale inventory was down by -27.31% from a year ago. The Washington, D.C. market did suffer its fair share of heartbreak in the housing crash from 2006 to 2010 when median prices declined -27%, right behind the national average of -31%. Today, however, foreclosures are far below the national norm in the District of Columbia at 1 in every 24,727.  But that may change with the signing of the multi-state Attorneys General settlement if lenders release backlogged foreclosure inventories into the local market too quickly.

Washington, D.C., appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q1 2011 (6).

Touring D.C.: The nation's capital is home to the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, a month-long celebration of spring in Washington, D.C. and the friendship of the United States and Japan, who gave the U.S. the cherry blossom trees. The city also is dedicated to preserving the nation's history with presidential monuments and war memorials.

14. Jacksonville, FL made the Top Turnaround Town list for the first time based on what looks like the alignment of several key factors. Today, for sale inventory on for the first quarter 2012 shows Jacksonville is nearly -32% below inventory levels of a year ago, while the median age of inventory is at 104 days. At the same time, list prices bumped up 6.38% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011. This is great news for Jacksonville considering it was reported to be the lowest performing major housing market in the nation as recently as September 2011, beating out Detroit, which had held the undesirable honor for the previous seven months. Considering Jacksonville’s unemployment rate has eased from 9.7% in October 2011 down to 8.3% in March 2012, Jacksonville seems to be moving in the right direction..

Action in Jacksonville: New Orleans isn't the only southeastern U.S. city to draw jazz fans. The Florida city hosts the Jacksonville Jazz Festival every Memorial Day weekend with tens of thousands of attendees, The area also has 70 golf courses and is home to the NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

15. Fort Lauderdale, FL’s housing market in recent months has seen signs of stability in part due to the shrinking for sale inventory, which declined -47.36% on a year-over-year quarterly basis, making it the fifth lowest inventory in the nation according to  Even with list price gains in Q1 2012 of 8.04% compared to the same time last year, Broward County has a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 304 housing units.  This is significantly higher than the national foreclosure rate of 1 in every 662 housing units. In February, Fort Lauderdale's unemployment rate fell to 9%, consistent The Sunshine State’s unemployment rate of 9.1%, but higher than the national unemployment rate of 8.2%. 

Fort Lauderdale's appeared on the Top Turnaround Town report: Q3 2011 (5); Q4 2011 (8). 

Fun in Fort Lauderdale: Considered the ‘Venice of America’ with a five-star beach and 165 miles of navigable waterways, Fort Lauderdale is a vacationer’s playground. In addition to the Atlantic Ocean, this coastal South Florida city is situated on the New River, which is surrounded by Riverwalk Park where visitors can enjoy cultural and entertainment events such as the monthly jazz brunch.

16. Bakersfield, CA median listing prices appreciated 4.57% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same time last year, and the -49.86% drop in year-over-year quarterly for sale inventory earned this San Joaquin Valley town the No. 16 spot on the list.  Bakersfield’s 42-day median age of inventory, which is 36.36% faster in the first quarter of 2012 than the same quarter last year, positions this agricultural capitol as the fourth fastest moving market in the nation. Today’s Bakersfield market has overcome a significant amount of foreclosure activity since 2009. Back then, Bakersfield had the sixth highest number of foreclosure activities in California and the 12th highest in the nation. This local market started to improve in 2011 when existing homes sales rose 3.2% to 7,019 units from 2010 to 2011, compared with a 10.8% decline a year earlier. Bakersfield-Delano made #4 on Business Insider’s 15 Best Housing Markets for the Next Five Years list.

What's hot in Bakersfield: Bakersfield's native son Buck Owens opened Crystal Palace in 1996 as a performance venue for country western music. If line dancing isn't your hobby, this farming community also has Dewar's Ice Cream and Fine Candies for homemade ice cream and specialty candies.

17. Daytona Beach, FL earned its spot on the Top Turnaround Town report thanks to progress made in the past year in several key areas.  Median list prices in the first quarter of 2012 have increased by 10.07% vs. the same quarter last year, and median sale prices are up 4.6% to $125,500 for single family homes. Combine Daytona Beach’s stable list prices, a -17.91% reduction in the median age of inventory, and a -30.28% year-over-year quarterly decline in local for sale inventories and Daytona Beach is on its way back. .

What to see in Daytona: This classic Spring break destination is definitely an attraction for college co-eds ready to relax and leave the worries of homework behind. For speed demons, the annual Daytona 500 is held every year at the Daytona International Speedway, attracting fans from across the globe. The city also pays homage to Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon with the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse.

18. Fort Worth-Arlington, TX hit the Turnaround Town list for the first tim in Q1 2012 thanks to the alignment of several key factors. As the 16th largest city in the U.S., this Gateway to The American West didn’t experience the housing boom like other U.S. cities and enters 2012 on solid ground. With unemployment in Fort Worth at -7.1% below the national rate of 8.2%, and the median household income above the national level, it’s no wonder demand for housing is growing.  In the first quarter of 2012, median list prices in the area are up 8.9%, inventory is down -26.87%, and the median age of its inventory fall by -20.65% to 73 days – all compared to the same time last year.  With stable list prices, reduced inventory counts, and a faster-moving market, smart buyers just might find the home of their dreams at the right price if they’re prepared to act quickly. Fort Worth made the Top Ten 2012 Best Performing Real Estate Markets and Forbes’ list of cities Where Real Estate is Ripe for a Rebound.

What's popular in Fort Worth: In addition to many infamous Texas barbecue joints and shopping, Cowtown has an active arts community. The Fort Worth Cultural District near downtown has five museums, Segway tours and galleries. Interested in symphony, ballet, opera or local theater? Fort Worth has those, too.

19. Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, MI like other housing markets in The Wolverine State, has won the 19thspot on the Turnaround Town list thanks to their all-around improved market conditions observed the first three months of 2012. List prices last quarter were up nearly 8.34% above last year, inventories are down -23.90%, and the median age of inventory is only 85 days, down -21.30% from the same time a year ago. The Grand Rapids foreclosure market is also starting to demonstrate signs of a recovery with 1 out of every 174 homes in Q1 2012 subject to some kind of foreclosure activity.  This is down -11.7% from the previous quarter and down -20.5% compared to Q1 2011. The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 7.4%, two points below the state average of 9.4% and the national rate of 8.2%.

What tourists are drawn to: Grand Rapids hosts an annual Festival of the Arts, one of the longest-running festivals in the state that boasts six stages of music, dance, theater and more. The Furniture City also features symbolic burial mounds of the Hopewell tribe along the Grand River and is the home of the Gerald R. Ford Museum, the final resting place of the former President and his wife, Betty.

20. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN has seen job growth, low mortgage rates, rising rents and relatively inexpensive housing help local economy move beyond the rough period of 2011 when distressed properties were a sizable share of the market and prevented price gains. On the Turnaround Town report for the first quarter of 2012, median list prices in the area rose 6.14% and inventories fell by -27.46%, enough to move Minneapolis-St Paul into the 20th position on this list. Although foreclosures hindered a substantial housing recovery in 2011, many were sold, bringing the supply of properties that tend to suppress price gains to a much lower level than in recent years.

What to do in The Twin Cities: Winter is always coming in Minnesota, but the cold doesn't cripple those in the Upper Midwest. St. Paul began hosting the St. Paul Winter Carnival in 1886 to disprove a New York reporter who compared winter in Minnesota to winter in Siberia.TV fans should visit Nicollet Mall to see a statue of Mary Tyler Moore where the opening segment of her show was filmed there.

21. Iowa City, IA is home to the University of Iowa and enjoys many of the same real estate market characteristics of other university towns: a steady job market, demand driven by the academic calendar; and a premium on rentals.  Today, its unemployment rate is remarkable at 4.2%, well below the national and state levels. Like the rest of the Hawkeye State, Iowa City missed the boom and bust collapse during the recession seen on the coasts. It also practically escaped the foreclosure flood that ravaged many other parts of the country. Johnson County’s foreclosure rate is only 1 in every 1,447 units, while the national average is 1 in every 662 units. List prices in Iowa City are up 6.81% on a year-over-year quarterly basis, and inventories dropped -26.24%.

What's popular in Iowa City: Summer arts festivals and cultural events are part of the community in Iowa City. Each summer, live music becomes a staple in downtown and in July the city hosts a jazz festival. Iowa City is also home of the University of Iowa, which has a renowned Writers' Workshop that helped hone the talents of Ray Bradbury, Flannery O'Connor, Jane Smiley and Kurt Vonnegut.

22. Portland-Vancouver, OR-WA (OR)

Foreclosures have played a significant role in Portland’s housing market in recent years, but as the market begins to turnaround, the number of filings is falling. Foreclosure filings for Portland peaked at 843 in April 2011 and dropped to 271 in March 2012. But distressed properties today still make up a large part of Portland’s active listings inventory at 43%.

In spite of the foreclosure backlog, Portland’s for sale inventory has declined by -38.08% in Q1 2012 compared to Q1 2011, and this local market is moving 27.78% during the same time period. These improving fundamentals helped generate a 4.25% bump in list prices in Q1 2012 compared to the first quarter 2011. Job gains across the board in The Beaver State are expected to remain subdued in 2012, improving at an estimated 1.1% pace overall, following 1.5% gains in 2011. The rate of growth is expected to pick up in 2013 at 2.4% and 2.6% in 2014.  Even at these rates of growth are only slightly above Oregon’s long-run employment average of 2.2%.

Noteworthy about Portland: The City of Roses ranks among the world's greenest cities with a convenient light-rail transportation system connecting the airport to downtown and a bike share system launching next year. Portland also hosts the world's only HP Lovecraft Film Festival.

23. Detroit, MI was one of the country’s hardest hit areas in the recession thanks to the 2007 and 2008 layoffs in the Motor City’s auto industry.  Unfortunately, this put Detroit at the top of foreclosure lists for years.  Now, however, improving auto sales are helping to turn Detroit around.  At 10.2%, its unemployment rate is still above the state and national rates, and foreclosure rates in the four counties that constitute the Detroit area are approximately 50% to 100% higher than the national rate. However, there are encouraging signs for the local housing market.  The largest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases in the U.S. this past March were registered in the Detroit area.  List prices are starting to rise, up 5.82% on a year-over-year quarterly basis, while inventories are shrinking, down -29.59% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to Q1 2011.  The median age of inventory has also declined -27.27% on a year-over-year quarterly basis down to a median of 56 days. he largest

What's happening in Detroit: The dynamic Motor City hasn't lost its charm to the recession. It remains the home of the country's largest auto event, the North American International Auto Show. And what better place to debut new road machines than the birthplace of the Model T? Detroit is keeping its eyes on the future with city-centric events like the summer cruise series, which has Detroit Rock City and Motown themed cruises.

24. San Jose, CA Bay Area home sales had their strongest March in five years, which can be partially attributed to high-priced single-family home sales and a strong condo market. Month-over-month sales of all types of homes in the Bay Area were up 35% in March and up 9% on a year-over-year basis. Santa Clara County saw year-over-year quarterly sales price gains for single-family homes of 1.3% to $535,000. San Jose benefitted from the increased demand for homes, as list prices in the first quarter of 2012 rose 6.67% compared to the same time last year. A -34.59% drop in for-sale inventory is also helping to boost price gains. The median age of inventory of for sale homes in San Jose in the first quarter of 2012 is now just 59 days, down -18.06% from the same period a year ago. San Jose made the list of Cities Where Real Estate is Ripe for a Rebound issued by Forbes in January 2012.

What's fun in San Jose: Its home to the Winchester Mystery House, the former residence of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester’s widow, Sarah. The four-story mansion was under construction day and night for 38 years and now serves as a spooky tourist attraction full of dead ends and doors leading nowhere. The city also has the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, a 5.5-acre garden with more than 3,500 rose bushes.

25. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA is poised for a housing market recovery and ranks 25th on the list of Top Turnaround Towns. The median age of inventory was just 64 days in Q1 2012 and for sale inventories declined by -39.34% from this time last year.  List prices in the Seattle metro area in Q1 2012 also gained strength, showing an uptick of 3.81% on a year-over-year quarterly basis. However, sold prices in the Seattle area dipped slightly in February 2012, with the price of a typical home sold in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties falling by 0.8% from January and 2.9% from February 2011. Unemployment is lower in Seattle than the rest of The Evergreen State at 8.3% and 9.1% respectively.

Sightseeing in Seattle: Seattle's not only known for rain and coffee.  The city’s Pike Place Market is recognized as the premier farmers' market in the country.  You can also see a snapshot of Seattle from the 1800s in the Seattle Underground, a network of passageways and basements shut down after a fire in 1889.


These market rankings are based on their year-over-year median price appreciation, reduction in year-over-year median age of inventory, and inventory reduction levels as observed on, as well as unemployment rates on a year-over-year basis. The Top Turnaround Town Report is based on an algorithm that combines those four key measures with searches for properties on and the ratio of searches to listings in order to equalize markets by size.  The resulting report reflects price changes that have taken place and gives weight to supply and demand dynamics that create continued progress towards growth and stability in future months.

About MOVE, Inc.

Move, Inc. (NASDAQ:MOVE), the leader in online real estate, operates:, a leading destination for information on new homes and rental listings, moving, home and garden and home finance;®, the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®;,; SeniorHousingNet; ListHub; SocialBios; and TOP PRODUCER Systems. Move, Inc. is based in Campbell, California.

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