Find Out Which U.S. Cities Are Growing Fastest

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its most recent population estimates for the nation’s incorporated places, including cities, boroughs, and villages.

These are not 2010 population counts. They reflect administrative records, including updated housing unit estimates.

The first 2010 U.S. census counts will be available by April 1. 2011.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek used the data to identify the fastest-growing city in each state. These include Buckeye, Ariz., Lincoln, Calif., and Spring Hill, Tenn.

The Wall Street Journal identified where urban population growth is trumping suburban and vice versa.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau (06/22/2010)

Foreclosure leaders focused on 4 states in new metro list

The 26 cities with the highest foreclosure rate in the nation are all located in four hard-hit states, with Las Vegas topping the list, according to a report released Wednesday.

Metro areas in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona topped the foreclosure filing list for the first quarter of 2009 in a report from RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties. A foreclosure filing includes default papers, auction sale notices and repossessions.

Las Vegas had the highest rate of foreclosures of any city, with one in every 22 homes subject to a foreclosure filing in the first three months of the year. The rate of foreclosure filings was 4.5%, seven times the national average.

Merced, Calif., had the second highest rate, with Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., Stockton, Calif., and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., rounding out the top five.

“The metro areas with the highest levels of foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2009 paint a picture of concentrated problems in a relatively small number of hard-hit areas,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in a written statement.

Foreclosure rates have been very high in the 4 key states throughout the bursting of the housing bubble, and so it was to be expected that cities from those states would pepper the top of the list.

However, it was a surprise to see the list so top heavy, according to Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac.

“The concentration of troubled metro areas within the hardest-hit states, candidly, was even more severe than we expected it to be,” Sharga said. “The degree to which those four states dominated the rankings surprised even us.”

New problem cities: Meanwhile, some metropolitan areas had a surge in foreclosures. Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, in 27th place, Provo-Orem, Utah, in 37th, and Charleston-North Charleston, S.C., in 51st were examples Sharga gave of areas that had particular strong gains in filings.

Sharga said the rise of foreclosures in additional regions indicates new factors influencing the housing market as the recession drags on.

“What we believe we are seeing is some of the areas with unemployment problems,” said Sharga. “These are people living paycheck to paycheck and, when the paycheck is gone, suddenly they can’t afford to make their mortgage payments.”

The data for RealtyTrak’s metro area foreclosure report is collected from 2,200 counties across the nation, and those counties represent more than 90% of the U.S. population. Some 203 areas are covered by the report.

Across the nation, foreclosure activity in the first quarter hit a record high, according to another RealtyTrac report issued last week. Total foreclosure filings reached 803,489 in the first three months of the year, the highest monthly and quarterly totals since RealtyTrac began reporting in January 2005.

The national report also found that the worst of the foreclosures were centralized in a handful of worst-hit states. California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois accounted for nearly 60% of the total foreclosure activity in the first quarter, with 479,516 properties received foreclosure filings in those states.

Catherine Clifford, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Business Picks Up Where Prices Have Tumbled

Sales are picking up in markets where prices are deflated, but the business is different than it was before the bubble burst, observers say.

The housing market in deflated markets–like Arizona, California, Florida, and Nebraska–are beginning to show signs of a rebound. Analysts say that prices have fallen to the point that those with average salaries can afford to buy once again.

“The buyers are returning,” says Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist. “And in such a strong way that, now, we are hearing in some cases there is multiple bidding, which hints that maybe pricing is reaching a bottom point. But inventory remains high.”

In California’s San Joaquin County, sales in September and October reached sales levels about equal to business at the height of the boom in 2005, says DataQuick, which provides property data.

But new buyers are primarily first-timers and investors looking to cash in. Local practitioners say the buyers are primarily local residents who have cash to spend.

“It’s the couple down the street that has a nice nest egg and who wants to put it into something that will give them a good return,” says Bev Marlow, head of the Central Valley Association of REALTORS®.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, Ben Arnoldy

A Love-Hate Relationship With Biggest Cities

Americans have a love-hate relationship with their largest cities, according to a survey of 2,500 employees and small business owners.

Human Capital Institute, a Washington-D.C.-based human resources think tank, asked employees and entrepreneurs to name the U.S. city where they’d be most eager to relocate.

The winner? New York City.

The loser? New York City.

Survey-takers who liked New York pointed to its entertainment options, readily available transportation and business opportunities. Survey-takers who panned it pointed out its high cost of living.

Here are the rest of the cities on the picks and pan lists. New York isn’t the only city to appear on both. Cities use the information in determining how to market themselves to attract out-of-town workers.

10 Favorite Cities to live and work:

  • New York
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Denver
  • Phoenix
  • Chicago
  • Boston

10 Cities Workers Would Like to Avoid:

  • New York
  • Detroit
  • Los Angeles
  • New Orleans
  • Chicago
  • Washington DC
  • Las Vegas
  • Cleveland
  • Dallas
  • Miami

Source: Businessweek.com, Prashant Gopal

These Cities Are In Line for a Rebound

Have we reached bottom? In many cities, knowledgeable observers say yes.

In October 2005 at the peak of the boom, the median sales price for a U.S. home reached 7.3 times per capita income. By this May it was 5.7 times, just about the historical norm. Home inventories have flattened. The decline in sales has ended – and in some places sales have expedited.

“The indicators are starting to look better,” says Adam York, an economic analyst with Wachovia.

Here are seven markets that SmartMoney magazine says are in line for a rebound:

  • Seattle
  • Raleigh
  • Des Moines
  • Philadelphia
  • Denver
  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • Salt Lake City

Source: SmartMoney (11/01/08)