Are you looking to purchase a new home or remodel an existing one? Before you do, check out these latest lists of the best and worst cities to live in.
Forbes magazine’s list of the “coolest” U.S. cities to live in ties Las Vegas and New York City for first, followed by: Seattle, Chicago, Oakland, Orlando, San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington DC. These “cool” rankings were based on Harris Interactive poll, plus the nightlife, culture and recreation offerings as measured by AOL City Guides.
And where don’t you want to live? According to an unofficial poll by WalletPop, the worst places to live in the U.S. are: El Centro (CA), Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas (cool but miserable?), Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Newark, Miami and Memphis. WalletPop based its choices on a number of criteria, including: unemployment rates, health data, the number of foreclosures, crime statistics, climate “and other measures of misery.”
So how much influence do these lists have on actual new home sales and remodeling figures? Not much, really.
According to the latest figures from the U.S. Commerce Department, the Northeast reported the largest growth in new residential home sales in June, up 46.4% over May, and 17.1% compared to 2009. Likewise, June’s new home sales in the South jumped 33.1% over May, though still down 6.1% compared to June 2009. The Midwest region grew 20.5% in sales compared to May, though still down by double-digits compared to June 2009. And though it may boast some of the “coolest” places to live, it doesn’t seem like people are buying in the West, as sales dropped 6.6% in June, and a whopping 45.7% compared to one year ago.
Overall, single-family new homes rose 23.6% in June over May, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 330,000, though sales are down 16.7% compared to June 2009, and 32.2% lower than June 2008.
Just as Americans are slow to buy new homes, the same holds true for remodeling projects. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Remodeling Market Index dropped from 43.8 in the first quarter, down to 40.7 in the second, although it does appear to be stabilizing. The RMI measures market demand for current and future residential remodeling projects. A score less than 50 indicates a worsening of conditions.
The NAHB reports remodeling in the Northeast decreased 5.2 in the second period down to 41.4, while the South decreased 1.7, down to 42.4. And while the West improved to 42.0 compared to 34.8, the Midwest wins the prize as the only region to show improvement in both the RMI, up to 44.7 compared to 43.8 last period, and new home sales.
Perhaps there’s hope yet for Cleveland.