It's an all-too-familiar story these days: You bought what you thought was your dream home during the housing heyday, when getting a mortgage with a sweet rate was a breeze. But when the real estate bubble burst, you were either left with a pad that's worth less than what you paid for it or—even worse—an underwater mortgage.
Well, the good news is that many real estate markets in the U.S. are on the upswing—but it's by no means an across-the-board phenomenon.
Pondering selling but unsure of whether you'll get a good return on your investment? You're not alone, which is why we broke down the current healthiest—and not-so-robust—real estate markets in the country, so you can see where your own region falls on the spectrum.
Boom Time in Texas
Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio are some of the healthiest real estate markets in the nation, thanks to low foreclosure rates and robust job growth—particularly in the energy sector.
Barely Staying Afloat in Florida
The Southern state is home to the third-largest foreclosure inventory in the country. And although several problematic markets—like Orlando, Miami and West Palm Beach—are showing some signs of improvement, experts say that Florida should expect volatility in the housing market throughout 2013.
Nebraska: Midwest Market Health
Omaha clocked in at #7 on AOL Real Estate's list of the country’s healthiest real estate markets for 2013. Not only does the city have a low vacancy rate, but the job market in Omaha is also stronger than the national average.
Southern Progress in Arkansas
When the housing bubble burst in 2009, and real estate markets across the U.S. were gasping for air, Little Rock stayed strong—even earning a spot on Forbes’s list of the strongest markets at the time. Since then, real estate in the region has remained steady, recording gains in home prices each year.
Not So Lucky in Las Vegas
The outlook in Sin City is fairly bleak: The 10.2% unemployment rate towers above the 7.7% national rate. And even though home prices have been climbing over the past year, a bill previously passed to slow the repossession of homes by banks may soon be removed, which could cause foreclosures to skyrocket.
Struggles in Chicago
The Windy City is considered one of the best buyer's markets in the country, which may sound like a good thing, but it isn't—at least not for the locals. Currently, homes are staying on the market longer than the national average, due to low demand, so many people are forced to sell for less than the original purchase price of their homes.
A Burgeoning Boston Market
This New England city has one of the highest home appreciation rates in the U.S., as well as some of the highest rental prices in the country—a double boon for the real estate market. In 2012, there was a 17% increase in the volume of homes sold compared to the previous year, and the median sale price jumped 7% from $351,000 to $375,000.
Deep Trouble in Detroit
The tough economy in Detroit is oft-discussed—and the housing market is no exception. Homes in the city lost up to 60% of their value during the worst of the recession, and some properties are still selling for as little as a dollar. Although the market has seen small value increases over the past few months, there's still a long road ahead.
A Sunny Outlook in San Francisco
In 2012, both rents and median home prices climbed by 15% from the previous year, while inventory fell 40%. And Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate company Redfin, says that there's no end in sight for rising Bay Area prices.