1. Tucson, Ariz.
Opportunities abound for those interested in buying single-family homes, condominium or co-op units, and town homes as investments, with people scooping up properties at a discount and turning them into rental properties. Their plan: Collect rental income now, then benefit from price appreciation on the property in the future, given that many housing markets appear to be at least nearing their bottoms, in terms of price. And there’s no real shortage of renters, either, since many people still don’t qualify for mortgage loans, said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive of Realtor.com. The best places for investors right now are areas where inventory has fallen although demand hasn’t risen steeply yet, and where the job market is on the upswing, he said. In Tucson, foreclosures plagued the market, but things may be looking up — and investors are taking notice. The city ranked No. 1 on Realtor.com’s list of top 10 investment markets for this year. Despite prices falling 31% during the housing bust, foreclosure inventories are now declining. Still, the median list price in Tucson was an affordable $170,000 in February, 3.03% higher than a year ago. Homes are selling 12% faster than a year ago. The area has the benefit of being a vacation destination as well as a college town, Berkowitz said. Research from the website shows that 33% of all sales that closed in Tucson in February were cash sales, suggesting a high level of investor activity.
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