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Leading global franchisor ERA Real Estate, recently announced its Hot Home Markets List based on year-over-year average sale price and transaction increases.

“ERA Real Estate frequently checks the temperature of our affiliate markets across the country,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “As we enter the ‘dog days’ of summer, a number of ERA® brokers are experiencing upticks in their key indicators. What’s interesting about the identified markets is that they are often associated with suburban ‘Middle America.’”

A majority of Americans live in the suburbs and over the last 10 years, household growth in the suburbs is nearly twice that of urban areas. “This added layer of insight into how the housing recovery is unfolding in these regions is important in gaining a fuller understanding of current housing conditions,” says Young.

Following are markets where ERA brokers are reporting some of the hottest year-over-year sale price and/or transaction increases based on local MLS data:

• Albuquerque, N.M.
• Atlanta, Ga.
• Central Massachusetts
• Colorado Springs, Colo.
• Fernandina Beach, Fla.
• Florence, S.C.
• Houston, Texas
• Kent County, Del.
• Lake Charles, La
• Leesburg, Fla.
• Los Angeles County, Calif.
• Medford, Mass.
• Mercer County, N.J.
• New Orleans, La.
• Orange County, N.Y.
• Sheridan, Wyo.

A town known for its picturesque views that can be experienced from the sky, Albuquerque literally runs on hot air. Each year the town celebrates the International Balloon Fiesta, attracting enthusiasts from across the globe to its warm, dry and mostly sunny climate. It may be hot air like this that is helping Albuquerque’s home values and market activity to rise.

“The market has stabilized over the last couple of months,” says broker John van Nortwick of Pargin Realty ERA. “In June pending sales exceeded 1,000 for the third time this year, which is a 12 percent increase from the previous year. Home values are up 31 percent at an average sale price of $207,679 and transactions have increased 4.1 percent year-over-year. It’s a great sign for buyers and sellers.”

Colorado Springs, Colo.

The recent wildfires in Colorado Springs haven’t cooled off the region’s real estate market in this outdoorsman’s paradise known for the Rocky Mountains’ Pike’s Peak.

“Statistics are showing that there is healthy progress in the Colorado Springs real estate market,” says broker William Hurt of ERA Shields. “The average sale price, currently at $234,000, represents a nearly nine percent increase versus this time last year and unit sales are up four percent. With home values on the rise yet still affordable, this is a great time for renters to consider buying. While rents are trending upward, home prices and interest rates are low, driving more buying interest. Right now, renters can frequently buy nicer homes than they are renting for a lower monthly payment.”

Florence, S.C.

Workers looking for a change of pace may enjoy Florence, known as the heart of cultural and industrial development. Generally mild climates in the fall, spring and winter make it an ideal place to work and live; and a beach to cool off at on those hot summer days is always within driving distance.

“Industries are beginning to relocate employees again,” says broker Jean Leatherman of ERA Leatherman. “During the economic downturn, many corporations did not transfer employees. Now that they’ve begun relocations again, it is a fabulous change for our market and our community. In fact, the average sale price of $173,975 reflects an 8 percent home value increase and transactions have risen 4 percent since last year. With more companies moving in, real estate and job opportunities both have an opportunity for growth.”

Leesburg, Fla.

In the sunshine state where even the coolest days are warm, a majority of transactions in the $150,000 and below price range is driving market stabilization in Leesburg. Low inventory and multiple offer situations are prompting one area real estate company to get creative.

“We have ready and willing qualified buyers, however, lower inventory limits purchasing options,” said broker Gus Grizzard of ERA Tom Grizzard. “Proactively, our team reaches out to sellers with expired listings to inform them of the great sellers market in hopes they will re-list. The average sale price of $133,254 has increased three percent year-over-year which is a good sign of higher home values. Even more telling is the number of units sold which increased 24 percent year-over-year, indicating a rising market.”

Mercer County, N.J.

The Garden State’s capitol county, Mercer County is a center for commerce and culture. Centrally located between two major cities, and within a two-hour drive to Jersey Shore beaches, Mercer offers the best of both worlds and opens a greater job pool to many due to easy access to nearby urban hubs.

“Mercer’s average sale price of $333,303 is very reasonable for New Jersey and it is good news for local homeowners because it indicates a home value increase of nearly five percent,” says broker Ann Davis of ERA Central. “Sales transactions have increased nine percent. Many people want to reside in Mercer because of its great schools and proximity to Philadelphia and New York City. Commuting is possible and easier because of Mercer’s fantastic transportation system.”

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