What Is Detroit? A City, An Industry, An Idea

February 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Micheline Maynard, Contributor
Joann Muller, Forbes Staff

By now, you’ve probably heard these words, spoken in a famous, raspy voice, during Chrysler’s commercial during half time of the Super Bowl.

“This isn’t a game. The people of Detroit know a li800px-Detroit_Renaissance-Centerttle something about this. They almost lost everything. But we all pulled together. Now, the Motor City is fighting again.”

But did Clint Eastwood refer to the city of Detroit — or Detroit, the auto industry? Did he mean the actual residents of Detroit, or everything involved in the imaginary Motor City, which sweeps from Detroit, down through Louisville and on to Dallas?

As a city fights for survival, and car companies fight for revival, it’s very easy for images, metaphors and symbolism about Detroit to become mixed up in a big pot of mythical gumbo. (Not to mention a bubbling political controversy.)

We’ve been trying to discern the different flavors at our public media project, Changing Gears, and it just isn’t easy.

The city of Detroit. Once, it was the industrial Midwest’s version of a gold rush town. From the 1920s to the 1950s, new residents were pouring in every hour, people of every race, ethnic origin, wealth and education level. By 1950, Detroit had 2 million people, making it the size of Houston today.

In that Detroit, one of every two adults worked in a manufacturing job, according to Kevin Boyle, a native Detroiter and historian at Ohio State University. Images of that Detroit are embossed in the American consciousness, the idea of a sprawling city, with prosperous blue and white collar residents, and Motown music rollicking from every transistor radio.

But that Detroit is long gone. The Detroit of today has barely 720,000 people, or less than half the size at its peak. Only 20,000 of those residents, or about 2.7 percent of the people who live there, hold jobs in factories, Boyle calculates. Classic Motown lives on mainly in PBS specials and on satellite radio.

Wealth has been depleted and homes abandoned, schools struggle. Far from being self-sufficient,  Detroit could still almost lose everything, writes Dustin Dwyer at Changing Gears. If it can’t fix its finances, it could soon fall under the control of a state appointed emergency manager, the kind that already runs the city’s schools.

Detroit, the auto industry. Now that General Motors and Chrysler are back on their feet, and Ford is successful, the industry seems like a point of national pride. But we didn’t all “pull together” to save it, as Eastwood suggests. Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked efforts at a Congressional bailout in the waning days of the Bush administration.

As the Obama administration pulled together a rescue effort, debt holders at Chrysler refused to come to the table in time to avoid a managed bankruptcy there. Even Eastwood, a long-time Republican, opposed a bailout for the car companies, as Jalopnik.com discovered.

It might be reassuring to think the nation was cheering as one for this Detroit to get back on its feet, but it was not the case, and rewriting the past does not make it so.

Detroit, the Motor City. Is it “fighting again?” Yes. Just look at the Chevrolet ad that ran during the Super Bowl, which provoked an irritated response from Ford, as JoAnn Muller wrote.

The car companies are definitely fighting with each other, just they always have. And in a way, it’s refreshing, since if they were still flat on their backs, you might not see such vim.

Tiffs aside, some of the oldest factories in the Motor City are finding new life, in part because the UAW agreed to expand a two-tier wage program that pays new workers far less than union veterans. So, the Motor City, in its broadest sense, lives on.

In short, there’s Detroit — and then, there’s Detroit. And the Motor City. All those places are what you make of them, whether you see an urban landscape, a collection of companies, or an idea.

In this case, it’s  perhaps best to leave the definition of Detroit to someone who hailed from Michigan. I’m talking about the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who famously declared, “I know it when I see it.”

Here’s the way the Sam Roberts Band sees the Motor City.

Full Article Here

Bing to cops: Move to city, get $1,000 home, fix-it funds

February 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Here is a spectacular initiative by the City to improve living conditions for residents.

Leonard N. Fleming / The Detroit News

Detroit — Mayor Dave Bing today announced an unprecedented program to entice police officers to move back into the city by offering ownership of 200 tax-foreclosed homes in two of the city’s most stable neighborhoods.

Flanked by top police brass and administration officials, Bing helped detail the program called “Project 14” in which foreclosed homes will be available in the East English Village and Boston-Edison neighborhoods. The program name alludes to police code for “back to normal.”

Officers will pay up to $1,000 for the houses and receive up to $150,000 in federal grants to rehab them. City officials said the homes are in good shape for abandoned properties but need some work.

The mayor said that police officers “living in their neighborhoods have the potential to deter crime, increase public safety and improve relations between the community and our sworn officers.”

“Detroiters want to live in safe, stable neighborhoods and they deserve no less,” Bing said. “This is just step one of many things that we think we’re going to have to involve ourselves in as we bring our city back. We hope it’s a model for the nation.”

As more homes have become vacant and crime has been a nagging problem in the city for decades, Bing said this incentive program is critical to bringing people back. The city has lost half its population since it reached a peak of about 1.8 million in 1950. More left after the state Legislature banned municipal residency ordinances in 1999 requiring workers to live in cities that employ them.

The program is centered on the two neighborhoods, but the city also could offer houses in other ones, depending on officers’ needs, city officials said.

The mayor said the program would eventually be opened up to include firefighters and then provide some financial relief to officers who chose to never leave the city once more federal dollars are secured.

The city is partnering with the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Michigan State Housing and Urban Development Authority, the Michigan Housing Trust and other private interests.

City officials did not reveal more specifics as to how many officers are interested or what other neighborhoods are being considered as part of the program.

Police Chief Ralph Godbee predicted the program would be a success.

“Our residents have told us loud and clear about the challenges that their neighborhoods face as more homes have become vacant and abandoned, threatening the stability and safety of our community,” Godbee said. “What we’re looking for is moving back to some normalcy in police-community relations.”

At least 53 percent of the city’s 3,000 police officers in Detroit live in the suburbs and the numbers are even higher for firefighters, the mayor said.

One of those is police officer William Booker-Riggs, 37, who lives in Southfield but is now eying a move back to the city as part of the program. He’s a single father of an 11-year-old girl who, in part, left 9 months ago for better opportunities for her.

Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr. said he “applauds the mayor’s vision” and believes the incentive program is a “step in the right direction” to turning around Detroit.

“I support anything that can be used as a way to get people to come back to the city,” Cockrel said. “I do think that we can’t lose sight of the fact that the ultimate incentive to get people to come to Detroit and to stay in Detroit is to fix a lot of the issues that are wrong with the city. It’s to improve public safety, it’s to have streetlights which work and are on, it’s to have streets which are clean and safe.”

The city is using $30 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to pay for the program. It includes safeguards that would require police to repay money for the house if they sell it to someone other than a police officer.

lfleming@detnews.com

(313) 222-2072

Quicken’s move could inspire more firms to come downtown

August 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

BY JOHN GALLAGHER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

When 700 employees of Quicken Loans arrived for work Monday at the Compuware building, they each found a gift bag stuffed with discount coupons from nearby downtown restaurants and shops very eager to make their acquaintance.

Compuware_HQ_1Long-suffering businesses downtown have been eagerly awaiting Quicken’s move from suburban Livonia, seeing it as a sign of better days ahead. Downtown has been suffering a king-sized hangover from the prolonged recession.

Among the restaurant owners contributing discount cards to the gift bags was Jon Grabowski, owner of the Spa 19 24 Grille at the Westin Book Cadillac.

“Any exposure we can give to new businesses coming downtown only helps this idea of a greater Detroit,” Grabowski said Monday.

Employees of Quicken, an Internet-based mortgage lending company, also got a discount coupon from CK Mediterranean Grille & Catering, which by coincidence opened for business Monday in the Compuware complex at 119 Monroe. Owner Ouse Gulli said that when he learned that Quicken was moving downtown, he increased the size of his restaurant space from 2,000 square feet to 2,400 square feet.

“We felt that there was a possibility that the city was turning around and there was some synergy of investment and companies coming downtown, and we wanted to be a part of that,” he said.

Amid the excitement, it helps to remember that the Quicken move reflects a transfer of jobs within metro Detroit, rather than new jobs or growth from outside the region. And it also may bear remembering that when Quicken founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert first announced he would move his headquarters downtown from Livonia, in November 2007, he was projecting bringing 4,000 workers downtown and building his own headquarters skyscraper.

The recession trimmed the size and scope of that dream. Quicken opted to lease space in Compuware’s headquarters and bring about 1,700 workers downtown this month in shifts, with another 900 or so coming next Monday.

But even downsized from the initial dream, the Quicken move is exciting for metro Detroit’s core business district. And it is designed not as an isolated event, but as an example for other firms to follow.

“It can’t be just us. We can be a catalyst,” Quicken CEO Bill Emerson said Monday. “The vision that Dan and we all share is that Web-based business corridor that we think we can build down here.”

He added, “When you really think of an urban setting and getting tech-savvy folks sitting together, talking together, creating together, we think we can really create something special down here, and that’s what the focus is going to be.”

Even Monday, the benefits of Quicken’s move downtown were being felt quickly in the central city. At Canine To Five, a dog day-care operation on Cass Avenue north of downtown, owner Liz Blondy already was caring for three dogs from Quicken employees and had six more dogs scheduled within the next week.

“It is thrilling to see so many people from the suburbs, not only working downtown, but starting to utilize the area’s services,” Blondy said Monday.

After decades of losing people, downtown Detroit had made a comeback of sorts between the mid-’90s and 2006, when Detroit hosted Super Bowl XL. But then the economy crashed in 2007. Condo projects collapsed. Restaurants closed. Downtown’s office vacancy rate soared to more than 30%.

This summer, things seem to be turning around, at least tentatively. Quicken’s move brings 1,700 workers downtown. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan recently announced it would transfer 3,000 workers from its Southfield offices to the 500 and 600 towers of the Renaissance Center. A handful of new shops and restaurants, like Gulli’s CK Mediterranean Grille, are opening.

“There’s some great momentum right now,” Emerson said. “What we want to see is that momentum to continue, businesses really thinking about relocating to downtown Detroit.”

Mayor Dave Bing was among those welcoming Quicken’s employees during a ceremony in Compuware’s lobby Monday morning.

“We are excited to welcome Quicken to Detroit,” Bing said. “We look forward to them working, dining, shopping and living in the city.”

If nothing else, Quicken’s arrival brings a more youthful group of workers downtown than the traditional government, law and bank employees, said Robert Gregory, president of the Detroit 300 Conservancy, which runs Campus Martius Park. “It’ll be a more active and more fun demographic for downtown,” he said.

For Quicken’s workers, there was were the usual moving-day confusion. Painters still had drop cloths spread around some of the hallways, and everybody was learning which way to turn when they got off the elevators. But everyone seemed upbeat.

“The space is incredible,” Emerson said of the new digs in Compuware, where Quicken occupies the ninth through 12th floors of the 15-story office building. “Feedback from everybody so far has been tremendous. They love the way it looks — the colors, the openness, the views.”

Quicken’s move increases the number of people working downtown by 2% to 3%. With the results of the 2010 Census not expected until next year, nobody knows for sure how many people work downtown today, but a 2008 Census estimate suggested about 74,000 workers came downtown every day, although data analysts from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments suggest that the number is closer to 55,000. Others estimates place the true figure in between those two.

More importantly, Quicken’s move increases the number of downtown workers who eventually might invite friends and family to come downtown for dining, strolling, sporting events and other forms of entertainment and recreation.

“We can go to a game right after work,” marveled a Quicken marketing manager, Mark Smith. “It’s so nice without having to plan and say, ‘Let’s leave early.’ ”

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER: 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com

Downtown Detroit to get 4,700 more workers

August 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Quality of life to improve

BY JOHN GALLAGHER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

After suffering years of depletion and brutal recession, downtown Detroit is about to get an infusion of new people as two firms plan to move a total of 4,700 workers downtown.
The long-awaited move by online mortgage giant Quicken Loans will take place in August, bringing 1,700 workers to the Compuware building.

RenCenstatueAnd an announcement is imminent of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s move of 3,000 workers from its suburban offices to the 500 and 600 towers of the Renaissance Center, a person familiar with the details said Tuesday.

Taken together, the moves mean more employees eating at downtown restaurants, strolling on the RiverWalk, staying late for ballgames and concerts, and taking advantage of downtown amenities from yoga to bird-watching.

“It’s not only great for the city from an economic standpoint but from quality of life,” said Sandra van Meek, director of programming for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, which operates the RiverWalk.

Ann Lang, president of the civic group Downtown Detroit Partnership, echoed that. “It’s a terrific contribution to our vitality and energy,” she said.

Moves could put downtown on a roll

Up until and including Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in 2006, downtown Detroit was on a roll.

New condos and restaurants were opening, Campus Martius Park grew in popularity, and the RiverWalk drew thousands to the waterfront each day.

Then the recession hit. Condo deals collapsed, restaurants closed, the Michigan Opera Theatre cut back its performance schedule, and office vacancy rates soared to near 32% today.

Now, downtown leaders are hoping that an influx of almost 5,000 workers to downtown by online mortgage giant Quicken Loans and insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will help restore the roar.

Ann Lang, president of the civic group Downtown Detroit Partnership, cheered the news Tuesday.

“Downtown’s best image-building is done by people who work here and live here and become ambassadors,” she said. “The number of personal experiences that people are going to share with others will accelerate and strengthen our image in the region.”

Sandra van Meek, director of programming for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, which operates the RiverWalk, said the new employees will boost the quality of life downtown by patronizing the RiverWalk and other amenities.

“It becomes more viable beyond your typical workweek, and that’s what we’d love to see happen,” she said.

Quicken relocates first

The first of the new moves downtown promises to be the long-awaited arrival of online mortgage firm Quicken and several of its small, related companies.

Paula Silver, spokeswoman for Quicken founder and chairman Dan Gilbert, said Tuesday that about 700 Quicken workers will move downtown to the Compuware building on Aug. 16 and another 700 on Aug. 23. A few hundred more are to arrive at other times for about 1,700 in all.

Bill Emerson, Quicken Loans’ CEO, said that the firm’s employees were excited to move to Detroit.

“They are looking forward to working in an urban core where entertainment, like sporting events, concerts and theaters, are all just steps from our office door,” he said Tuesday.

Blue Cross has yet to make an official announcement of its move, but a person familiar with the details said an announcement is imminent. The Blues are to bring about 3,000 workers from suburban offices to the 500 and 600 towers of the Renaissance Center and to the existing Blue Cross campus downtown.

Frederick Liesveld, managing partner of the Grubb & Ellis real estate brokerage firm, said filling up some of downtown’s vacant Class A office space could lead to a round of new investment in older buildings. “That’s going to create a real interesting dynamic in Detroit,” he said.

The moves could also help redefine downtown Detroit, which for years has been known mainly as a home to banks, law firms and government workers.

The influx of Quicken’s youthful Internet-based Web team and the Blue Cross health care insurance workers will give downtown more of a service-industry flavor.

The moves may also boost downtown’s residential market, which took a nosedive in the nationwide housing crash.

Of course, parking is sure to become more of a problem, not to mention traffic at rush hour and waiting times at restaurants.

But Lang said she’d be happy to have those problems.

“It does feel likes it’s stabilized and we’re turning a corner,” she said. “Perhaps we were efficient and had all our crises at once, and now we’re ready to move on.”

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER: 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com

Housing Markets That Will Be Strongest by 2014

August 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Venessa Wong, Bloomberg Businessweek
Aug 4, 2010

Where will prices rebound most by state?

A housing market rebound seems tenuous following the expiration of the home buyer tax credit, and consumer confidence remains weak due to lackluster employment, but David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv, says the bottom is near. Home prices in the U.S. have declined 29.5 percent over the past four years, according to the Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes. Stiff says prices should form a trough early next year, when median prices will be down an estimated 32.9 percent from the 2006 peak.

By early 2014, they will have climbed about 7.2 percent from 2010 levels, according to the indexes. Fiserv and Moody’s Economy.com base the housing forecast on factors that include income growth, demographic trends, unemployment rates, foreclosure rates, and construction costs. Of 384 places surveyed, the BremertonSilverdale area in Washington State had the highest four-year growth forecast, with prices expected to increase 44.7 percent from 2010 to 2014. Other leading growth markets: Bend, Ore., where prices are expected to jump 33.6 percent by 2014, and Detroit, with a 33.1 percent forecast. Markets with the weakest projections: Miami and Naples in Florida and Atlantic City, N.J., where prices are expected to continue to fall over the next four years.

Top 10 Housing Markets That Will Be Strongest by 2014

Washington
Ferry heads toward Bremerton, Wash. (AP)

1. Washington

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: BremertonSilverdale metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 44.7 percent
Current median price: $245,000
Prices to reach trough in: 2010 Q1
Median family income: $69,900
Population: 240,860
The BremertonSilverdale area, on Puget Sound’s Kitsap Peninsula, has the highest growth forecast of all MSAs in the country, with prices expected to jump 44.7 percent by 2014, according to Fiserv. Cathy Doney, general manger for Reid Real Estate in Silverdale, says the waterfront community has benefited from government employment, which has helped sustain the job market, and attracted buyers looking to live close to Seattle at a lower cost. Washington’s second-strongest market is Tacoma, with a growth rate expected to be 33.1 percent. Prices in the Seattle area are expected to grow 25.5 percent by 2014.

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: Case-Shiller

Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon (Getty Images)

2. Oregon

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: Bend metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 33.6 percent
Current median price: $144,533*
Prices to reach trough in: 2011 Q1
Median family income: $58,200
Population: 158,630
The area around Bend area, in central Oregon’s high desert by the Cascade Mountains, has the second-highest four-year growth forecast, 33.6 percent, after Bremerton-Silverdale, Wash. Bend draws home buyers and visitors with its wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities, but its prices have dropped about 40 percent since hitting a peak in late 2006. Fiserv and Moody’s Economy.com now expect a rapid recovery starting next year. Greg Broderick, a real estate broker in Bend, says prices have overcorrected and buyers are seeing good value in the market. Homes priced the low hundred-thousand-dollar range “are being snapped up at a furious pace,” he says. Still, the area must deal with a higher-than-average unemployment rate, which the BLS says was 13.4 percent in June.

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: FHFA

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan (Getty Images)

3. Michigan

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: DetroitLivoniaDearborn metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 33.1 percent
Current median price: $51,000
Prices to reach trough in: 2011 Q2
Median family income: $54,400
Population: 1,925,850
Since reaching a peak in 2006, home prices in the Detroit area have fallen 60.5 percent, according to the Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes. As homes have become more affordable—the median home price in Detroit is lower than median family income—demand is expected to pick up. Prices are forecast to jump 33.1 percent over the next four years. George Moma, a broker with Century 21 Dupont Realtors, says the growing prevalence of short sales over foreclosures will help drive up the median price in the Detroit metro area. He adds that the area is attracting interest among international investors from the U.K., Dubai, Moscow, India, Ireland, and France.

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: Case-Shiller

Napa, California
Napa, California (Getty Images)

4. California

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: Napa metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 31.7 percent
Current median price: $355,000
Prices to reach trough in: 2010 Q4
Median family income: $79,600
Population: 134,650
Prices in the Napa area have dropped an enormous 44.6 percent since peaking in early 2006, according to first-quarter 2010 data from Fiserv and Moody’s Economy.com. Despite the drop, home prices are expected to rebound quickly. According to an article in the St. Helena Star, Napa County is vulnerable to economic and real estate market fluctuations, but the impact is mitigated by managed growth and the county’s natural and agricultural resources. The unemployment rate in the Napa area fell to 9.3 percent in June, from 11.1 percent in January, according to the BLS.

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: Case-Shiller

Washington
Carson City, Nevada
(Convention and Vistor’s Bureau)

5. Nevada

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: Carson City metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 31.6 percent
Current median price: $141,524*
Prices to reach trough in: 2011 Q2
Median family income: $63,100
Population: 55,180
By the second quarter of 2011, prices in the Carson City area are expected to have fallen 34.4 percent from peak levels, according to the Fiserv and Moody’s Economy.com. Recovery will depend on job creation, as the unemployment rate was 13.4 percent in June, according to the BLS. While expectations for near-term economic growth have diminished recently and competition for jobs is extremely high, opportunities exist, even in a declining labor market, according to Nevada’s Employment, Training, & Rehabilitation Dept.
Index used to calculate historical home price changes: FHFA
* Source: John Burns Real Estate Consulting, April 2010

Panama City, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida (Getty Images)

6. Florida

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: Panama CityLynn HavenPanama City Beach metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 26.9 percent
Current median price: $158,669*
Prices to reach trough in: 2010 Q3
Median family income: $53,800
Population: 164,770
Home prices in the Panama City area fell about 27 percent after hitting a peak in 2006, according to the FHFA home price index. Jennifer Mackay, an agent at Keller Williams Success Realty in Panama City, says the market was stabilizing earlier this year, but the BP oil spill led some buyers to pull out and sent the rental market into a tailspin. Despite the area’s large number of foreclosures (1.93 percent in the first half, according to RealtyTrac), Mackay says the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, which opened in May, should help stimulate local business. “I see our economy doing better than others over the course of the next year,” she says. The area’s unemployment rate reached 12.1 percent in January and dropped to 9.3 percent in June, according to BLS data.

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: FHFA

Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona (Getty Images)

7. Arizona

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: Flagstaff metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 26 percent
Current median price: $278,000
Prices to reach trough in: 2011 Q3
Median family income: $56,700
Population: 129,850
Although Arizona has been one of the states hit hardest by the housing downturn, sales activity in the Flagstaff area, home to Northern Arizona University and Flagstaff Medical Center, has picked up since the start of the year, due in part to the home buyer tax credit. Flagstaff-based broker Ann Heitland says prices still may drop in the near term, but the decrease will be limited by shrinking inventory, as there has been a lack of new construction in the area. She adds that because more than one-fifth of the Flagstaff market is second homes, demand from second-home buyers from Phoenix will also affect the recovery.

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: Case-Shiller

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico (Getty Images)

8. New Mexico

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: Santa Fe metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 25.8 percent
Current median price: $197,601*
Prices to reach trough in: 2010 Q3
Median family income: $64,300
Population: 147,530
Fiserv and Moody’s Economy.com expect prices in Santa Fe to drop a total of 13.4 percent from their height in 2007. Lois Sury, president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, states in a release that median prices fell during the second quarter, but homes are moving across all price ranges. Sales in the city and county of Santa Fe rose 40 percent during the second quarter, compared with the same period last year, according to the association.

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: FHFA
* Source: John Burns Real Estate Consulting, April 2010

Wyoming
Wyoming (Getty Images)

9. Wyoming

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: Cheyenne metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 23.7 percent
Current median price: $106,602*
Prices to reach trough in: 2010 Q1
Median family income: $62,600
Population: 88,850
The Cheyenne metro area, which includes Laramie County, has been a fairly stable market, with home prices estimated to drop only 2.6 percent from peak to trough. Home prices increased in June, and the average time on the market decreased, according to the Cheyenne Board of Realtors. The metro area had a 7 percent unemployment rate in June, according to the BLS.

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: FHFA
* Source: John Burns Real Estate Consulting, April 2010

Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska (Getty Images)

10. Alaska

Biggest home price increase projected in 2014: Anchorage metro
Forecast 4-year price increase: 20 percent
Current median price: $177,699*
Prices to reach trough in: 2010 Q1
Median family income: $77,700
Population: 374,550
The housing market in Anchorage has been stable: The estimated peak-to-trough price drop was only 2.1 percent, according to the Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes. Home sales, aided by the first-time home buyers’ tax credit earlier this year, as well as the fact that the area is home to many people who work in the resilient energy sector, are projected to stay strong as buyers take advantage of lower prices and low mortgage rates. According to Housingpredictor.com, “the state is seeing few foreclosures and is already showing signs of recovering.”

Index used to calculate historical home price changes: FHFA
* Source: John Burns Real Estate Consulting, April 2010

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