Property Values in Major US Cities since 1984- Part 1

There is an interesting data set from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy on Land and Property Values in 46 US Metro Areas (Cities). The data can be accessed here, and it shows change in values of single family detached owner occupied housing between 1984 and 2015.

The following post will present a series of charts that show change in home values in major US cities since 1984.

Figure 1 – Home Values in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, 1984-2015

Real estate markets are very local – as evidenced by the chart shown in Figure 1. Housing markets in  different cities don’t experience the same level of change in value over time. Note the difference between San Francisco and Dallas for example. Both cities are large, attractive urban centres and significant contributors to the US economy, yet homes in Dallas are a fifth of the price of homes in San Francisco. This denotes that a variety of factors are influencing property values and their change over time.

The next charts show change in home values across different regions in the US.

Figure 2 –   Home Values in Texan Cities, 1984-2015

House values in Texan cities haven’t experienced the same level of depreciation during the most recent recession as other places around the US. And the recent uptick in house values across all four cities is largely due to a growing population and economy.

Figure 3 – Home Values in Denver, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City and Phoenix, 1984-2015

Notice the bubble during the most recent recession in Phoenix. Denver on the other hand shows a fairly consistent, and interesting level of appreciation since 1984 – particularly following 2011. This is supported by its recent rise to prominence as an 18-hour city, as it attracts new residents and entrepreneurs due to its low costs, growing economy and appealing outdoor lifestyle factors.

Figure 4 – Home Values in Cities of the Southeast States, 1984-2015

Another pretty significant bubble in Miami during the recent recession, and Tampa to a lesser extent.

Figure 5 – Home Values in Cities of the Midwest States, 1984-2015

Chicago’s property values have been relatively slow to recover from pre-recession days. The city has in fact grown by less than 100,000 residents since 2010 (2015 population- 9.5 million).

Figure 6 – Home Values in Cities of the Eastern-Midwest States, 1984-2015

There are a few interesting things I noticed in Figure 6
1) Tremendous drop in house values in Detroit during the recession of 2008/2009 (back to 1994 levels);
2) The recent trifurcation of the property value market in Ohio’s three biggest cities – Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus; and,
3) The incredibly steady rise of Pittsburgh’s house values over the last 20 years.

Pittsburgh is a particularly interesting case, as it has done a good job transitioning to a more modern economy. The city is also home to a number of prominent educational institutions, an established and burgeoning high tech cluster and ranks highly in livability surveys among US cities.

Figure 6 – Home Values in Cities of the Northeast States, 1984-2015

Figure 7 – Home Values in Los Angeles, San Bernadino and San Diego, 1984-2015

 Figure 8 – Home Values in Cities in Northern California, 1984-2015

The most interesting takeaway for me from analysing this dataset ties back to my point about how real estate markets are very local. Although house values in virtually all US cities experienced depreciation during the most recent recession, the severity of the impact and in particularly the recovery was felt differently among every city.

Figure 9 shows the change in home values between 2006 and 2015 for all the 46 cities in the dataset. I am interested to see how values have changed since their peak levels in 2006.

 Figure 9 – Total % Change in Home Values, 2o06 – 2015

House values in Texan cities lead the way since 2006, including a number of mid-sized cities in the Midwest and Southwest parts of the US. In contrast are a number of large and prominent cities along the east coast and internally (e.g., New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami) that have yet to recover from their peak levels. Other cities that haven’t surpassed their 2006 house values include several in the west US such as Phoenix, San Bernadino, Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Ana.



  1. Dragan Dragovic · August 4, 2016

    Procitacu , pa ti se javljam. Izgleda vrlo interesantno.

    Sent from my iPad



  2. fearlessanalyst · August 4, 2016

    Interesting how the house-values contrast between Pittsburgh and Atlanta is somewhat like the contrast between the urban ‘atmospheres’ in those cities. I found myself wondering if it had more to do with racism or poverty, but wouldn’t want to speculate too wildly!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Property Values in Major US Cities since 1984- Part 2 | Real Estate Defined

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