Afraid of a Bubble? Buy Without Fear in These Top 10 Stable, Growing Markets   By Yuqing Pan | Apr 3, 2017
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“These are the Goldilocks of today’s housing market,” says Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for “Not too hot, and not too cold, these markets present the right balance of housing and economic conditions for buying and selling activity to evolve naturally.”

Of course, no market is completely bulletproof against another financial crisis. But these cities, with their strong and diversified industries, come pretty darn close. Plus, steadily rising price appreciation means that they’re likely to be solid investments for the long haul. And slow and steady wins the race, right?

“They have rising demand, and the corresponding supply to quench it,” Vivas says. “And they’re all relatively smaller metros, often with large nearby siblings eating up any potential irrational growth, which keeps them from overheating.”

To identify the 10 metros where you can buy a home and rest easy about it, we compared the 150 largest U.S. housing markets, using nine key metrics:

Positive (but not out-of-control) price appreciation of between 4% and 12% in 2016
An ample supply of homes for sale (between three and seven months available)
Affordability, measured by the percentage of income needed to buy a home
New home construction recovered from the recession
Median number of days homes are on the market (the lower the better)
Foreclosure rate
Percentage of homes underwater
Percentage of homes with price reduction (yep: Lower is better)
Low unemployment rate

Got it? So stay calm, get comfortable, and take a tour through our list of America’s most rock-steady markets.

So let us put you at ease: What goes up doesn’t have to come crashing down. As we’ve said before, record-high prices alone do not make a bubble. Still, if playing it safe is your top priority, we’ve got you covered. Our data team at® set out to find the real estate markets that are least likely to pop if the country heads toward another recession—metros where home prices are still rising at a healthy (versus dizzying) pace.

We also only included markets where the supply of homes for sale is still large enough that buyers are unlikely to be pulled into costly bidding wars.

Durham, NC

Median home price: $320,000

Annual price growth: 10% 

Top schools like Duke and the University of North Carolina

at Chapel Hill supply a steady stream of talent to Durham’s thriving health care and research industries.

Research Triangle Park, aka “Smartsville, USA,” is one of the world’s largest research centers. More than 200 high-tech companies, including IBM and Cisco, operate there. Throw a rock, and you might hit a Nobel Prize-winning scientist or inventor of the next life-altering tech startup. (But don’t throw rocks, please.)

“People are starting to notice Durham,” says Courtney James, owner of Urban Durham Realty. “It’s a relatively affordable market for young people graduating from universities and creating their own startups. This is a young city, full of creative energy.”

Housing highlight: When living in traditional homes gets boring, Durham residents can move into tobacco mills converted into awesome lofts with 22-foot ceilings at the Apartments at American Tobacco.

Today’s rapidly skyrocketing home prices are making more than a few people nervous.​  After all, it was only about a decade ago that the U.S. real estate market bubble burst, and millions of Americans lost their homes (and for many, life savings). And, as most of us recall all too well, plenty of others found themselves underwater on their mortgages, owing more than the homes were worth. But then came … the recovery. God bless the recovery! The housing market and economy have come roaring back. Some markets, in fact, are booming to historic levels.

But many folks still have some serious housing PTSD when it comes to the prospect of buying. And isn’t a home supposed to make you feel safe and secure?