Homes.com is ready for the holidays. To honor the joyous occasion, we have found the 10 best cities in which to celebrate the season. What’s in store for the housing market in these areas; will you be calling any of these cities your new ‘home for the holidays’?
Shopping, lights, parades, and more fill the air all over this time of year. And, these activities are much more festive in certain parts of the country. We searched the internet and found the most mentioned areas with these festive features to showcase our 10 best cities in the U.S. for the holiday season.
Traditionally, the winter holidays are known as a peak retail shopping season. These jolly cities may encourage you to consider putting real estate on your list this year.
10. Bethlehem, PA, founded on Christmas Eve in 1741, has been aptly named as “Christmas City, USA.” In addition to the famous German-style Christkindlmarkt, which boasts a variety of handmade crafts and gifts to shop from, this town’s most recognizable feature is the star of Bethlehem. “When lit, the star can be seen from as far as 20 miles away[i].” Thinking about making Christmas City, USA your new home for the holidays? The median listing price found on Homes.com is relatively affordable at $160,000[ii].
9. New Orleans, LA, home to numerous celebrations year round, joins the list with its famous month-long event dedicated to “Papa Noel.” Christmas New Orleans Style is a festival that offers many traditional events for the season, from the lighting ceremony on Canal Street to caroling in Jackson Square. Additionally, visitors here can tour decorated antebellum homes or shop along the famous French Quarter[iii]. Looking to tour and shop homes for sale instead? The median asking price here is $179,000 and it’s reported that this city is showing signs of a stabilizing real estate market,[iv] which is cheery news for potential buyers.
8. Baltimore, MD illuminates the list with its nationally recognized holiday lighting displays. Residents in the Hampden neighborhood, nicknamed “Christmas Street” or the “Miracle on 34th Street” during the holidays, come together to light up the block with a “holiday hodgepodge of larger-than-life snow globes, flashing angels, musical trains, and blinking lights galore[v].” Want to join the Christmas Street residents and call Baltimore your home for the holidays? This city is becoming increasingly sought after by home buyers; it ranks #1 in our Q2 Most Improved Cities in the Home Buying Market report and currently shows up as #2 in the most searched cities on Homes.com[vi]. If you would like to add a home in Baltimore on your holiday shopping list, the merry median for this city is $142,000, the lowest price from our list.
7. Denver, CO, nicknamed the Mile-High City, ranks #7 with the appropriately named “Mile High Holidays” celebration. This city kicks off the season with Downtown Denver’s Grand Illumination, presenting nearly 600,000 lights from Union Station to the City and County Building. Enjoy holiday shopping with Denver’s own Christkindl Market or the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which is the region’s most popular shopping destination. What’s in ‘store’ for real estate shoppers in this city? The median list price found on Homes.com is $319,000 and residents here currently see a 5.5% annual increase in home prices, according to the Case-Shiller index[vii].
6. The holiday season is known for the magic and wonder; therefore, it’s no surprise that Walt Disney World, with the celebrated Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, helps Orlando, FL make the list. This family-friendly festivity includes a parade, holiday lights, fireworks, and a magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A. Further contributing to the area’s holiday appeal is the suitably named town located right next door — Christmas, Florida. Orlando also seems to appeal to potential home buyers, as it currently appears in the most searched cities just before the holidays and previously ranked #1 in the Q1 and Q2 State of the Housing Market reports this year.
‘Tis the season for giving…and for shopping. So, will a new home become part of your holiday shopping list? Although this is generally an off season for the real estate industry, some experts claim that “there are good reasons to buy a home toward the end of the year[viii].” Perhaps one of these cities will make a great place to call home for the holidays. If none of these strike your fancy, stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll examine the remaining best cities and you may change your mind.
Ranking Methodology: Sorted by the most mentioned cities in a variety of holiday themed articles from The Travel Channel, TIME, Aol Travel, Yahoo! Travel, HGTV, About.com, and Huffington Post.
[i] Wikipedia, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
[ii] Calculated from active single-family, condo, and townhouse style properties found on Homes.com, November 13, 2012
[iii] Aol Travel, 10 Best Places to Get into the Holiday Spirit in the US, Libby Zay, November 23, 2010
[iv] NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune, Real estate market showing some signs of life in the New Orleans area, Rebecca Mowbray, July 22, 2012
[v] Yahoo! Travel, Top 10 Destinations for Holiday Lights, Elissa Richard, November 22, 2011
[vi] Calculated from the amount of searches on Homes.com from October 01 – November 15, 2012
[vii] S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, Not Seasonally Adjusted as of August 2012
[viii] My Fox DC, Buying a home for the holidays?, Kirk Haverkamp from MortgageLoan.com, November 06, 2012