We’re following up to Part 1 of the Homes for the Holidays report with the remaining best cities in the U.S. in which to celebrate the holiday season.  Are their housing markets as cheerful as their celebrations?  Let’s find out if you’re ready to call any of these cities your ‘home for the holidays’.

5.            Las Vegas, NV, the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, does not disappoint when it comes to holiday fun.  This city illuminates with bright lights all year long, and more than 3 million people travel here every holiday season to celebrate[i].  Specifically, the fountains at the world famous Bellagio hotel are a major draw, as they dance only to Christmas carols for the season.  In addition to the dancing fountains, Vegas draws real estate searchers on Homes.com and currently ranks #5 in the most searched cities before the holiday season this year[ii].  What’s attracting these potential home buyers?  The median asking price is relatively affordable at $145,000[iii] and Case-Shiller shows an increase both month to month and year over year in the home value index for this city.[iv]

4.            Washington, DC lights up the #4 spot with the Pathway of Peace. This walkway leads up to the National Christmas Tree, which is planted near the White House and represents the holiday spirit of all 50 states, five territories, and the District itself[v].  Additionally, you’ll find the Capitol Christmas Tree, situated on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, the lighting of the National Menorah commemorating Hanukkah, and two million pounds of ice sculptures in the exhibit, ICE!, at the Gaylord National.  DC truly embodies the spirit of the holidays for everyone, and the housing market is just as festive.  This area has a slightly higher median price of $475,000, leading it to become popular among renters and appearing in our Q2 Most Improved Cities for the Rental Market report but, according to Case-Shiller, the city currently sees a 4.3% annual increase in home prices, which is a joyful sign for homeowners here.

3.            San Antonio, TX may lack snow and the winter weather, yet, it shines with the River Walk, which is “transformed into an impressive festival of lights” during the holiday season[vi].  Most of the 1.8 million sparkling lights for this attraction decorate nearly 200 trees and 20 “holiday-hued bridges” along the river[vii].  Like Vegas, this city is very attractive to real estate searchers, currently coming in at #6 in our top searched cities before the holidays.  Thinking about being able to visit River Walk year round and make San Antonio your new home for the holidays?  We’ve got merry news for you, then! It’s recently been noted that the housing market is improving in this city with almost a 5% increase in home prices[viii].

2.            It is time for a trip to the Windy City; Chicago, IL exhibits a more wintry climate to go along with the city’s dazzling holiday light displays.  Enjoy shopping and the more than one million lights throughout the Magnificent Mile or find one-of-a-kind gifts at Chicago’s own German style Christkindlmarket, part of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. This festival “attracts more than 1 million visitors each year[ix].”  Could this city also attract potential home buyers for the holidays?  The median asking price is a reasonable $215,000. Similarly, this city is also ideal for recent young graduates, the most common demographic among renters and lands in our Q3 “State of the Rental Market” Report.

1.            New York, NY, the most populous city in the U.S., makes almost every holiday-themed list we found. This is why it ranks as our #1 best city in which to celebrate the holidays.  This city completely captures the season, from a multitude of shopping destinations (including the biggest and oldest toy store, FAO Schwartz) to the several attractions, like the famed tree at Rockefeller Center and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  In addition to the expansive spectacle for the holidays, the Big Apple is known for ‘big’ real estate prices.  Currently, the median listing price for a home for sale is around $1 million.  However, don’t let these prices turn you into a Scrooge; “real estate is a major force in the city’s economy” and New York is “home to some of the nation’s most valuable real estate[x].”

Signs of an improving housing market are worth rejoicing over!  Whether you are in the market to buy or rent, any of these cities would make a perfect place to call ‘home for the holidays’ year round.  To put a new home on your holiday shopping list, visit Homes.com and check out the nearly 3 million available properties.  Happy Holidays!

 

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] The Travel Channel, The Most Christmasy Places in America, Erica Walsh
[ii] Calculated from the number of searches from October 1 through November 15, 2012 on Homes.com
[iii] Calculated from active listings on Homes.com, November 13, 2012
[iv] S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, Not Seasonally Adjusted for Metropolitan area as of August 2012
[v] Aol Travel, 10 Best Places to Get into the Holiday Spirit in the US, Libby Zay, November 23, 2010
[vi] Wikipedia, San Antonio
[vii] Yahoo! Travel, Top 10 Destinations for Holiday Lights, Elissa Richard, November 22, 2011
[viii] San Antonio Business Journal, Home prices in San Antonio on the rise, Tricia Lynn Silva, November 12, 2012
[x] Wikipedia, New York City
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