Real estate is funny. Historically, it's been one of the best ways to build wealth, yet it scares the pants off most people. Everyone has an uncle or cousin who "lost big" in one of the real-estate crashes, yet admit it: A part of you still wants to invest.
This index seeks to determine which of the 50 most populous U.S. metro markets were most likely to have provided strong returns for residential real-estate investors between early 2014 and early 2015. This index measures both appreciation and gross rents as a percentage of average purchase prices.
Within the dates studied by the index, let's look at the 10 biggest real estate winners.
Dallas tops the list of real-estate markets over the period studied, exhibiting strong price appreciation, while remaining a market in which investors saw strong rents relative to property values. Investors in Dallas stood to earn an almost 20 percent unleveraged return for residential real-estate investments before expenses.
Falling closely behind Dallas, Denver takes the number-two spot, driven largely by the strongest appreciation in home values of any major market studied over the period. Residential real-estate prices increased a staggering 13.4 percent year over year across the Denver metro region.
Miami is one of three Florida markets on the top ten list, boasting an impressive 18.6 percent year-over-year return for investors.
Houston is the most populous city in the top 10 list, with more than 2.2 million residents. Investors on average saw a gross return of 18.5 percent over the past year.
Investors in the Atlanta market saw a 16.4 percent return over the past year, led by almost even gains in cash flow and appreciation.
6. Tampa, Fla.
Tampa Fla, probably best known for its football team, made the number six spot on our index, led by strong cash flow. Like its neighbor Atlanta, investors in Tampa saw a 16.4 percent return.
Detroit has had an interesting real-estate past, and it's still possible to buy real estate for less than the cost of a used car. However, Detroit is also clearly climbing its way out of the pit, emerging as number seven on the list for overall return for investors, sporting a cool 16.2 percent return.