The US economy is in its fifth year of recovery and the housing market has now seen three years of growth from its lows of 2009. At a national level, as of April 2015 prices were up 31.2% from their 2009 trough, and stand within 12.9% of their 2006 high. The prime markets of cities such as San Francisco and New York have already exceeded their former peaks.
The US residential market is among the world’s largest. Some 5.49m properties changed hands in the year to June 2015, (a figure down by 24% on 2005 numbers). The market is largely domestic but foreign buyers are present in key locations. According to the National Association of Realtors, international buyers make up 7% of the market in dollar terms (an increase of 35% over 2013 levels). These are evenly split between resident and non-resident foreigners. The Chinese are the largest group of foreign purchasers in dollar terms, at 24%, up from 19% in 2013. Canadians are top by sales number with those from Mexico, India and the UK rounding off the top five.
US cities have been undergoing a renaissance in the last few decades, a trend accelerated by the rise of new technologies and creative classes attracted to vibrant urban environments. Cities actively provide the human experiences and interactions that allow for the inception, nurturing, funding and development of new ideas and products.
New York and San Francisco, both with large and growing tech sectors, have seen their markets moved by this trend. Existing run-down neighbourhoods and districts have been colonised by artists and tech entrepreneurs and reinvigorated. Established neighbourhoods have also benefited and values have been pushed to new highs.