10 Fastest Growing Real Estate Markets in the U.S.

With real estate markets constantly fluctuating it can be difficult to determine which areas will offer the greatest return for your investment. If you are looking for the best area to buy your next investment property, then make sure you consider the following cities. They comprise the 10 fastest growing real estate markets in the United States.

1. McAllen, Texas
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 4%
• One Year Price Change: 2.1%
• Median Home Price: $109,000
McAllen is located in the southern tip of Texas and is the 20th most populous city in the state. McAllen is located in the Rio Grand Valley, and boasts a successful economy that is helped by the large amount of international trade they conduct with Mexico.

2. Rochester, New York
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 2.7%
• One Year Price Change: 3.4%
• Median Home Price: $121,000
Rochester is located in Monroe county, which is just south of Lake Ontario. Rochester is known for medical technological development, and as being a key player in the education and research sectors.

3. Birmingham, Alabama
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 2.7%
• One Year Price Change: 2.9%
• Median Home Price: $156,000
Founded in 1871, Birmingham is the biggest city in Alabama, and is a key player in the manufacturing and railroad industries. Its southern location provides residents with mild winters and sultry summers that are perfect for enjoying the great outdoors.

4. Syracuse, New York
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 2.6%
• One Year Price Change: 0.8%
• Median Home Price: $126,000
Syracuse is located in the county of Onondoga, and is the 5th most populous city in the state. Syracuse is the home of Upstate Medical University and Hospital, which place it as a major contender in the education and healthcare industries.

5. Buffalo, New York
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 2.4%
• One Year Price Change: 1.6%
• Median Home Price: $105,000
Buffalo is located in the eastern section of New York near Lake Erie, and at the head of Niagra River. The economy in Buffalo remains strong, due in part to its contribution to the healthcare and education industries. Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state, and is home to 3 different state universities.

6. New Orleans, Louisanna
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 2.2%
• One year Price Change: 1%
• Median Home Price: $158,000
New Orleans is located in the southeastern section of Louisiana, on the Mississippi River. New Orleans is known for its broad offering of music, food and culture, and is the birthplace of Mardi Gras.

7. Scranton, Pennsylvania
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 2.2%
• One Year Price Change: 7.2%
• Median Home Price: $128,000
Scranton is located in the northeastern section of Pennsylvania, and is the sixth most populous city in the state. Scranton is a city full of history, and its array of attractions include museums and art galleries, which make it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.

8. Grand Rapids, Michigan
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 1.9%
• One Year Price Change: -3%
• Median Home Price: $124,000
Grand Rapids is located in the county of Kent, and is on the Grand River. The city boasts a strong economy, and is home to five different furniture factories, which place it as a major contender in the manufacturing industry.

9. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 1.9%
• One Year Price Change: 5.7%
• Median Home Price: $170,000
Baton rouge is the capitol state of Louisiana and is located in the Baton Rouge Parish area. Baton rouge is a major player in petrochemical and medical research industries, and is home to 6 major colleges and universities.

10. El Paso, Texas
• 12 Month Growth Rate Forecast: 1.8%
• One Year Price Change: 6.9%
• Median Home Price: $134,000
El Paso is located in the far western section of Texas, and is the nineteenth most populous city in the state. Its close proximity to the Mexico border make El Paso a major player in the international trade industry. This combined with the presence of 2 major universities help give the city stable economic growth.

The Benefits of Getting a Home Loan from a Credit Union

Borrowers searching for competitive home mortgages must consider the advantages of applying for a loan through a credit union before considering any other alternative options. It is very common for borrowers to overlook credit unions when searching for mortgage loan products because credit unions are non-profit banking establishments that do not have the budget to advertise their mortgage loan products to the public. Just because credit union home loan products are not publicly advertised does not mean that they are not a good choice for potential borrowers to consider. Here are some of the many benefits borrowers may have never knew about qualifying for a home loan from a credit union.

Understanding What a Credit Union Is

While most consumers know there are differences between banking institutions and credit unions, many are not aware the major differences. Understanding these differences will help consumers understand how credit unions offer some of the best loan packages available in various lending industries. These member-owned, non-profit financial cooperatives provide financial services to members, who are generally linked by a common bond like organization or place of employment. Rather than being owned by stockholders and/or investors, a credit union is owned by the members. These establishments pool together the deposits of the members to finance their loans instead of seeking outside capital where the loans are funded externally.

The Many Advantages of Getting a Home Loan from a Credit Union

* Non-Profit Translates Into Lower Interest

A non-profit establishment is not required to pay the taxes that traditional lenders do because they are not earning profits. Because the establishment is not obligated to pay taxes to the state or the Federal government, they have a unique advantage and can generally offer lower interest rate on home loan mortgages. Because the interest rates are typically lower when financing through a credit union, borrowers can lower their monthly mortgage payments.

* Account Holders Have a Say

Because members of a credit union are part owners of the institution, they have the right to vote on important issues and matters that may affect the terms of loans or other aspects of operations. Borrowers, who are also owners of the credit union, are typically treated better by a credit union than borrowers of a traditional lender.

* Credit Unions Do Not Sell Loans to Investors

You need to understand how traditional lenders handle loans after they are funded before you can understand the benefit of credit unions keeping their loans once they have been written. A traditional lender will pool hundreds of loans together into a package that is sold to investors in the secondary market. To attract a specific set of investors, the lenders must write loans that investors will want to purchase. A credit union will typically keep most of the mortgage loans that they write in their own investment portfolios. This means that these credit unions do not have to worry about setting a strict set of regulations into their loan underwriting that the investors in the secondary market will approve of.

* Lower Income Requirements

Credit unions set their own income requirements, and typically approve borrowers with lower incomes than traditional lenders. This means that individuals who have had difficulty qualifying for a mortgage because their gross income is not sufficient may have more success applying as a member of a credit union.

For borrowers who are looking for a competitive 30-year fixed rate or adjustable rate loan, getting a loan through a credit union may be the best option. Each borrower should review the rates, the initial origination costs of the loan, and the terms to determine which package is best.

What to Look for When Shopping for Credit Unions

According to the World Council of Credit Unions, there are more than 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries that serve more than 196,000,000 members and owners. Obviously, with so many different institutions located throughout the world, choosing just one credit union can be a daunting and time consuming task when consumers are not sure what to look for in a particular institution. Luckily, by reading below, consumers can review a comprehensive list of factors that must be considered before choosing a credit union.

A Long List of Factors for Consumers to Consider

* Membership Requirements

More than 80 million Americans are members of credit unions located in the United States. Based on this statistic, it is easy to see that qualifying to be a member is not extremely difficult in today’s modern society. The first factor any consumer should consider is whether or not they can qualify to hold a checking account with the credit union. While qualifying to become a member is not extremely difficult, credit unions rarely advertise. This means that consumers must do the leg work to find out what the membership requirements are for credit unions in their area.

Some of the common field of membership requirements for credit unions include:

* Employer affiliation
* Community-based available to residents in specific cities and towns
* Church affiliation
* School affiliation
* Employee group

While there are a number of ways to qualify, about 25% of members qualify for community-based field of membership requirements when they reside in large cities. To find a credit union that will accept your application for membership, consumers should call their state league, ask their employer, ask their church, or even ask family members if they can be sponsored. Once consumers have a list of different credit unions they can apply to, they can qualify the institutions based on other important factors.

* Convenience and Location

Once consumers have a list of different credit unions that they can apply to, it is important to narrow down the list. One of the first factors to consider is convenience. Considering how close the branches are to home, work, or school is a great way to avoid having to make a long trip just to make a deposit or speak with a loan specialist. It is also wise to find out where network ATMs are located so that members can avoid paying ATM fees to make a withdraw.

The institution’s hours of operation is also important. While some credit unions are only open from 9 to 5 on weekdays, others have later weekday hours or are open on the weekends.

* Products and Services Available

Not all credit unions offer the same products and services. While all credit unions do offer checking and savings accounts, only some will extend home loans, auto loans, or student loans to members. Consumers must consider what financial services they will be using and only keep the branches that offer these services on their list. Choosing a credit union with a large menu of services is ideal for consumers who are considering their current and their future needs.

* Cost of Doing Business

What types of fees with the credit union charge? ATM fees, monthly fees, bounce-check fees, check printing fees, and balance transfer fees will all vary from credit union to credit union.

* Is it Federally Insured?

All credit unions should offer U.S. Government insured accounts up to $250,000.

* Competitive Interest Rates

Consumers should always check interest rates for mortgages, student loans, lines of credit, and auto loans to see how competitive an institution is compared to another.

* Member of the NCUA

Look for the National Credit Union Administration logo. This logo shows that the credit union is a member of the NCUA and has an insurance fund to guarantee deposits.

There are plenty of different factors consumers must consider before applying for a credit union. Not only with the consumer become a member, they will also become a part owner and have a say in decisions that may affect them in the future.

Online Credit Unions

How to Here are a few things consumers should look for and compare when selecting an online credit union:

  1. Online statements
  2. Mobile banking and mobile check deposits with high limits (somewhat rare actually)
  3. Phone banking
  4. Bill pay services
  5. Nearby branches / ATM’s for easy access to cash/deposits
  6. Low cost fees including overdraft, wire, minimum monthly balances, and other miscellaneous charges
  7. Other loan and deposit products that can be managed and paid for online (e.g. money market, CD’s, share accounts, credit cards, secured credit cards, credit building programs, HSA’s, IDA’s, 529, Koegh,  etc…)
  8. Business account services, such as business checking accounts
  9. Online courses and programs such as financial counseling, education, and literacy workshops.
  10. Most are also going to let you apply and open the account online, but not in all cases.


Source: An analysis of federally regulated credit union data.