The New American Settler

7-09-12

 

If there’s one thing that’s unmistakable and ingrained about being an American, it’s a certain amount of wanderlust. Most of our ancestors who chose to come to this country did it in search of a better life in a new place. We come to find our own place, to settle and raise a family on our own land. Like seeds, there are some that stay close to their origin, to nurture the same place. But there are others who catch the wind to spread out, taking root in new places.

So as a consequence, Americans take to the highways, seeking new lives in new places across our country. No matter where the economic indicators may be, there will always be people on the move.

In fact, a poor economy may have a heavy impact upon housing shifts. Foreclosures and short sales can artificially deflate a market’s practical housing value. And since these factors are often tied to high unemployment, there might be a perception that a particular market wouldn’t necessarily be a market that might be a market poised for growth. But that’s not always the truth.

New housing starts showed year-over-year growth in the Northeast (+19%), Midwest (+32.3%), West (+13.3%) and particularly in the South (+38.5%). Meanwhile, new housing completions were flat in the Midwest, up slightly in the Northeast (+4.5%), and up a healthy 18.4% in the South. But it’s out west, where land is available and housing necessary, that it’s showing the most increase at 54.4% vs 2011.

But what are the markets that have a strong housing story to tell? Well, it depends upon what you’re looking for. If you’re looking at markets with surprising job growth, you might look into Nashville, San Antonio, or Raleigh. In fact, Raleigh is the fastest growing US city, according to the Census Bureau. Looking for places to bargain for a home? Try Rockford, Illinois, Cleveland, or Sarasota. Business Insider calls out markets like Austin, TX (with a “ton” of new jobs, and the next big boom town, according to Forbes), Portland, OR (called the #1 “green” city by Mother Nature Network), and Pittsburgh (the next hipster haven).

And that’s just a handful of booming housing markets that are ready for the spotlight.

The connective tissue among all of these destination markets are that these are flesh-and-blood consumers making these moves. These are consumers that will make frequent trips to their new local big-box home improvement center. They’re people who will need new homeowners’ insurance. They will probably need a landscaping service, maybe a pest control contract, and perhaps a few throw pillows and some other things to make their new home “new”.

Advertisers who dwell in these spaces shouldn’t forget that there are always new eyes watching your message in these local markets. And that there are three main ways people use to learn about their new neighborhoods – driving around, asking around, and watching local broadcast television. Local news and the local station websites, and the ads that run there, are all very effective ways for people to understand where they live. Local television is really the first “influencer” that people encounter in their new lives. Before people make new friends, they have TV to welcome them to their new home.


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