You may have heard that prices are holding up pretty well in New York City, L.A., and Miami. That's true for the cities themselves (leaving aside Miami's overbuilt condo market). But things aren't so great in the exurbs--those outer suburbs where people tend to move in search of affordable housing.

During the boom in housing, prices rose at the same rapid clip in the cities, the suburbs, and the exurbs of the three metro areas, according to an analysis by economist Andrew Leventis of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. But since then, the exurbs have barely gone up in price, while the cities themselves are still showing healthy appreciation, he says.

Why? Hard to say. The exurbs are doing about as well as the center cities in other big metro areas, Leventis notes. New York, L.A., and Miami differ from the others in that they are expensive (as measured by price-to-income ratios) and have costly exurbs (as measured by the cost of exurban housing in relation to city housing).

But Leventis admits that he doesn't have a fully developed theory for the differences. "It’s merely an association right now. It’s not something we can fully explain."

Read his analysis starting on page 8 of the report here.

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