The Housing Market's Uneven Recovery: Ritholtz Chart

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg View columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He blogs at the Big Picture and is the author of “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy.”
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I love these two charts. They really invite a closer study into why the housing markets in some cities have recovered so well and others have failed to.

The first four cities in the top chart are Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami and Tampa. These cities saw huge booms in their housing markets but without a proportional increase in other parts of their economies, especially in terms of job creation, that would allow people to pay the cheap mortgages supporting those elevated housing prices.

On the other end of the scale are Dallas, Denver and Boston. Texas is a special case, its state constitution doesn't allow cash-out refinancing beyond a certain amount (more on this in the coming days). Denver seems to be enjoying a marijuana-related renaissance. Boston is both a technology corridor -- for biotech, software, robotics -- and a college town -- home to Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University and others.

The second chart has some noteworthy elements, as well. The weakest recovery is in the New York metro area. Sales of nine-figure Manhattan penthouses and waterfront mansions in the Hamptons are making eye-grabbing headlines but they're offset by the rest of the area, which is only doing so-so.

San Francisco, at the other end of the chart, is undergoing a huge venture capital and technology boom. It's not quite the silliness of 1999, but lots of capital is begging to be put to work in Silicon Valley. That gets reflected in real estate prices.

Also of note is Las Vegas, which, while it remains the furthest from its pre-collapse high, has bounced back at the second-highest rate. It just shows you how far the area fell when the credit bubble popped.

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Barry L Ritholtz at