…of discussion these days. The bust gets more discussion than the boom. Everyone was talking about the rising housing values two years ago. Housewives were talking about getting together to buy some property on speculation and sell before the project was even complete, making 100 percent profit on the down payment. Now, we are just getting back to reality, and the pundits think that because we have overhang from the boom the markets will crash. Well, I hate to say it, but they are right in some areas of the country. Rising housing markets cannot be maintained where there is a declining population. So, how do you hedge against a declining market? You move to where populations are growing. Places where populations are growing create more need for services, which is the lifeblood of our economy. So, if you are lost now, the place to turn is the federal government–not for food stamps but for information. It maintains some of the biggest databases on the planet. And when it’s not spying on your neighbor for spending too much time on the Internet, it’s compiling facts and figures. One of the easiest places to find this information is on the U.S. Census Bureau’s web site, both for last year and the time since the last census was conducted.

You may ask, “How does this help me?” and “Why is this on Renovate with Tommy Mac’s web site?” Well, it’s because we are a source for trends as well as information for the homeowner. And this helps you by pointing out areas where there is less likely to be a large housing price decline because there are people still moving into a metro area that will need some place to live and that will support a demand for housing. When demand exceeds supply, generally prices rise. That is not to say builders have not flooded some markets with too many homes exceeding the demand causing prices to fall. However, if demand is high this supply will decrease as builders would rather make more profit on fewer homes than less profit on a greater number as it is harder to manage and control.

So, where should you move? According to the charts, here are the places: Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C., Gainesville, Ga., Myrtle Beach, S.C., New Orleans, La., Palm Coast, Fla., St. George, Utah and Raleigh, N.C. To make it easier, I have only included the largest 350 metro areas in the U.S. and, while this is an over-simplification of the market, it does point to a trend in the population: It’s moving to the South.