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6 | Th e M Rep o RT mdwell To Be or Where Not to Be Where Should Mortgage originators Focus Their efforts? T he answer to this question can be found in data that explores the rate at which U.S cities add residents and lose them each year. Forbes and 24/7 Wall St. took the lead in discovering an answer to this question over the course of the past year by publishing articles on America's fastest-growing and shrinking cities. The MReport parsed through the data to spot relevant trends—such as the declining rust belt, the ongoing bull market in Texas real estate—and the Seattle miracle. In originators' search for the most stable and active markets, it never hurts to keep in mind that just as in real estate, in origina- tions, location is everything. Of course, there is a flip side to everything in real estate, and America certainly has areas where originators issuing loans run a higher risk of dealing with falling home prices, declining populations (which hurts resale values) and an overall negative vibe around business and the local population. 24/7 Wall St. released a report in the last year, documenting its list of rapidly shrinking cities. Without further ado, these are the fastest growing and shrinking real estate markets in the U.S.: HousTon-sugarland- BayToWn, TEXas 2014 projected population growth rate: 1.81% 2015 projected population growth rate: 1.74% Unemployment rate: 4.8% Median home price: approximately: $300,000 Of the three Texas cities dominating the fastest growing cities list by Forbes, Houston takes the lead thanks to a robust and growing energy sector. Add in a steady increase in population and relatively affordable home prices and Houston becomes the shining star of the Lone Star State. As Forbes points out, population growth is not difficult to achieve when your metro area runs on the oil and gas industry. For mortgage originators looking for hot spots for business, this Southwest city is definitely worth a glance. With its millionaire-set undaunted by the ap- pearance of success, the Houston area also offers breathtaking luxury real estate listings. FarmingTon, nEW mEXico Population shrunk 2.72% from 2010 to 2013 Unemployment: 6.4% Median home price: $199,000 Farmington, N.M., lost 7,000 people in a short two-year timeframe, 24/7 Wall St. reports. The area has a relatively stable unemployment rate, but consumers have less cash to burn with 24/7 Wall St. noting the per capital personal income hit $33,092 in 2012. There is some good news though, the same publication reports that recent oil investment activity is up and could hopefully lure more people in. ∂ ∂

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