Some of them are entertaining, some are interesting. Some are just freaking ridiculous.
And then, sometimes, there are lists that if you look at them just right, make a lot of sense. Last week, I came across one like that from Forbes magazine called “Best Big Cities for Jobs.”
Forbes looked at current and projected job growth in the country’s 65 biggest metro areas to come up with the top 10, and the names were pretty familiar.
So familiar, in fact, that I started looking for other numbers from those places and found out something pretty cool – stuff like job growth usually ties in with real estate.
And when you’re trying to look at growth potential, one of the better numbers is pending sales – deals for existing houses where a contract has been signed but the transaction hasn’t been completed. It’s been estimated that pending sales predict final sales about two months into the future.
The National Association of Realtors tracks pending sales and reports national numbers every month in the Pending Home Sales Index. So here comes the interesting stuff: Take a look at these pending-sales numbers for some of the places on Forbes’ job-growth list.
Dallas and Fort Worth were on there separately. And where are pending home sales headed in DFW? Up 7 percent in the last 12 months.
In Nashville, pending sales increased by 15 percent from March 2011 to March 2012.
In Austin, which was No. 1 on Forbes’ list, pending sales were up by 16 percent. Raleigh? Up 17 percent.
And in Salt Lake City, they were up by 22 percent.
Sounds like a pretty good predictor to me. When it comes to the economy – any part of the economy – you need to pay attention to real estate. The lists don’t lie.