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10 cities where people made returns of 50% or more selling their homes

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 9/8/2017 Quentin Fottrell

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These home sellers made six-figure profits selling their homes after less than a decade.

Sometimes it pays to resist the flip.

Some Americans who bought their home between seven and nine years ago have made up to $235,000 over that time selling their home, or $34,000 per year, making a final return on their investment of 78%. That’s the median amount of money home sellers made after 7 years, 3 months in Oakland, Calif., an analysis of sale prices by real-estate site Zillow found. In Portland, Maine, sellers last year sold for $145,000 more than what they paid 9 years earlier, a 65% gain. San Jose, Calif. was third on the list (with a gain of 56.5% or $271,150 over 9 years, 8 months).

“Nationally, it’s financially advantageous to buy a home rather than rent if you plan on living in it for at least two years and one month, but staying much longer than that has really paid off,” the report found. U.S. homeowners who lived in their home for about 7.5 years gained almost $40,000 on the sale of their home — 24% more than what they initially paid. “Every city on this list has been growing extremely fast over the past decade, with the majority passing peak home value hit during the housing bubble,” said Zillow chief economist. Svenja Gudell.

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Among all these cities, all had returns of over 50% over the last decade. “Low inventory and strong demand are driving up home values in these markets, making it difficult for aspiring buyers to find a home, but providing a good opportunity for homeowners looking to sell,” Gudell said. Over the last decade, homeowners cashed out at record levels, including Denver (a 56% return or $119,500), Los Angeles (54% or $200,000), Sacramento (54% or $82,500), Seattle (53% or $185,000), Philadelphia (52% or $40,225), New Orleans (51.5% or $81,000) and Boston (50% or $182,500).

Of course, not everyone sitting on a pot of equity wants to sell. “The housing market recovery has sent home values roaring higher in the past several years, especially in West Coast cities,” Guddell said. “Despite the opportunity to cash in on record-high home values, some homeowners choose not to sell because they don’t want to become buyers in a competitive market.” Personal-finance columnist and author Dave Ramsey advises cashing out if you can afford to buy a home that fits your lifestyle better, and have factored in the cost of buying and selling.

And if you don’t have equity that allows you to move? Ramsey advises: “Don’t sell unless you have to in order to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure.”

Related gallery: States with the highest home seller profits (provided by

Making Money on Your Home Sale: If you've been thinking about selling your home, we've got some good news for you. According to <a href=""></a>, home sellers saw an average price gain of $51,000 in Q2 of 2017. That's a 26% average return on the previous purchase price. Most homeowners who sold during Q2 this year had owned their home an average of eight years, and while it's a great time to sell your home right now, that also means homebuyers are looking at steep competition in today's seller's market. Find out the average home seller profits for your state in Q2 this year. 42 States with the Highest Home Seller Profits

Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch's personal-finance editor and The Moneyologist columnist for MarketWatch. You can follow him on Twitter @quantanamo.


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