Millionaire Real Estate Agents: The 6 US Housing Markets That Made Us Rich – Yahoo Finance

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Zephyr18 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Zephyr18 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Location, location, location” is a phrase often repeated in the real estate business, meaning that where you end up buying property is where you end up making money. Lots of places in the United States are known for having high-end real estate that’s worth more and more as time goes on, yet not every market across the country is equal. Some can provide a suitable return on investment and others can make you a millionaire.

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Who knows these markets best and where the next boom might be? GOBankingRates spoke to several millionaire real estate agents to find out which U.S. housing markets made them rich.

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The Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area has been a goldmine for real estate agents, particularly because of its tech-driven economic boom and limited housing supply, according to Tim Choate, the founder and CEO of RedAwning.

“The area’s combination of high demand and low inventory has consistently driven up property values,” Choate mentioned. “For instance, when I first ventured into property investments in the early 2000s, the market was just beginning to feel the impact of the tech sector’s explosive growth.”

Investing in properties near burgeoning homes for tech, such as Mountain View, Redwood City and Palo Alto paid off immensely for Choate, especially when companies like Google and Facebook expanded their campuses and workforces in those areas.

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Austin, Texas

“I first saw the potential in Austin about ten years ago,” said Noah Guthart, COO and founder of Panacrypto.

Guthart observed that the capital city of Texas was growing rapidly with a new tech boom that attracted a whole new wave of young professionals looking to spend their high salaries.

“Good timing was everything — getting into the market just when some major tech companies were making their way into the city,” agreed Ben Johnson, a real estate agent and the CEO of Big Ben, who continued by saying this “brought an inflow of highly paying jobs and caused demand for housing.

“I was able to capitalize on huge appreciation by buying properties in up-and-coming neighborhoods before the tech boom,” Johnson said. “For example, properties bought for around $300,000 in the early 2010s now go for over $700,000. The flourishing job market, great culture, and absolute affordability compared to other tech havens were making Austin a hotspot for real estate investments.”

“I invested in several properties in the downtown area,” Guthart explained. “One property I bought for $300,000 in 2013 is now worth over $800,000. The combination of tech growth, a vibrant cultural scene, and a relatively low cost of living made Austin a perfect storm for real estate investment.

“I remember a client who was hesitant to buy a property in the emerging East Austin neighborhood,” Guthart said. “I encouraged them to take the leap, and within five years, their property value had doubled. This kind of return is what makes markets like Austin so lucrative.”

Charlotte, North Carolina

Seeing that Charlotte was blowing up as a new financial center, combined with a unique blend of political climates and local businesses, Johnson decided to invest in both residential and commercial properties. And it paid off big time.

“The city’s population continued to grow, and the cost of living was relatively affordable, offering pretty good options for buyers and renters,” Johnson said.

Johnson recounted one memorable deal involving “…a downtown condo bought for $250,000 and later sold three years down the road for $400,000, all because of the great increase in professionals moving to the region and corporations relocating there. This made Charlotte a good market due to the strategic location and ongoing urban development.”


“Miami has been another goldmine for me,” Guthart said, highlighting the city’s international appeal matched by a status as a hub of finance, culture and fun.

Guthart stated that Miami has consistently driven property values up.

“In particular, I’ve had great success with luxury condos in neighborhoods like Brickell and South Beach.

“I once sold a condo in Brickell for $1.2 million, which was bought just three years earlier for $700,000,” Guthart said. “The timing was perfect as Miami’s luxury market was booming due to an influx of foreign investors, particularly from Latin America. I believe Miami’s appeal will continue to grow, making it a long-term investment hotspot.

“One of my most memorable experiences was purchasing a beachfront property in Miami in 2015,” Guthart said. “I bought it for $2 million, and after some strategic renovations and marketing, I sold it for $3.5 million just two years later. The location, combined with Miami’s growing desirability, made this a highly profitable venture.”


It’s not just location, but timing that can truly add to the value of buying property in an area where it might look bust instead of boom. That was the case for Johnson in Phoenix.

“…my timing coincided with post-recession recovery in the early years of the decade. The market was recovering, and prices were therefore still low,” Johnson said.

“I bought; this had enabled me to invest in foreclosed properties and distressed sales at below-market prices,” Johnson said. “As the economy recovered and population grew, so did the value of the properties skyrocket.”

Johnson noted that a foreclosure home at $150,000 was sold at $300,000 within five years in Phoenix, a prime example of how the city is bouncing back as a real estate powerhouse.

“The warmer climate of Phoenix added to the attractiveness, with lower living expenses and an improved economic base,” Johnson added.

Nashville, Tennessee

Its music scene and southern charm are the city’s reputation to stand on, but Nashville has also experienced a real estate renaissance in recent years, in Choate’s professional opinion.

“I recall a period around 2015 when Nashville’s real estate market was just beginning to attract national attention,” Choate said. “We saw an opportunity in its downtown area, where historical homes and new developments were coexisting beautifully.

“By investing early in vacation rental properties there, RedAwning managed to ride the wave of Nashville’s tourism boom, leading to significant returns on investment,” Choate said. “The blend of cultural appeal and strategic urban development made Nashville a standout market for us.”

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