Consider your particular area in terms of how well it will hold value. Areas where growth is inherently limited-oceanfront property, for instance, or even towns with strong "no growth" lobby groups-have healthy underpinnings. But sprawling suburbs, says Richard Roll, president of the American Homeowners Association, might not be so rock-solid in their pricing. "The suburbs of major cities are the most vulnerable, and the reason is that they have the largest preponderance of middle management-type workers," he says. "And those numbers have been contracting because of layoffs."
Demographics is also key-and for that reason, avoid both Oprah-level manses and marginal urban areas, say Roll. Downsizing baby boomers won't be retiring to high-crime locales, which aren't likely to improve as cities face budget crunches and cut back on enforcement dollars. "Instead, you should look to small towns with good infrastructure," says Roll. "They have been a good place to invest for a long time and will prove to be extremely attractive to boomer retirees."
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