With rising home prices, some markets have lost affordability, but a robust economy promises to help housing thrive in many areas of the country.
Realtor.com® and The Wall Street Journal identified the top markets with growing economies and booming housing markets in their brand-new joint Emerging Housing Markets Index. The index evaluates the nation’s 300 largest metros to identify the areas with strong housing demand, rising home prices, and strengthening economies, including jobs, restaurants, and retail.
“The areas that top our emerging housing markets list are places that have weathered the pandemic relatively well,” said Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Their economies are generally doing better than other markets, and they’re attracting a lot of home shoppers from other areas—likely, in part, due to the relatively widespread work-from-home flexibility in response to the pandemic.”
The markets in the top 10 emerging housing markets list are not cheap. Median list prices have appreciated 27%, on average, in the past year in these markets compared to 14% nationwide, realtor.com® notes. In the 300 metros analyzed, home prices averaged $519,100—about 42% higher than the $366,100 median price for the national market. But researchers said these markets command higher prices because buyers there can afford them. Unemployment is lower and wages tend to be higher in these metros.
“By design, these are great places to live,” Hale said. “Many of these areas are smaller, and they all boast great nearby activities—places for hiking, boating, and enjoying the outdoors. Housing trends in these markets have fundamentals that should mean buying a home is a good investment.”
The following are the top emerging real estate markets of 2021, according to the index:
- Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: $799,000 (average home price)
- Austin, Texas: $520,000
- Springfield, Ohio: $144,900
- Billings, Mont.: $428,500
- Spokane, Wash.: $434,900
- Lafayette, Ind.: $297,450
- Reno, Nev.: $562,000
- Concord, N.H.: $362,450
- Manchester, N.H.: $419,950
- Santa Cruz, Calif.: $1.22 million