Hottest Housing Markets

Hottest Housing Markets 2021

We know there’s big changes in America’s real estate markets because house prices are up and sales are up in strange places.

Years pass and new cities begin to thrive, grow and create new living opportunities. Which might you choose for your new retirement or work at home life? Could it be Naples Florida depicted in the photo above, or Hilo Hawaii, or Davenport Iowa?

According to NAR, In July, 15 metro areas saw big home price rises including: Huntsville, Ala. (13.5%); Memphis, Tenn. (13.4%); Boise, Idaho (12.6%); Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash. (11.8%), Indianapolis, Ind. (10.8%), and Phoenix, Ariz. (10.2%).  But real estate prices don’t always tell us what we need to know.

The Big Migration is On

Americans are leaving the big cities and looking to relocate where it’s less expensive, safer and with better availability of jobs and housing. The work at home revolution, tax avoidance, and pandemic fears are driving the migration to new cities.

It’s a pretty exciting time. Change creates opportunity.  Your Covid crisis may turn out to be a key turning point in your life opening you up to good fortune in one of these amazing cities below. Still, you’ll want to be careful and choose your destination after much research. If you’re paying $4000 a month for a place in San Francisco or Manhattan, then this could be a great move for you.

Go ahead, look for houses for sale via Zillow, or check out all the hottest cities below.

Is it the Right Time for You to Make the Change?

Is it the right time to move to a new city? Do you have the funds to cross that bridge? Do you have your own business or work for an employer that is letting you relocate? If you work for Facebook, you might face some issues from Mark Zuckerberg who says you must earn less from him.

I think Facebook’s stock price tells you his company isn’t in dire straights. Good luck if you’re a FB employee. And enjoy not having that horrible commute or Bay Area rent prices.

Thriving in a New City

Some will thrive when they change locations. They may get a great job, or reduce their rent or cost of living dramatically. It’s like getting a big raise. But be careful. If you’re in California or New York, your employer might be in for a rough ride, perhaps staring at bankruptcy, which means you may not have a job.

But if you’re skilled, connected and active, you may find another position with a more stable company benefiting from current economic trends. If the economy recovers, the opportunity to move and thrive in one of these hot, desirable cities is worth a good look.

Does it have the culture, amenities, and sustainable economy you wish for? You should be certain, because when the pandemic ends, there will another round of changes. Will people move back to the cities?

Businesses need cheap labor and a lot of them are discovering that work at home can save them a lot of money. This fact supersedes the need to have employees crammed into an small downtown office.

There’s no doubt some will move back into San Francisco and Manhattan if the pandemic eases, but they’ll be faced with fast rising rents, limited houses for sale, and housing prices.

As long as housing supply is thwarted by the NIMBYs, the market will never change. New construction will disappear from urban areas.

The November Election was the Key Issue

Now in retrospect, the Republican President lost that election to a hapless, fumbling candidate. And this is what I said several years ago:

A Biden win likely means a recession, higher taxes, more housing regulation, amidst the flight from Covid infected urban regions. If he opens the borders as they suggest, then China imports would pour in again, thus killing jobs in the states that are doing well now.

So unless we know the election outcome, we really can’t be sure which cities will continue growing (we’re still not sure now in 2021).  California and New York are in a serious financial crisis, both democrat states. With out of site debt, businesses vacating, and no end to the Covid 19 threat, it’s hard to pick any communities in these states as “hot” or desirable. They are definitely in dark cloud territory.

However, you may feel different about where they’ll be in 2021 and beyond.

Hot Cities Reflect Economic and Social Trends

Why does the fastest growing housing markets have relevance? It has to do with where buyers are moving to, where new construction is taking place or where homes are being modified to accommodate more residents.

And when housing sales rise in these cities, it accelerates the economic recovery. And in the post pandemic era, the need for economic activity is pronounced.

If you’re a worker researching the best cities to buy or rent in, knowing which cities truly have a future is important. And if you’re a Realtor considering moving to the cities where sales are growing, it’s important too.

In the last housing market report, NAR cited some cities with growth trends including Las Vegas, Seattle, San Jose, Denver and Los Angeles. Many of them are enjoying new residents from California and New York. But don’t feel sorry for New York and California real estate agents just yet. Properties still have to be sold when people move. The price may drop (but not often) but sales still happen and commissions get earned.

NAR Market Hotness Index

The National Association of Realtors actually publishes a list of the hottest cities in the US. They measure market hotness in a number of different ways:

  • nielsen hh rank
  • NAR hotness rank
  • month to month
  • year to year
  • supply score
  • demand score
  • median days on market
  • page views per property
  • median listing price growth month to month
  • median listing price growth year over year

Depending on what’s important to you, you can process their data to rank cities according to listing price growth, page views per listing, days on market, or demand score.

If you rank the hottest cities based solely on price, you’ll get a much different picture. The fastest rising home prices might not help you decide whether it’s the city for you.

NAR’s hotness score or rank might be the score some would choose, because it’s an overall rating of a city.  Perhaps if you use several ranking criteria and prioritize them as you like, you’ll come to a better conclusion about which city you should move to.

NAR’s Hottest City Index

City Nielsen Hotness Rank NAR Hotness Rank Hotness Rank Change last 12 months NAR Demand Score NAR Median DOM Change in Page Views per Property NAR Median Listing Price
Springfield, il 198 300 -172 0.67 398.5 0.1 $154,250
Houma-thibodaux, la 218 300 -3 0.33 105.5 0.2 $206,850
Naples-immokalee-marco island, fl 137 300 0 2.34 122.5 0.2 $467,050
Albany, ga 279 300 -15 0.67 129.5 0.5  $117,950
Dothan, al 269 300 -3 0.67 104.5 0.1  $164,950
Brownsville-harlingen, tx 158 300 -10 4.68 130.5 0.2  $219,050
Rocky mount, nc 274 300 3.01 115.5  $119,950
Florence-muscle shoals, al 263 299 -27 2.68 124 0.0  $178,578
Lynchburg, va 175 299 -72 4.35 144 -0.4  $137,950
Ocala, fl 144 298 -82 5.02 151.5 0.0  $210,050
Pittsfield, ma 294 298 -2 12.04 140 0.1  $409,500
Champaign-urbana, il 187 298 -5 4.35 116 0.2  $174,950
Lafayette, la 107 298 -7 6.02 101.5 0.2  $217,171
Lynchburg, va 175 298 -56 4.01 122 -0.3  $149,950
Columbus, ga-al 161 298 1.34 95.5  $161,325
Greenville, nc 231 298 1.00 111  $125,000
Hilo, hi 226 298 5.35 116.5  $499,050
Davenport-moline-rock island, ia-il 125 297 -232 5.69 392.5 0.1  $166,750
Lake charles, la 213 297 -2 0.00 85.5 -0.3  $219,550
Charlottesville, va 197 297 -2 7.36 116 0.2  $449,050
Mcallen-edinburg-mission, tx 90 297 -10 5.69 93 0.0  $197,335
Champaign-urbana, il 187 297 -16 6.35 114 0.0  $171,435
El paso, tx 75 297 -5 2.01 89 0.4  $172,400
Decatur, al 266 297 -5 3.34 108 0.9  $175,050
charlottesville, va 197 297 5.02 137.5  $377,050
Salisbury, md-de 126 297 6.69 146  $289,950
Hilton head island-bluffton-beaufort, sc 206 296 -19 9.70 105 -0.1  $429,050
Davenport-moline-rock island, ia-il 125 296 -197 12.71 203 -0.3  $149,950
Cape coral-fort myers, fl 73 296 -10 9.36 96 0.0  $299,950
Macon, ga 199 296 -50 0.33 81 -0.4  $124,995
Montgomery, al 145 296 -9 1.00 112.5 0.1  $175,050
Columbus, ga-al 161 296 -8 2.01 96 0.5  $160,050
Salisbury, md-de 126 296 7.69 156  $289,950
Jacksonville, nc 239 296 0.67 121  $161,550
Kahului-wailuku-lahaina, hi 276 296 8.70 132.5  $775,050
Miami-fort lauderdale-west palm beach, fl 8 295 -3 7.02 119.5 0.7  $403,826


Good luck with your decision on moving to one of these amazing cities, and others that might be right for you.  Oh, and check out this list of cheapest housing markets, in case you just need to save money.  See more on the US Housing market forecast.

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Gord Collins is a researcher/writer/SEO/Content Strategist for progressive companies in Fintech, Realtech, and Proptech. Drawing from the latest data from NAR, CAR, TRREB, Florida Realtors, Tradingview, NARPM, Barchart, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, NASDAQ, Goldman & Sachs, TradingEconomics, Census.org, Reuters, Bloomberg, and other original market data sources. Gord's predictions on markets span short term outlooks to 3 and 6 month forecasts to 5 to 10 long term projections. Enjoy these stock market forecastreports as part of your own in depth market research before investing in real estate, stocks, and businesses.

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