Big-city amenities, small-town charm: The up-and-coming mid-sized metros seeing supercharged housing market growth
-- Boise, Idaho, Huntsville, Ala., and Ogden, Utah, top Zillow's list as the top mid-sized metros to watch.
-- This analysis heavily weighted home value and forecasted value growth, how quickly a home sells, the share of homes that sell above list price, and monthly sale counts.
-- These mid-sized metros offer more bang for the buck than many big cities, as people rethink how -- and where -- they want to live in the new COVID-era normal.
SEATTLE -- This year has been anything but normal and, like 2020 as a whole, this summer's most in-demand housing markets are not the usual suspects.
A new Zillow® analysis shows mid-sized1 cities like Boise, Syracuse, and Portland (ME) are now leading the country as the top markets poised for growth, replacing expensive coastal metros such as San Francisco and Seattle that have led the way in the past. Many of these markets also happen to offer home shoppers more space for their money, as the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped where and how people want to live.
The analysis weighs a variety of factors to show demand in the market, and continued opportunity for growth. Those include recent and forecasted home value growth, the share of homes sold above list price, and how quickly homes sell.
Home shopper behavior continues to evolve throughout the pandemic, but many are reconsidering their home's functionality or dreaming of more space -- factors which might drive their next move. A recent Zillow survey2 found nearly one-third of Americans who could occasionally work remotely said they would consider moving in order to live in a larger home (30%), have a home with more rooms (29%), and have a home with a dedicated office space (31%).
As remote work opens up more opportunities for home ownership, many first-time buyers may seek out a starter home in a more affordable area. These are the top dozen mid-sized metros that offer more space for growing families and big-city amenities for urbanites.
1. Boise, Idaho
Population: 616,5613; typical home value: $334,965
Boise, Idaho, is an up-and-coming city drawing young professionals, families, and retirees alike. Home values are strong and continue to rise, increasing 11.8% from last year, and are expected to grow 5.6% into next year. Buyers are snatching up houses in record time here, with the typical home going under contract in as little as five days.
"Boise offers that small-town feel people crave from the movies, and has something for everyone," says Michael Edgar, owner of Michael Ryan Real Estate, who relocated to Boise in 2003 from California. "There's an abundance of outdoor activities right outside your doorstep, plenty of restaurants to choose from, and not a lack of career opportunities. Its affordability makes it a great place to raise kids, retire, or work remotely."
Boise, which was an under-the-radar hot market last year, offers both a bustling downtown, with quiet neighborhoods and access to outdoor recreation.
2. Huntsville, Ala.
Population: 417,593; typical home value: $203,242
Huntsville, known as Rocket City, is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Home values have also skyrocketed, increasing 11.5% compared to last year, and home values are forecasted to increase 5% over the next year.
3. Ogden, Utah
Population: 597,159; typical home value: $344,816
Ogden offers the benefits of urban life with easy access to the outdoors. The demand in this market is strong, with 41.5% of homes selling above list price -- helping sellers who want to trade up and signaling there are buyers eager to settle in Ogden. Zillow is forecasting home values in Ogden will increase 4.6% in the next year, showing the demand for this market is here to stay.
4. Spokane, Wash.
Population: 527,753; typical home value: $293,655
Spokane has seen accelerating home value growth, increasing 9.5% from a year prior. The Spokane market is hot for sellers, with 45.1% of homes selling above list price. Competition for homes here may be attributed, in part, to the metro's vibrant downtown, trail system and growing microbrewery and winery scene.
5. York, Pa.
Population: 434,972; typical home value: $195,837
York is the oldest city on this list, dating back to 1777 as the first U.S. capital. Today, York has a suburban feel mixed with its history, and sales of these architecturally unique homes do not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Home sales increased a whopping 75.7% from the previous month, and are 17.7% above last year's levels.
6. Colorado Springs, Colo.
Population: 645,613; typical home value: $336,927
Colorado Springs' hot housing market bumps it up the list, with home values sharply increasing and poised to continue strong growth. Home values have seen a 9.5% increase from last year, and are forecasted to grow 4.8% over the next year. Home sales are up 17.8% above last year's levels.
"If you love the outdoors and you love biking, hiking, camping and all the things that come with the Colorado lifestyle, you'll love the Springs," said Jacob Mueller, a Colorado Springs native and a Zillow Premier Agent with Atlas Real Estate. "You can get into the mountains really easily and that's very attractive. The city is also experiencing tremendous economic growth, so people can grow their careers here without having to leave for a bigger city."
7. Lancaster, Pa.
Population: 519,445; typical home value: $242,009
Homes are flying off the market in the growing city of Lancaster, and home sales continue to boom. Sales are up 78.6% from last month, with homes typically going under contract in 7 days. With its proximity to city hubs and great walkability, Lancaster offers wide open spaces, with proximity to plenty of bars and restaurants.
8. Modesto, Calif.
Population: 514,453; typical home value: $340,762
Homes in Modesto are in high demand, with 39.1% selling above the list price -- indicating buyers are competing to put down roots in this agricultural hub. Homes are only on the market for 7 days before going under contract, and home values here are forecasted to increase 4% over the next year.
9. Syracuse, N.Y.
Population: 662,577; typical home value: $154,596
Syracuse is the market to watch in upstate New York. Home values here continue to appreciate, and are 6.8% above last year's levels, and projected to increase 4% by this time next year.
"Syracuse offers a great quality of life at a reasonable cost," said R.J. Long, managing partner at Coldwell Banker Prime Properties in New York state. "It's got gorgeous hills and terrain, and proximity to the water with the Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes nearby. It offers beautiful homes, good jobs and it's accessible from anywhere in the state."
10. Visalia, Calif.
Population: 442,179; typical home value: $232,800
Visalia is a vibrant community with a small-town feel and a gateway to the outdoors. Home values continue to climb here, up 7.5% since last year. Home value growth is forecasted to continue into next year, expected to rise another 4.3%. Additionally, more than one out of every three of homes on the market sell above list price, indicating buyers are ready to settle down in this community.
11. Portland, Maine
Population: 514,098; typical home value: $334,650
"For those looking for an arts and foodie-driven lifestyle on the ocean, Portland can't be beat," says Nate Wildes, Executive Director of the nonprofit Live and Work in Maine. "Portland offers the Maine quality of life, matched with a uniquely quaint urban experience and genuine sense of place. The communities of greater-Portland are a thriving destination."
Home values in this seaport metro continue to grow, up 7.5% from last year and are expected to see 3.9% growth into next year. There are very eager buyers ready to make Portland home, with nearly 40% of homes selling above list price.
12. Lansing, Mich.
Population: 464,036; typical home value: $170,011
Rounding out the list is Michigan's capital, Lansing, where buyers are active and ready to secure their next home. Monthly sales are increasing at a rapid pace, up about 68% from the previous month, and 40% of homes are selling above the listed price.
"Mid-Sized Markets" are metropolitan areas ranked by size between 76-125 of all U.S metros. The analysis of these metros weighted five variables equally to determine the list:
- Home value growth year-over-year
- Forecasted home value growth
- Days a home stays on the market
- Share of homes sold above list price
- Month-over-month sale counts