Which Regions Lead the Housing Market’s Hotspots?

Familiar with New Hampshire? Well, according to Realtor.com, the Manchester-Nashua metropolitan area ranked as the country’s hottest housing market in February alongside a nationwide price increase of 0.3%, but the hottest markets saw more substantial growth of 3.8% due to demand. 

The Realtor.com Market Hotness rankings take into account two aspects of the housing market: 1) market demand, as measured by unique views per property on Realtor.com, and 2) the pace of the market as measured by the number of days a listing remains active on Realtor.com. 

The Northeast and the Midwest were the only regions on this month’s list with 13 and seven markets, respectively. 

The Las Vegas metro area saw the largest increase in its hotness ranking among large U.S. metros compared with last year, climbing 141 spots to rank as the 123rd hottest U.S. market in February. 

February’s average hot market price growth was the lowest recorded since August 2021, suggesting that price growth easing is affecting even the most in-demand markets. However, this deceleration in median listing price growth is in part due to changing for-sale inventory. 

Looking at square footage, the typical home for sale in the top markets was slightly smaller than one year ago; looking instead at price per square foot growth reveals that the median listing price per square foot increased 5.5% year-over-year in February. 

Though home prices were climbing on average across the nation’s hottest markets, four hot markets saw prices fall on an annual basis in February. Oshkosh-Neenah, WI (-12.3%), and Bridgeport-Stamford, CT (-9.8%), saw the largest price declines, followed by Dayton-Kettering, OH (-0.7%), and Lancaster, PA (-0.5%). All of these markets except Bridgeport-Stamford saw the price per square foot continue to increase annually, suggesting that these areas are seeing more smaller, lower-priced homes on the market. However, the high-priced Bridgeport-Stamford metro saw a 6.9% decrease in price per square foot in February, year over year. 

Who’s new

All but three markets on the February Hottest Housing Markets list were also on January’s list. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT, Reading, PA, and Jefferson City, MO, entered the list this month ranked 14th, 18th, and 20th, respectively. 

Bridgeport was the highest-priced market on this month’s list, with a median listing price of $869,000. Reading and Jefferson City were more affordable than the national median with median listing prices of $306,000 and $315,000, respectively.  

Who’s out

Three markets fell out of the top 20 from January’s list, but none fell very far. Norwich-New London, CT, Rockford, IL, and New Haven-Milford, CT, fell to ranks ranging from 23 to 32, retaining substantial hotness despite their fall. These areas remained popular, emphasizing the recent popularity of Midwest and Northeast metros, which have dominated the list since February 2022.  

Looking instead at the metros that have fallen the furthest over the past year reveals that many Southern metros have fallen from popularity. The three metros that fell the most are all in Florida: Punta Gorda (172 spots), North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (164 spots), and Cape Coral-Ft. Myers (151 spots). Moreover, eight of the top 10 cooling markets were located in the South and two were in the West.  

Sun Belt metros picked up steam during the COVID-19 pandemic, but climbing prices and mortgage rates eventually stifled buyer demand. More affordable markets in the Midwest and Northeast grew in popularity as once-frenzied Southern markets cooled off. Falling demand has allowed inventory levels to recover and price growth to simmer in these markets, which suggests that more market balance is ahead. 

Click here to read the article in its entirety, including a chart ranking the hottest areas in the country. 

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Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for MortgagePoint. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at kyle.horst@thefivestar.com.
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