The Hottest Real Estate Market In The US Is No Longer In California

Every month, Realtor releases a list of the top 20 hottest housing markets in the United States. A "market" is defined as a metropolitan area, which consists of a central city and its associated suburbs and outlying towns and neighborhoods. The "heat" of a housing market in a particular metropolitan area is measured by a combination of two metrics: demand, measured by the number of unique views home listings in a city receive on average, and speed, measured by the average number of days homes in a city remain on the market. For the first time since Realtor began compiling these lists in 2016, not a single city listed in the top 20 was located in California, the nation's most populous state and a long-time frontrunner for hot housing markets.

Just this past January, California had five metropolitan areas within Realtor's top 20 markets: Santa Cruz, Vallejo, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, and Yuba City. But by March, Realtor reported that Vallejo, Thousand Oaks, and Yuba City had fallen out of the top 20, and in April, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara joined them. California now has no metropolitan areas on the top 20 list, and it's not difficult to see why. The state is famous for its high home prices, and with new economic pressures such as rising interest rates and inflation, California real estate costs have finally hit the point where they are a bridge too far for prospective buyers. So, where are new homeowners looking to buy instead?

Manchester, New Hampshire

For 10 out of the past 12 months, including its most recent April report, Realtor has listed Manchester, New Hampshire, as the hottest housing market in the United States. Listed homes in Manchester last on average only eight days before they are snapped up. While the median home price in Manchester is still 6% higher than the national average of $425,000, coming in at just under $450,000, that price range is still relatively affordable, especially when you consider Manchester's location. As HousingWire reports, Manchester is located about an hour's drive away from Boston, which is not exactly an ideal commute but is certainly doable, especially when you consider that Boston's median home price is almost $760,000, per Realtor.

You can save money in other ways if you choose to live in New Hampshire, one of the few states in the country, without either state income tax or sales tax. In today's economy, with rising inflation boosting the costs of everyday essentials such as groceries and gas, it's understandable why people would want to save every little bit they can. And if you're going to live in New Hampshire, Manchester is definitely one of the most attractive options. It is the largest city in the state, with a thriving downtown, and it is also close to the ocean, multiple beautiful lakes, and the White Mountains. Manchester is an excellent choice if you want to combine affordable living, proximity to major cities, and access to the outdoors.

Concord, New Hampshire

Keeping up the trend of hot housing markets in the Granite State, New Hampshire's Concord comes in at the number two spot on Realtor's top 20 hottest markets list. It is easier to buy a home in Concord than it is in Manchester, but not by much: houses on the market in Concord last about 14 days as compared to Manchester's average of 8 days. But it is cheaper to buy a home in Concord, with the median home price in the metropolitan area coming in at roughly $440,000.

Because Concord is also located in New Hampshire, many buyers are seeking it out for the same tax-related reasons as they are flocking to Manchester. But Concord also has some unique features that set it apart. The job market in Concord is particularly strong, and the city has lower unemployment rates and a higher percentage of small businesses than other areas, which can help promote a feeling of community, as reported by the Concord Monitor. Concord is also the state's capital, with the attractive State House giving the city a historic feel, and its proximity to the Merrimack River and the plethora of city parks along the riverfront provide beautiful and accessible outdoor enjoyment, according to Visit Concord NH.

Burlington, North Carolina

The only city to break the top three that is not located in the state of New Hampshire (or even in New England) was Burlington, North Carolina. Realtor reports that homes in Burlington are selling at a slightly faster pace than those in Concord, spending an average of 13 days on the market, and the median price to buy a home is significantly cheaper than either of the New Hampshire cities coming in at $360,000. Burlington is growing quickly. Fox 8 reports that with a new Amazon fulfillment center and Chick-fil-A fulfillment center coming to the area soon, more and more people are moving to the city.

And even if you do not work in Burlington itself, the city is located halfway between two of North Carolina's larger cities, Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham, providing an easy commute. It is also fairly close to Chapel Hill, home of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the state's flagship college campus and one of the highest-ranked public universities in the country, per U.S. News & World Report. According to the City of Burlington's Economic Development office, the cost of living in Burlington is almost 17% lower than the national average. It also boasts some pretty spectacular outdoor attractions to rival those of Manchester and Concord, with 40 miles of trail along the picturesque Haw River and 3,000 acres of parks.