The Hottest Markets of April 2019: All Fired Up Over Affordability
As home buyers continue to seek out pockets of affordability across the nation, metros in the Midwest and Northeast are luring ever more of them, according to an analysis of realtor.com® data for April.
Markets in those regions outnumbered the previously red-hot metros of California on realtor.com’s monthly ranking of the hottest markets in the U.S. These are identified by how fast homes are selling in each metro and how many views that metro’s listings receive, both of which reflect buyer demand.
And although home price growth has been skyrocketing for years, the outlook for this spring and summer, traditionally the high season for home buying and selling, is more moderate.
“It’s going to be a controlled landing with prices. We should still see [price] growth, though not at the level of last year,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com.
The Boston metropolitan market, which includes Cambridge as well as suburban Newton, completed its steady climb up the ranks (it was No. 18 in January) to top the hot list. However, like 10 of the 20 hottest markets for April, its properties were taking longer to sell than at the same time last year, reflecting an overall slowdown.
Six Midwestern markets and five Northeastern markets made it into the top 20, compared with five in California. It represents a big turnaround.
While the Midwest has long been known for its affordability, the Northeast has some of the country’s most expensive markets, including Boston and New York City. So why all the activity in that region, now that buyers are more price-conscious? The answer lies in the new tax code, which penalizes buyers of expensive homes in high-tax areas.
“Part of it is tax-related: There are places in the Northeast that are traditionally high-tax areas, but there are also lower-tax areas,” Vivas says. So people are moving around in the area, trying to minimize their tax liability.
As for Boston, it’s just less hemmed in than a market like San Francisco, Vivas says, leaving more options for buyers in smaller suburban towns that fall within the metro area.
“It’s one of those cases where, if you sit still and everyone else slows down, it looks like you’re moving faster,” Vivas says.
Second on the hot list is Lafayette, IN, marking its first time in the top three since the economic team began reporting its hottest markets in 2013. It’s moved up 18 spots in the ranking over the past year. At No. 3 is Spokane, WA, which also cracked the top three for the first time; its ranking improved by 10 spots over the previous year.
The metros seeing the biggest slowdown in selling time were Midland, TX, where homes were taking six more days to move than one year ago; Stockton, CA, and San Francisco (four days each); and Modesto, CA (three days). Yet homes in the metros on this list are still getting more views and selling more quickly than in other cities.
Other markets to watch include Worcester, MA; Fort Wayne, IN; and La Crosse, WI, none of which made the list the month before.
The hot list
|Metro||Rank (April 2019)||Rank (March 2019)||Median Days on Market|
|Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN||2||8||34|
|Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA||3||14||31|
|Colorado Springs, CO||8||6||32|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||11||9||28|
|Fort Wayne, IN||15||34||44|
|La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN||16||29||39|
|Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY||17||24||42|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||19||12||34|
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