The Top Emerging Housing Markets May Surprise You

Lafayette, Indiana, leads according to a study by the Wall Street Journal and Broker.com.

The WSJ/Realtor.com Winter 2023 Emerging Markets Index analyzes key housing market data, economic vitality and lifestyle metrics to identify emerging housing markets that offer a high quality of life and are expected to drive future house price increases.

“The Lafayette-West Lafayette area is a manufacturing center that also has a higher proportion of government employees in its workforce,” the study states. “The price of a typical home listed for sale in December was under $300,000, a discount of nearly 25% from the December national listing price for homes of $400,000. While the population is more mobile, its proportion of out-of-state home buyers is slightly below the average for the 300 markets. In addition to Purdue University’s sporting events and outdoor offerings, Lafayette-West is home to Lafayette Gardens, museums, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, and other cultural attractions.”

Lafayette is followed by Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.; topeka; Johnson City, Tennessee; Columbia, MO.; Kingsport—Bristol, Tennessee-Va.; Savannah; Columbus; and LaCrosse-Onalaska, Wisc./Mn., rounding out the top 10.

Index positions 11 through 20 are claimed by Manchester, NH; Burlington, NC; Portland—South Portland, Me.; Knoxville; South Bend—Mishawaka, Indiana; Sioux City; Springfield, IL; Springfield, MO.; Milwaukee-Waukesha; and Rapid City, SD

Eight of the winter 2023 markets were also on the fall 2022 list, including Lafayette-West Lafayette, Burlington, NC, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Columbus, Ohio. Twelve markets dropped from the list this quarter, with Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. and Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Fla. falling 164 spots and 171 spots, respectively. And the markets that fell below last quarter’s top 20 are primarily in the South, with five in Florida alone, plus Columbia, South Carolina, Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo., Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro -Franklin, Tennessee., and Raleigh, NC. To the west, Visalia-Porterville, California, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Yuma, Arizona also fell off the list.

“As economic conditions have changed and mortgage rates have risen sharply, expensive markets have fallen out of favor and been replaced by low-priced markets in the Midwest,” the study said.

Home counts grew faster than the national average in seven of the top markets, including the top three (all in Indiana): Lafayette-West Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Elkhart-Goshen. Emerging markets are also smaller than in previous quarters, with only two (Columbus and Milwaukee) having more than a million inhabitants. All but one of the top markets had an unemployment rate below the average for the 300 markets (3.6%).

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