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Big City Metros Fall Off Realtor.com's 2019 Hottest ZIP Codes Report

August 04 2019

ZIP code 49505 Grand Rapids, Mich., is ranked No. 1, followed by 68144 Omaha, Neb. and 83704, Boise, Idaho

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 31, 2019 -- The hottest ZIP codes in America are on the move from big cities like San Francisco and New York to quieter metros with a more suburban feel such as Omaha, Neb. and Goffstown, N.H., according to realtor.com's 2019 hottest ZIP codes ranking released today. In its fifth annual report, five ZIP codes in up and coming neighborhoods made their debut on the list boosted by extremely low home prices and even more millennial home buyers.

The 2019 hottest ZIP codes America, in rank order, are: 49505 Grand Rapids, Mich.; 68144, Omaha, Neb.; 83704, Boise, Idaho; 66203 Shawnee, Kan.; 14609 Rochester, N.Y.; 48154 Livonia, Mich.; 02176 Melrose, Mass.; 76018 Arlington, Texas; 03045 Goffstown, N.H.; and 80916 Colorado Springs, Colo.

Homes in this year's top 10 sell in an average of 17 days, 40 days faster than the rest of the country and 20 days faster than their respective metros, on average. Realtor.com® users view homes in these markets 3 times more often than homes in the rest of the country and 1.9 times more often than in their respective metro areas, on average.

Affordability ignites even more demand in smaller, less dense locales

As buyers continue to be priced out of big cities, demand is sparking up in smaller, less dense markets where housing is more affordable. Last year, the top 10 hottest ZIP codes in America included towns on the outskirts of some of the largest, most densely populated cities in the country such as New York and San Francisco. But these markets rotated off the list this year to make way for Omaha, Neb. and Manchester, N.H. Smaller metros from previous years such as: Boise, Idaho; Kansas City, Mo. and Colorado Springs, Colo. In fact, this year's top 10 hottest markets have half of the total number of households of the market's on last year's list and 7 percent fewer households per square mile.

"Even though buyers are moving to smaller markets, they are looking to retain an urban lifestyle by living closer to the city center. This tells us that today's home buyers are trying to have it all -- proximity to downtown, room to grow, and affordability -- and they're finding it outside of the biggest cities in the U.S.," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com®. "The average commute distance from this year's hottest 10 ZIPs to their downtown area is 9 miles, which is 31 percent or 4 miles closer compared to last year's top 10."

Newbie ZIPs bring new trends to the top 10

Among the top 10 hottest ZIPs in America, five are making their debut on the list this year, including: No.1 Grand Rapids, Mich. (49505); No. 4 Shawnee, Kan. (66203); No. 5 Rochester, N.Y. (14609); No. 8 Arlington, Texas (76018); and No. 9 Goffstown, N.H. (03045). Although some of the traditional drivers of market hotness are represented in these areas, there are also some emerging trends of extremely low home prices, developing local economies, and even larger populations of millennials.

Affordability has been a key factor driving realtor.com®'s hottest ZIP codes for the last five years. But among 2019's new ZIPs, the trend is even more extreme. When compared to the top 10 as a whole the average median listing price for the five new ZIPs is 36 percent less expensive. They are also 32 percent less expensive than both the metro and the national median home price.

Although these areas are thriving in many ways, local economic indicators signal these up-and-coming neighborhoods still have a way to go. The median income of the five newbie ZIPs is $64,000, 9 percent lower than the median of the others on the list. But their average unemployment rate is strong at 3.2 percent, which is 0.2 percentage points lower than the average of the returning ZIPs, and 0.4 percentage points lower than the national rate of 3.6 percent. The number of households in these markets is projected to grow by 4.3 percent this year, faster than the national rate of 1.1 percent, but not quite as fast as expected in the returning ZIP codes, projected to grow at a rate of 7.6 percent.

Millennials have played a critical part of market hotness for some time, but their role is even larger in these new ZIPs. In fact, on average, the millennial homeownership rate in these areas is 5 percent higher than their returning counterparts and exceeds the national rate by 13 percent.

Overall trends driving hotness in the top 10

Among this year's top 10 hottest markets in America, there are some consistent factors driving their popularity, including: large numbers of high earning millennials scooping up homes, relatively affordable home prices and strong local job markets. In the top 10 ZIPs, millennials' salaries are on average, 13 percent greater than the national millennial median income. They also make up the greatest share of homebuyers taking on a mortgage, averaging 39 percent. Part of the appeal of these top 10 ZIPs is their relatively affordable average home price of $272,000, well below the current national median of $316,000. Another factor contributing to these hot housing market is residents have money to spend. On average, resident incomes in each of these areas are 6.5 percent higher than the national median. Additionally, jobs are expected to grow 1.3 percent this year, exceeding the projected national growth of 1.0 percent.

2019 Hottest ZIP Codes in America

1) 49505 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – Western Michigan has once again taken the top spot on realtor.com®'s hottest ZIP codes ranking, this time with ZIP 49505. Located just north of downtown Grand Rapids, this ZIP runs along the Grand River and includes plenty of green space with the Kent Country Club, and four large parks. Its strong school system, which includes City High Middle School (GreatSchools rating of 9/10), attracts many to the family-oriented area.

Housing stats: Homes in this Grand Rapids ZIP sell in 10 days on average, with a median listing price of $178,050, which is up 11.3 percent year-over-year. Millennials make up the dominant buyer segment, where they account for 48 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in this Grand Rapids ZIP make slightly less than the national median for millennials at $58,667 and $62,280, respectively.

2) 68144 - Omaha, Neb. – Coming in at No. 2, ZIP 68144 is centrally located just 12 miles west of downtown Omaha, with easy access to the interstate, and borders along Zorinsky Lake. Affordable housing and high-paying jobs at companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Werner Enterprises are attracting many "boomerang buyers" back to the area after living in other more expensive parts of the country. With a solid mix of both high-end and starter homes, access to downtown Omaha, and a strong school system, which includes Harvey Oaks Elementary School (GreatSchools rating of 8/10), this area has earned its spot as one of the hottest ZIPs in the nation.

Housing Stats: Homes in 68144 sell in 21 days on average, with a median listing price of $238,950, which is up 6.2 percent over last year. Millennials make up the dominant buying segment in the area, where they account for 43 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in 68144 make significantly more than the national median for millennials at $73,902 and $62,280, respectively.

3) 83704 Boise, Idaho – Boise is a vibrant, active city, with a mild four-season climate that allows residents to enjoy the local mountains, rivers, and lakes year-round, while also establishing itself as a new tech hotspot. ZIP code 83704 sits on Boise's western edge and runs along Route 20. As more Californians seek lower housing costs, many are buying homes in Idaho where the sunny climate and local tech employers, such as Micron Technology, are strong draws. Boise is no stranger to realtor.com®'s Hottest ZIP Codes list, this ZIP was No. 6 in 2018.

Housing Stats: Homes in 83704 sell in an average of 14 days, with a median listing price of $289,950, which is up 5.5 percent year-over-year. The dominant buyer segment in the area is slightly older at 35- to 44-years-old. However, buyers aged 25- to 34-years old still make up 28 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in 83704 earn significantly less than the national median for millennials at $50,581 and $63,174, respectively.

4) 66203 Shawnee, Kan. – Sitting southwest of downtown Kansas City, Mo., on the Kansas side, is ZIP 66203 a quintessential Midwestern suburb known as "Old Shawnee." This is 66203's first appearance on the hottest markets, and it offers a walkable downtown with local shops and restaurants as well as affordable home prices. Kansas City has grown in popularity over the years due to its alluring downtown that houses museums, dining, shopping, and extensive nightlife, and 66203 is an affordable alternative to last year's No. 8 ZIP in Overland Park with even easier access to the city.

Housing Stats: Homes in 66203 sell in an average of 13 days and have a median listing price of $220,050, which is up 16.4 percent year-over-year. Millennials make up the dominant buyer segment in this area, where they account for 43 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in 66203 earn slightly less than the national median for millennials at $61,582 and $62,280, respectively.

5) 14609 - Rochester, N.Y. – Nestled along the southern shore of Lake Ontario and split in half by the Genesee River is the pictorial city of Rochester, which is home to ZIP 14609 -- a first timer to the list. As a booming area for both medical and education industries, 14609 draws many young professionals with its tree-lined streets, high walkability, and access to nightlife. Rochester Regional Health and the University of Rochester are two of the metro area's largest employers, but Rochester is also home to the headquarters for Wegmans Food Markets, which was ranked No. 3 on Fortune's annual "Best Companies to Work For."

Housing Stats: Homes in 14609 sell in 17 days on average and have a median listing price of $125,050, which is up 13.7 percent year-over-year. Millennials make up the dominant buyer segment in the area where they account for 43 percent of new purchase mortgages. However, millennials make significantly less than the national median millennial at $44,438 and $62,280, respectively.

6) 48154 - Livonia, Mich. – A western suburb of the Motor City, Livonia combines the best parts of suburban living with close proximity to the great attractions of Detroit. ZIP 48154 offers an easy 20 mile commute to downtown destinations such as the Detroit Institute of Art and the historic Eastern Market. Livonia also is equally close to many of the major employment centers scattered throughout the broader metro area, such as the headquarters of Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich.

Housing Stats: Homes in 48154 sell in an average of 17 days and have a median listing price of $254,950, which is up 6.2 percent year-over-year. Millennials are the dominant buyer segment in the area where they make up 36 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in this Livonia ZIP make significantly more than the national median for millennials at $96,855 and $62,280, respectively.

7) 02176 - Melrose, Mass. – Located 10 miles north of Boston is the quaint gas-lamp lined city of Melrose. Boston's abundance of universities and colleges feed the area's demand for high-paying jobs, especially in pharmaceutical and medical industries where Hallmark Health System and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital are two of the area's largest employers. A strong school system, which includes Hoover Elementary School (GreatSchools rating of 7/10), draws many to the area, but the ZIP of 02176 is beyond most first-time home buyers' budgets, so many turn to renting until they are able to afford purchasing a home. Melrose is no stranger to realtor.com®'s Hottest ZIP Codes list, it was No. 7 in 2016.

Housing stats: Homes in Melrose sell in an average of 18 days and have a median listing price of $629,050, down 1.7 percent year-over-year. The dominant buyer segment remains millennials who account for 43 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in this ZIP have a median income of $98,803, which is $36,523 higher than the national median millennial income of $62,280.

8) 76018 - Arlington, Texas – Sitting cozy between Dallas and Fort Worth is the thriving city of Arlington, home to this year's No. 8 hottest ZIP, 76018. This is 76018's first time making it onto realtor.com®'s hottest ZIPs list. ZIP 76018 is seven miles from Globe Life Park - home of the Texas Rangers baseball team, as well as six miles from AT&T Stadium - home of the Dallas Cowboys football team, the most valuable sports franchise in the world. Arlington ISD and the University of Texas at Arlington are two of the area's largest employers. However, ZIP 76018 is only 19 miles from Fort Worth and 25 miles from Dallas, offering a plethora of employment options to those willing to commute.

Housing Stats: Homes in this Arlington ZIP sell in 20 days on average and have a median listing price of $215,050, which is up 7.5 percent year-over-year. Millennials make up the dominant buyer segment in this area where they account for 34 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in Arlington also make slightly more than the national median for millennials at $64,023 and $62,280, respectively.

9) 03045 - Goffstown, N.H. – Nestled an hour and a half north of Boston and just west of Manchester, N.H. is the historic, tree-lined town of Goffstown which is home to ZIP 03045. This is 03045's first time making it onto realtor.com®'s hottest ZIP codes list. The area offers residents a close-knit community, complete with parks and outdoors space, and a strong school system which includes Goffstown High School (GreatSchools rating of 7/10). Affordable homes with access to a walkable downtown that is lined with historic brick buildings that house many of the town's restaurants and shops, make it a quintessential New England town.

Housing Stats: Homes in this Goffstown ZIP sell in 22 days on average and have a median listing price of $325,050, up 4.9 percent year-over-year. Millennials make up the dominant buyer segment in this area where they account for 43 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in Goffstown earn significantly more than the national median for millenials at $105,449 and $62,280, respectively.

10) 80916 - Colorado Springs, Colo. – Located 70 miles south of Denver on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, lies the thriving outdoor-centric city of Colorado Springs with ZIP 80916 sitting on the southeastern portion of the city. This area draws a diverse nature-loving crowd with its affordable housing compared to its sister-city to the north, Denver. Colorado Springs is replete with local breweries and tasting rooms as well as many boutique restaurants that cater to the area's healthy living lifestyle. Major employers for the area include the United States Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, and nearby Peterson Air Force Base.

Housing Stats: Homes in this Colorado Springs ZIP sell in an average of 21 days and have a median listing price of $245,050, which is up 2.5 percent year-over-year. Millennials make up the dominant buyer segment in the area, where they account for 34 percent of new purchase mortgages. Millennials in Colorado Springs make significantly less than the national median for millennials at $47,819 and $62,280, respectively.

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