Most housing markets across the nation are moving toward more balance. With inflation at a 41-year high, mortgage rates at the highest in over a decade, and home prices at record highs, the frenzy of the past two years is starting to cool. 

But buyers are still searching, and many are flocking to new areas. Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com’s Emerging Housing Markets Index breaks down the top 20 emerging markets for summer 2022. 

What makes an emerging market?

All the markets on the Summer 2022 Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index are either affordable or offer a high quality of life. 

Twelve markets fit into the affordable category, with median listing prices near or below the national median. Buyers are actively seeking affordable metros, and these areas highlight that trend. The average year-over-year growth in median listing price for these 12 markets is 21.6%, compared to the 16.2% national average. 

There are also markets on the index with median listing prices well above the national median. These eight markets fit into the quality of life category. They are either on the coast or in the mountains, where the quality of life and outdoor recreation opportunities are high. 

In addition to either being affordable or providing a high quality of life, every market on the list is:

  • Highly competitive. Listings in these markets last an average of 22.6 days, compared to the nationwide average of 32.3 days.
  • Expected to have price appreciation. Elkhart-Goshen, IN, the number 1 market on the list, had 49.4% price growth in the second quarter of 2022. 

 

Top 20 Emerging Housing Markets in Summer 2022

The WSJ/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index reviewed data for the largest 300 metro areas. Here are the top 20:

top-20-emerging-housing-markets-2022

Trends in Emerging Housing Markets

Based on the top 20 markets from the Emerging Housing Markets Index, there are some notable trends. These include:

  • Mid-size cities. Smaller metro areas are catching the attention of buyers. Mid-size cities are often more affordable than cities like San Francisco or New York. For those with bigger budgets, many are looking for a better work-life balance that comes with an outdoorsy metro. 
  • Strong local economies. The markets on the top 20 list have low unemployment rates and a blend of private industries, health care, higher education, and government agencies boosting the economy. In addition, there are more small businesses in these markets, providing plenty of employment opportunities. 
  • Vacation destinations. Many markets on the list make great vacation spots, offering outdoor recreation, mild climates, and plenty of sunshine. Post-pandemic, many people are looking to become residents of vacation destinations for an active outdoor lifestyle. 

Will these markets continue to pick up steam over the next year, or will they also reach a cooling point?