Top Housing Markets: Tech Hubs and State Capitals Will Dominate 2021, according to realtor.com study. Sacramento, Calif., San Jose, Calif. and Charlotte, N.C. are forecasted to see the highest home price appreciation and sales growth in 2021.
Millennial homebuyers, relative affordability, and strong local economies will drive realtor.com’s Top Markets of
2021 to lead the nation in a year when real estate is expected to be strong coast to coast. This year’s list in rank order includes: Sacramento, Calif., San Jose, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., Boise, Idaho, Seattle, Phoenix, Harrisburg, Pa., Oxnard, Calif., Denver, and Riverside, Calif
A common driver of this year’s top markets is the prevalence of high paying tech jobs. Tech salaries in Sacramento, San Jose, Boise, Denver, and Seattle have driven home prices through the roof over the last several years and this trend is expected to continue in 2021. Additionally, areas such as Charlotte and Phoenix are quickly establishing themselves as rising tech hubs with a plethora of jobs in technology, as well as education, government and healthcare. In fact, the projected unemployment rate for 2021’s top markets is 7.9% compared to the national average of 8.2%. Tech-related jobs make up an average of 8.7% of the workforce in this year’s top markets list compared to 6.4% of the U.S. as a whole.
Home prices in eight of the top 10 markets are more expensive than the average of the top 100 markets. But many
are relatively affordable when compared to their nearby counterparts or offer significantly more square footage for
a similar price. For example, buyers priced out of New York ($216 per sq.ft.) can find increased space and
affordability in Harrisburg ($122 per sq.ft.), while buyers in Sacramento ($284 per sq.ft.) can get more bang for
their buck than nearby San Francisco ($679 per sq.ft.). This is also true when comparing Oxnard ($413 per sq.ft.)
and Riverside ($247 per sq.ft.) with Los Angeles ($556 per sq.ft.).
On average, the top 10 markets have a larger share of millennials (14.1%) than the U.S. as a whole (13.5%). A
market’s ability to lure millennials is a good indicator of the livability of the area including: job opportunities, dining,
and entertainment. However, when it comes to millennials purchasing homes in the top 10, two trends are
emerging. In half of this year’s top markets, including: Charlotte, Boise, Phoenix, Harrisburg and Riverside,
millennials are already homeowners and expected to make the majority of the home purchases that drive home
price growth and sales. In the other group of markets, such as San Jose, Seattle, and Denver, the high cost of living
has made homeownership a difficult accomplishment, not only for millennials but for all generations.
The high number of millennials in the market shows how popular these markets have become, but older, more financially established generations will be the ones purchasing the majority of the homes next year.
Half of the top markets are state capitals, including: Sacramento, Boise, Phoenix, Harrisburg and Denver. The
strong government presence in these areas offers stability for their local economy and jobs markets. This is
especially important after a year when a global pandemic has significantly disrupted local economies across the
nation. On top of the government jobs, these areas also have strong job diversity in both the public and private
sectors, including education, healthcare, technology, manufacturing and military, which is positioning them for solid
growth in the future.
1. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif.
2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
3. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C.
4. Boise City, Idaho
5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.
6. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.
7. Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.
8. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.
9. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.
10. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.