Some surprising spots made it onto realtor.com’s ranking of the hottest metros for real estate. The March 2019 list included several California cities, however, realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale noted that the recent slowdown in sales has impacted California and benefited the Midwest.
"Historically there wasn’t much demand in those areas," said Hale. "Now that home prices are higher across the board, people are looking to those [more wallet-friendly] areas to buy. Columbus is super affordable, with a median $249,900 compared to the national listing price of $300,000, which attracts a lot of younger buyers."
According to realtor.com, several metros in Ohio, which are some of the most affordable areas in the country, top the list, including Ohio capital Columbus, at the number one spot. Other higher ranking Ohio cities included Akron and Canton, coming in at number 16 and number 19 respectively.
Real estate agent Lee Ritchie of Re/Max Metro Plus in Columbus told realtor.com how millennial homebuyers and more have been impacting the housing market in Columbus.
“A good 80 percent of my business is working with first-time buyers in the millennial age group. They’re out in full force,” she said. “We [also] get calls from buyers from New York and California and Washington, DC. They know that it’s affordable ... but it’s also an easier way of life and, for many, a better quality of life. It’s the best small big town."
California dominated the list, but many of its top-performing metros have been hit by slowdowns. California cities including Vallejo, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz saw increases in days on the market, up by 11, nine, and nine days respectively. The realtor.com study notes that drop-off remains unchanged from February, which was the first time since December 2014 that metros on the top 20 list experienced an increase in days spent on the market.
"Mortgage rates have declined pretty notably from the start of the year to now,” said Hale. “We’re waiting to see if that translates into hotter markets going forward. What people need to remember is that we can talk about national trends—but if you are a buyer, a seller, or an agent, it’s important to understand what’s going on in your local market.”