One of America's most historic regions is its newest homebuying hotspot, with New England ZIP codes representing over half of 2022's top 10 list in the eighth annual Realtor.com Hottest ZIP Codes Report released today. In these ZIP codes, homes sold in just over a week –or 8 days– and received nearly four times more buyer views than a typical U.S. listing.
To help buyers better understand if they're shopping in a hot market, Realtor.com now provides "Hot Market Insights" on listings that show how fast homes in that neighborhood are selling and how popular they are compared to other properties in the area and across the country.
A key theme of this year's white-hot ranking is demand from out-of-ZIP home shoppers, driven by factors including relative affordability and convenient travel to big East Coast cities. The 2022 Hottest ZIP Codes in America, in rank order, are:
- 14618 Brighton, New York
- 03062 Nashua, New Hampshire
- 43085 Worthington, Ohio
- 03038 Derry, New Hampshire
- 04062 Windham, Maine
- 18017 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
- 37604 Johnson City, Tennessee
- 03106 Hooksett, New Hampshire
- 02760 North Attleboro, Massachusetts
- 04210 Auburn, Maine
"With rising inflation and mortgage rates squeezing monthly housing budgets, this year's determined buyers are breathing new life into competition for homes in historic areas like New England," said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com. "Our 2022 Hottest ZIPs ranking illustrates how many Americans are redefining their priorities to achieve homeownership while building their careers, by trading downtown life for relatively affordable areas with reasonable part-time commutes to big cities. Even as the housing market resets, home shoppers in the competitive Hottest ZIPs may need to take extra measures to win. It all starts with understanding the local market, and buyers can use Realtor.com's Hot Market Insights to arm themselves with knowledge that will be key to success when deciding where, when and how to make an offer."
With the launch of Realtor.com's "Hot Market Insights" announced today, the "neighborhood" section of property listings on Realtor.com will now show homebuyers if they are shopping in a hot market. Home shoppers can click the button to learn more about the local housing market, including how fast homes are selling and how many more views they get compared to others in the area and in the U.S. These insights are updated each month, to provide buyers with a timely view of the competition they're likely to face.
Key trends driving homebuying demand in the 2022 Hottest ZIP codes
Many Americans are feeling the strain on their finances due to the whirlwind of economic shifts that have occurred so far in 2022, including mortgage rate hikes. Combined with record-high home prices, rising affordability challenges are forcing many buyers to get creative if they want to beat the competition without breaking their budgets.
Home shoppers are doing just that in the 2022 Hottest ZIP Codes, with nine of the top 10 making the list for the first time in the ranking's eight-year history, including eight northeastern ZIPs making their debut. Six of these newcomers are located in New England, offering buyers a balance of new opportunities with historic charm. On average across the top 10, 13.4% of homes were built before 1939, compared to just 11.6% nationwide.
Affordability challenges drive demand in relatively small ZIP codes offering high-value homes
As a result of rising inflation and higher costs for housing and everyday expenses, homebuyers have set their sights on areas that offer good bang for their buck, making value a key theme among this year's hottest ZIPs. Controlling for home size, the average price per square foot in the top 10 was 8.7% lower than in their surrounding metro areas in June.
Among the ZIPs on this year's list, the average asking price ($432,000) was 4.0% lower than the U.S. median listing price in June ($450,000). At the same time, driven by the rise in demand, home prices across the hottest ZIP codes grew at a faster year-over-year pace (+18.6%) than listing prices nationwide at 16.9%.
The hottest ZIP codes offer buyers more space
As companies are slow to bring employees back into the office, remote and hybrid work arrangements continue to put pressure on relatively affordable markets with spacious homes. The pandemic-fueled shift in working arrangements has resulted in a re-shuffling of living preferences. Some buyers are looking to be a commute away from a high-cost metro, while other buyers are opting for more space in lower-priced areas. On both fronts, buyers looking in the hottest zip codes tend to get more space for their money.
Homes in the hottest zips are larger, on average, than in their surrounding metro, resulting in a higher median listing price. Homebuyers shopping in these zip codes find larger homes than they would find around the country, with a median square footage of 1,946, which was about 60 square feet larger than the typical home for sale around the country in June. Controlling for home size, the outright or relative affordability of these zips really shines through. Price per square foot was lower than either the surrounding metro or the US average in all of the hottest zips. The price per square foot for homes in the hottest zip codes was 8.7% lower than their surrounding metros in June.
Demand in all of the hottest zip codes outpaced US demand. The number of visitors per property on realtor.com in the top zip codes was 3.6 times higher than for the typical U.S. property, on average. Viewers per property in the hottest zip codes were 1.6 times as high as their surrounding metro areas.
Aspiring millennial homeowners are financially prepared for success in the hottest ZIP codes
Now aged between 25 and 44 years-old, millennials are a key cohort of aspiring homeowners, whether first-time or repeat buyers. This generation is ready and willing to pursue homebuying opportunities in the hottest ZIP codes, where they have the advantage of strong financial qualifications.
Millennials are entering the top 10 with incomes that are higher than the national averages among those aged 25-34 ($83,782 vs. $70,510, and aged 34-45 ($100,966 vs. $89,365). On average, buyers in the hottest ZIP codes are well-qualified with higher credit scores (742 vs. 728) and larger down payments (15.0% vs. 14.2%) compared to the typical U.S. home shopper.
Millennials' strong financial grip is paying off when it comes to achieving homeownership in the top 10. In fact, some 57% of millennials have successfully become homeowners in these ZIPs on average, than in the U.S. overall at 51.3%.
To read the full report, including chats and methodology, click here.