East Coast markets flexed their dominance while West Coast markets failed to make the cut in realtor.com®‘s 2020 Hottest ZIP Codes released Tuesday. In its sixth annual report, millennials continue to migrate away from the nation’s urban centers in search of affordable housing and space to raise a family.
The 2020 hottest ZIP codes in America, in rank order, are: 80911 Colorado Springs, Colo.; 43068 Reynoldsburg, Ohio; 14617 Rochester, N.Y.; 02176 Melrose, Mass.; 04106 South Portland, Maine; 66614 Topeka, Kan.; 03051 Hudson, N.H.; 01602 Worcester, Mass.; 22152 Springfield, Va.; and 27604 Raleigh, N.C.
Among this year’s top 10 hottest markets in America, a few consistent factors are driving their popularity, including: easy access to both downtown amenities and outdoor space, relative affordability with a strong local economy, and a large number of millennial homebuyers.
Homes in this year’s hottest ZIPs sell in an average of 18 days, 51 days faster than the rest of the country and 27 days faster than their respective metros, on average. Realtor.com® users view homes in these markets 4.3 times more often than homes in the rest of the country and 2.2 times more often than in their respective metro areas, on average. These housing markets are also 29% less dense (households per sq. mile) than the nation’s top 50 largest metros.
“This year’s hottest ZIP codes lean noticeably toward the East Coast. Nothing west of the Rocky Mountains made the list,” according to realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “But when you view the list through the lens of affordability, the picture becomes more clear. As the largest generation in U.S. history continues to advance toward life milestones—settling down, marriage, parenthood—the need for space and affordable housing outshines the bright lights in expensive urban areas like New York or Los Angeles. While we’ve seen millennials moving in this direction for a few years now, all the extra time at home spent trying to work, learn, and play in response to the pandemic has heightened these preferences, and put the trend toward extra space and affordability on fast-forward.”
East Coast dominates hottest ZIPs
Half of this year’s hottest ZIPs reside in the Northeast, including Rochester, Melrose, South Portland, Hudson, and Worcester. Demand for these markets was driven by a lack of affordability in nearby larger urban cores such as New York and Boston where prices have sky-rocketed and increased space is a luxury many can’t afford. Further south, but still along the East Coast, are Springfield and Raleigh.
Although many of these markets were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic first, they were also some of the first to recover, which allowed buyers to come out in force to make up for lost time during the typical spring home buying season. Pent up demand has helped catapult these markets to the top of the list where homes are flying off the market 3.4 times faster than the average home.
Millennials attracted by affordability
As millennials continue to seek more bang for their buck, demand is sparking up in smaller, less dense markets where housing is more affordable and being a millennial homeowner is more than just a pipe dream. In fact, the average millennial homeownership rate in this year’s hottest ZIPs is 53%, compared to 43% for the rest of the country. In part, this is because millennials are thriving in these areas. The average household income for millennials in the hottest ZIPs is $82,011, 27% greater than the national median of $64,670.
Millennials in these markets aren’t only doing well compared to millennials in other areas, they are doing well compared to other generations as well, including Baby Boomers. In each of the 10 hottest ZIPs, millennials make up the greatest share of mortgage originations. The average share of originations for millennials is 38% in the hottest ZIPs, compared to 27% for 35- to 44-year-olds.
2020 Hottest ZIP Codes in America
1) 80911, Colorado Springs, Colo. — ZIP 80911 is located on the southern edge of Colorado Springs and about 1.5 hours from Denver. The area is known for its great weather with over 300 days of sunshine a year, easy access to the outdoors such as Garden of the Gods Park, and vibrant downtown including a robust art scene. The area is also home to the brand new United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum, which just opened in July. This area offers residents a great quality of life including affordable homes, especially compared to nearby Denver, and strong schools such as Martin Luther King Jr Elementary School (GreatSchools rating 8/10). Last year, ZIP 80916, also located in Colorado Springs, was ranked No. 10 overall.
Housing Stats: Homes in ZIP 80911 spend an average of 13 days on market, 20 days less than the Colorado Springs metro on a whole and 58 days less than the national median. The median listing price is $287,000, up 6.5% year-over-year, but 39% lower than the metro and 13% lower than the national median. Seventy-seven percent of residents in ZIP 80911 are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 62%.
2) 43068, Reynoldsburg, Ohio — ZIP 43068 is located less than a 30-minute drive to the east of Columbus, Ohio. The area attracts young and growing families with its quiet suburban feel while still having easy access to downtown Columbus and all it has to offer. The area boasts a strong school system including Reynoldsburg High School, which is rated a 9/10 by GreatSchools. Additionally, with its close proximity to The Ohio State University, the area keeps a youthful vibe with lots to do, all within a short drive. For those not wanting to head into Columbus, Reynoldsburg offers residents plenty of dining and shopping choices in its revitalized downtown. Seventy percent of residents live within one mile of downtown Main Street.
Housing Stats: Homes in ZIP 43068 spend an average of 17 days on market, 28 days less than the Columbus metro and 52 days less than U.S. The median priced home is $204,000, 37% less than the metro and 38% less than the national median. Fifty-six percent of residents in this ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 38%.
3) 14617 Rochester, N.Y. — ZIP 14617 is located along the Genesee River and southern shore of Lake Ontario. The area’s massive revitalization, especially along the riverfront, has boosted its popularity with young millennials who want to take advantage of downtown’s amenities including boutique shopping and great restaurants. Rochester is New York’s third largest metro area and includes a blend of history and innovation. The area is also drawing young families with its strong school system including Iroquois Middle School (GreatSchools rating 8/10). Rochester is no stranger to realtor.com®‘s Hottest ZIPs list, last year ZIP 1460 ranked No. 5.
Housing stats: Homes in ZIP 14617 sell in an average of 18 days, 26 days faster than the Rochester metro as a whole and 51 days faster than the national median. The median listing price is $162,000, up 16.6% year-over-year, but 35% lower than the metro and 51% lower than the national median. Eighty percent of residents in this ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 82%.
4) 02176 Melrose, Mass. — ZIP 02176 is located just 10 miles north of Boston. The area boasts a historic downtown, desirable school system which includes Horace Mann Elementary School (GreatSchools rating 9/10) and easy access to public transportation. The town attracts many young families who are looking for more space but still want to enjoy a quick commute to Boston. Locals enjoy boating and stand-up paddle boarding on nearby Spot Pond, the downtown with its boutique shops and restaurants and easy access to green space including the Fells Reservation with great hiking trails. Melrose is a veteran on the Hottest ZIPs list, it ranked No. 7 in 2019.
Housing stats: Homes in Melrose sell in an average of 19 days, 26 days faster than the metro and 50 days faster than the national median. The median listing price is $644,000, 2% higher than the metro and 95% higher than the national median. Sixty-three percent of residents in this ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 46%.
5) 04106 South Portland, Maine — ZIP 04106 is located on scenic Casco Bay and is part of South Portland. It offers a slightly more affordable option compared to the city of Portland, while still being close to downtown and its world-class restaurants. South Portland is a short drive from Portland Head, Maine’s oldest and the country’s most-photographed lighthouse. They don’t call it “vacationland” for nothing — South Portland also boasts beautiful beaches, miles of rocky coastline, friendly atmosphere and the ability to walk almost anywhere. The community attracts a lot of families and people looking to escape bigger cities like Boston and New York.
Housing stats: Homes in ZIP 04106 spend an average of 21 days on the market, seven days more than last year, but 38 days less than the Portland metro overall. The median list price is $377,000 up 4.2% year-over-year. Asking prices are 9% lower than the metro overall, but 14% higher than the U.S. median. Fifty seven percent of residents in this ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership rate is 36%.
6) 66614 Topeka, Kan. — ZIP 66614 is located on the western side of Topeka, the state capital of Kansas. The area is known for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education that declared segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. While government, healthcare and education are some of the ZIP’s largest employers, Topeka is home to a number of manufacturing and distribution centers, including Target, Frito-Lay Inc, Mars Chocolate and Goodyear Tire. In particular, ZIP 66614 is attracting both move up and first-time home buyers with its affordability and close proximity to the area’s new shopping and entertainment as well as easy access to Kansas City that is within an hour’s drive.
Housing stats: Homes in ZIP 66614 sell in 19 days on average, 19 days faster than the metro and 50 days faster than the national median. The median listing price is $184,000, 14% more than the metro, but 44% lower than the national median. Sixty-two percent of residents in the ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 45%.
7) 03051 Hudson, N.H. — ZIP 03051 is located in Hudson, N.H., less than an hour north of Boston. Many families looking to escape the busy Boston area head just over the border to the quiet area. Known as “tax-free” New Hampshire, locals enjoy a lower cost of living with no state income or sales tax. Nestled along the Merrimack River, Hudson offers lots of space with easy access to major freeways that lead to the lakes region, skiing or the seacoast. Visitors and locals with a taste for adrenaline enjoy checking out the local indoor skydiving and surfing facility, as well as outdoor activities like hiking, biking and snowmobiling.
Housing stats: Homes in ZIP 03051 sell in 22 days on average, 22 days faster than the metro and 46 days faster than the national median. The median listing price is $350,000, 12% lower than metro as a whole. Seventy-eight percent of residents in this ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 33%.
8) 01602 Worcester, Mass. — ZIP code 01602 is located on the western side of Worcester, just an hour outside of Boston. It’s known for its historic homes, culturally diverse population and highly rated schools, such as Midland Street and West Tatnuck, both rated 8/10 by GreatSchools. Worcester State University is located in the heart of the ZIP and is one of the largest employers in the area, along with Becker College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Worcester is a hot spot for families and retirees looking for three or four bedroom homes, but increasing home prices have pushed it out of reach for many first time home buyers.
Housing stats: Homes in Worcester spend an average 21 days on market, 31 days less than the metro as a whole and 48 days less than the national median. The median listing price is $318,000, 14% lower than metro as a whole and 4% lower than the national median. Sixty-three percent of residents in this ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 50%.
9) 22152 Springfield, Va. — ZIP 22152 is located just inland of the Potomac River, while offering easy access for those working in and around Fort Belvoir, Pentagon City, Arlington, Alexandria, Va., D.C., and National Landing, the home of the new Amazon headquarters. This ZIP offers a mix of townhomes and single-family homes that provide options for both first-time and move-up buyers as well as considerable green space with Pohick Creek Stream Valley Park to the east and Lake Accotink Park to the north. The highly rated West Springfield High School (GreatSchools rating of 8/10), recently redeveloped Springfield Town Center and close proximity to Burke Town Center and Kingstowne are big draws for buyers to the area.
Housing stats: Homes in ZIP 22152 sell in an average of seven days, 32 days faster than the metro area and 62 days faster than the national median. The median listing price is $553,000, 8% higher than the rest of the metro and 68% higher than the national median. Eighty percent of residents in this ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 66%.
10) 27604 Raleigh, N.C. — ZIP 27604 is located on the north side of Raleigh and reaches all the way into downtown. The area boasts a high quality of living due to its affordability, and that helps draw many buyers from more expensive cities. Raleigh offers its residents all the amenities that come with a large city, but with a small town vibe and plenty of Southern hospitality. Buyers looking to move to the area will have to pledge their allegiance to one of the many incredible local basketball programs that include Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Housing stats: Homes in this ZIP sell in an average of 25 days, 32 days faster than the metro as a whole and 44 days faster than the national median. The median listing price is $273,000, 27% lower than the metro and 17% lower than the national median. Fifty-four percent of residents in this ZIP are homeowners and millennial homeownership is 42%.
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