- This month, Manchester-Nashua, NH is back in the top spot on the hottest housing markets for the 8th time in 2021.
- The top 20 hottest markets are spread out across 14 states, with 4 locales in North Carolina, 3 in California, and 2 in Massachusetts.
- Affordability is a common factor among half of these top markets, with 10 markets’ median listing price below the nationwide median of $375,000 in December.
- The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL metro area again saw the largest increase in its Hotness ranking among larger metros compared to last year.
Manchester-Nashua, NH returned to the top spot on the hottest housing markets list in December. This area originally topped the list back in August 2020, and has held the number one spot a total of 10 times. Manchester-Nashua first cracked into the top 20 in May 2018, and has remained in the top 2 for ten of the past twelve months.
Realtor.com’s Market Hotness rankings take into account two aspects of the housing market: 1) market demand, as measured by unique viewers per property on Realtor.com, and 2) the pace of the market as measured by the number of days a listing remains active on Realtor.com.
Affordability and Desirability Mix in Hottest Markets
In recent months, pricey West coast markets lost some appeal due to a combination of affordability concerns and work-from-home flexibility, activity has spread out across the country. However, in December, seasonality and other factors have led to the return of 3 California metros to the hottest markets list, along with 7 other markets priced above the nationwide median listing price. Overall, fourteen states were represented on our list of top 20 hottest housing markets in December, paring down from August’s record-breaking 17 states.
California, which in December 2020 claimed 8 of the top 20 spots, now accounts for just three of the markets on our list, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Vallejo-Fairfield, and Santa Maria-Santa Barbara. The total West region has 5 markets, the most since April, including the three California markets previously mentioned, Yuma, AZ, and Colorado Springs, CO. West region markets have experienced a notable decline from 11 West region hottest markets in December 2020. Southern markets accounted for 6 of the top 20 markets, while the Midwest accounted for 5, and the Northeast was represented by 4 markets. North Carolina sustained its popularity this month with 4 metros on the list (Burlington, Hickory-Lenoir-Morgantown, Raleigh and Durham-Chapel Hill).
The states featured in our top 20 list this month are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.
Our Hottest Housing Markets, by design, are the areas where homes sell fastest and have lots of potential buyers checking out each listing. As a group, Realtor.com’s 20 Hottest Housing Markets received 1.3 to 3.5 times the number of viewers per home for sale compared to the national rate. These markets are seeing homes-for-sale move up to 15 days more quickly than the typical property in the United States.
Home prices hit a seasonal low nationally in December, but experienced an acceleration year-on-year compared to November, with prices up 10% year-on-year in December compared to just 8.6% in November. This month’s hottest markets represent both affordable pockets of housing where buyers can find homes in their price range as well as higher priced markets, near larger, pricier cities. The hottest markets saw median listing prices reach $433,000 in December—15.5% higher, on average, than the national median of $375,000. Notably, the most expensive market on the list is the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA metro area. The median listing price in this area is a relatively high $1,397,000, which is down 33.1% from December 2020.
December 2021 – Top 20 Hottest Housing Markets
|Metro||Hotness Rank||Hotness Rank YoY||Viewers per Property vs US||Median Days On Market||Days on Market YoY||Median Listing Price If Active Within Period|
|Fort Wayne, Ind.||4||-1||1.5||40||-1||$232,450|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.||5||10||1.5||42||-3||$914,000|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Calif.||7||59||1.8||44||-14||$1,397,000|
|La Crosse-Onalaska, Wis.-Minn.||9||43||1.6||43||-11||$282,500|
|North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.||10||193||1.7||44||-20||$507,000|
|Colorado Springs, Colo.||13||-11||1.3||35||-3||$492,531|
|Rapid City, S.D.||18||-13||1.6||44||1||$379,250|
|Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.||19||77||1.3||42||-16||$465,991|
Manchester-Nashua Returns to Top Spot
The Manchester-Nashua, NH metro area has been a mainstay in the top 20 hottest markets since early 2019. Homes in Manchester-Nashua were selling in under 38 days in December—12 days faster than last year, and 10 days faster than is typical in the rest of the country. Properties in the metro drew in 3.5 times as many unique viewers per property as the typical home around the United States.
The median listing price of homes in the Manchester-Nashua area was $447,000 in December, up 12.2% year over year, growing faster than the national median listing price in the same period. The typical home listing in Manchester-Nashua is priced 19.3% above the national median price of $375,000. However, Manchester-Nashua offers an affordable alternative to nearby Boston, MA where the median listing price reached $695,000 in December. The home size mix in Manchester-Nashua has shifted slightly since December 2021, with 8% more homes listed in the 3000-6000 square foot tier, though median home size has stayed relatively constant year-on-year. All size tiers experienced price growth year-on-year.
Most Improved Large Markets
Larger urban markets continue to cool down in the rankings compared December 2020, with the largest 40 markets across the country dropping by 8 spots, on average, since last year.
Of the largest 40 metros, the most-improved housing markets were mostly in the South, with three of the five most improved in Florida: Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL (+167 spots); Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL (+81 spots); Jacksonville, FL (+35 spots); Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (+31 spots) and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO (+15 spots).
After struggling early in the days of the pandemic, the Orlando, FL metro area housing market is now seeing real estate sell faster and garner more interest, earning it the position of fastest-rising large market on our list for the fifth month in a row. In December, the Orlando area rose 167 spots in the rankings compared to last year, bringing it back into range of its typical rankings at this time of the season. The typical Orlando home spent 46 days on market, the shortest time for any December on record, according to available data going back to 2016. Moreover, the number of viewers per property in Orlando rose 77.2% year-over-year in December.
On the supply side, the five most-improved large markets combined saw inventory move 11 days more quickly than last year. In comparison, the largest 40 markets overall saw properties sell 7 days faster than last year, on average. The time a typical property spent on the market in the most-improved markets was 45 days, 3 days shorter, on average, compared to the national rate.