America’s 20 Hottest Real Estate Markets in March 2016

America’s 20 Hottest Real Estate Markets in March 2016

Boston Public Garden


Finally, the snow is but a distant memory in all but a few (unfortunate) pockets of the U.S. Our springtime spirits are soaring—and so are the nation’s hottest real estate markets. And if we’ve learned anything, it’s that there’s no reason to wait for April showers to bring May flowers—our analysis of preliminary data for the month of March shows that the spring home-buying season is in full bloom on®.

The median list price continued its upward climb. Meanwhile, the inventory of homes for sale is increasing more steadily—but still not as fast as the pent-up demand from buyers.

“Listings are growing as they normally do this time of the year, but because demand has been growing faster than supply, homes are selling faster,” observes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of “So the monthly trend is the normal seasonal pattern, but the year-over-year decline is reflective of demand being stronger than supply for more than a year, which is resulting in fewer homes available and faster-moving inventory.”

Naturally, the heightened appetite for a limited stock of housing is pushing up home prices. The projected median list price for March is $238,000—an increase of 3% from February, and 8% above the previous March.

It looks like March will have 3% more homes on the market compared with February, and that’s a welcome addition. But here’s a reality check: That’s still 2% less than we saw in March 2014. Probably because of the lack of inventory, homes were selling faster in March, spending a median of 77 days on the market. That’s 20% faster than in February, and 13% faster than the previous year.

Swelling the usual ranks of spring home buyers are those who wanted to buy last year but either got outbid or couldn’t find something that met their needs. After a holiday hiatus, those frustrated buyers are back, and more determined than ever to buy.

Our site traffic numbers show strong and growing demand in March. When the totals for the month are in, we expect to see that visits grew 20% over last year, and there were 40% more searches for houses on our site than last year.

“Would-be buyers face a dilemma: There will be more homes on the market over each week of the next three to four months, but there will also be even more prospective buyers,” says Smoke. “We are entering the busiest season of home buying with the lowest amount of inventory in three years. To be competitive, buyers should get pre-approved for a mortgage and be ready to act quickly if they find a home that meets their needs.”

Great ready for a busy spring!

Pulling together the numbers on listing views per market (which shows the level of demand) and median days on market (which shows supply), we came up with a ranked list of the 20 hottest medium-size to large markets in the country. These are the markets where buyers are eager and homes are selling fast—listings get two to five times more views than the national average, and homes sell one or two months faster than in the rest of the country.

Like in last month’s list, California dominates with 13 out of the 20 top markets, but Eastern markets started to make a comeback. Boston, MA; Raleigh, NC; Lafayette, IN; and Columbus, OH, were all new to the list this month.

“Buyers are emerging in markets that typically see more winter weather,” Smoke says.

The hot list

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Vallejo, CA
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Santa Cruz, CA
  5. Dallas, TX
  6. San Jose, CA
  7. Santa Rosa, CA
  8. Sacramento, CA
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Stockton, CA
  11. Colorado Springs, CO
  12. Oxnard, CA
  13. Eureka, CA
  14. Modesto, CA
  15. Raleigh, NC
  16. Boston, MA
  17. Los Angeles, CA
  18. Boulder, CO
  19. San Luis Obispo, CA
  20. Lafayette, IN