Why these cool cities dominate as the year's hottest housing markets

Buffalo tops the list by Zillow
Indianapolis, IN
Posted at 8:08 AM, Feb 19, 2024

A lot of treasured cities stretch from the Midwest to the Northeast: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Providence, just to name a few.

Those five cities are not known for warm weather or palm trees, yet they top the list of Zillow's hottest housing markets for 2024.

As we head into the spring homebuying season, we had to know why.

Zillow senior economist Orphe Divounguy explained, "What our index does is it looks at areas where people are basically moving to; where demand might actually be much hotter relative to the supply of homes."

The markets named by Zillow are relatively affordable markets that are also experiencing job growth. Homes in these markets tend to sell faster than the national average, and supply isn't keeping up with demand.

"So of course, if you have more competition among buyers and not enough supply," Divounguy said, "you end up with a hot housing market."

Look at the complete list of Zillow's predictions for hot housing markets and you'll see some of the hottest markets are indeed hot, like Atlanta and Tampa:

  1. Buffalo, NY
  2. Cincinnati, OH
  3. Columbus, OH
  4. Indianapolis, IN
  5. Providence, RI
  6. Atlanta, GA
  7. Charlotte, NC
  8. Cleveland, OH
  9. Orlando, FL
  10. Tampa, FL

Divounguy said the South is a big draw for buyers because there's a lot more home construction compared to the rest of the country.

"Some of these markets are really, really hot and continue to move really rapidly," he said. "Buyers basically have a bigger, larger mix of housing options to choose from."

Divounguy's advice to buyers is to talk to a loan officer and figure out exactly what you can afford.

If you're selling a home, he said the market is hot, but not pandemic hot, so sellers have some work to do. Zillow suggests sellers improve their home's online curb appeal with 3D home tours and interactive floor plans.

"If sellers take advantage of those tools, the technology, they're more likely to be able to move their home much faster," Divounguy said.