Midwest, Northeast Markets Continue To Dominate

Markets in the Northeast and Midwest once again dominated the list of hottest markets for the year.

In a ranking produced by the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com, Rockford, Illinois took first place for 2024. The ranking considered affordability, cost of living, and the city’s overall attractiveness.

Rockford has homes under $250,000 within commuting distance of three major metros, giving residents access to big city amenities without the price tag.

Towns in Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee, and New Hampshire rounded out the top ten, all for their affordability. Despite their popularity pushing prices up, the average listing price among the top 20 markets was $60,000 lower than the national median last month.

The report also noted that the Northeast and Midwest boast strong climate resiliency at a time when natural disasters are increasingly important to homebuyers.

In Rockford, 4.2% of properties are at severe or extreme risk of experiencing one of the climate risks monitored by Realtor.com. About three-fourths of Americans consider these risks when purchasing a home.

Similar trends appear in Realtor’s monthly roundup, which put the Manchester, NH, metro in first place for the seventh month in a row. These markets saw price growth of 5.3%,  much more than the national average of 2% for the month, thanks to high demand.

Neither the South nor the West appeared in the top 20. These regions’ popularity has waned in recent years after increased demand tempered their appeal.

“Sun Belt metros picked up steam during the [COVID-19] pandemic, but climbing prices and mortgage rates eventually stifled buyer demand,” said Realtor.com economic analyst Hannah Jones. “More affordable markets in the Midwest and Northeast grew in popularity as once-frenzied Southern markets cooled off.”

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