A new report from realtor.com says millennials attracted to affordable home prices and strong job markets have propelled Watuaga, Texas (76148) and Pleasant Hill, Calif. (94523) to the top-two spots on its Hottest Zip Codes of 2016 list.
The top ten ZIP codes include: 76148 (Watauga, Texas) a suburb of Fort Worth; 94523 (Pleasant Hill, Calif.); 80233 (Northglenn, Colo.) part of the Denver metro; 80916 (Colorado Springs, Colo.); 78247 (San Antonio); 94954 (Petaluma, Calif.); 02176 (Melrose, Mass.); 63126 (Crestwood, Mo.); 97222 (Milwaukie, Ore.) a suburb of Portland; and 92104 (North Park, Calif.) a town in San Diego.
Realtor.com ranked the list based on the time it takes properties to sell and how frequently homes are viewed in each ZIP code. Homes in this year's top 20 hottest markets sell in an average of 25 days – just over three weeks – 53 days faster than the rest of the country. Realtor.com users view homes in these markets almost four times more often than homes in the rest of the country.
The 2016 hottest ZIP codes report underscores the role that large populations of millennials, the ability to purchase within expensive housing markets, as well as strong job markets and steady salaries play in the interest shown for these highly competitive locales.
"Homes for sale in this year's hottest ZIP codes are selling almost as quickly as they hit the market," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com. "While millennials are usually a significant presence in most markets, their sheer size and buying power have made them a force to be reckoned with in these hot ZIP codes and given them the power to shift supply and demand dynamics."
Millennials, the largest generation in U.S. history, represent an even greater share of the population in most of the top-10 hottest zips. In ZIPs such as Northglenn, Colo. (80233), Colorado Springs, Colo. (80916), and North Park, Calif. (92104) the 25-34 age millennial population is beating the U.S. average by 1.8, 1.4, and 1.2 times, respectively.
Although first time buyers usually have more limited incomes than other buyers, millennials in these areas are more likely to earn in excess of six figures. In the top 10 hottest markets, the share of millennials earning more than $100,000 is 1.8 times higher than the U.S. overall. This is especially true for Pleasant Hill, Calif. (94523), Petaluma, Calif. (94954), and Melrose, Mass. (02176) where the share of millennials earnings $100,000 is 2.1, 2.2, and 2 times, respectively, as great as the national share.
The top 10 hottest ZIP codes are also located in counties with robust employment opportunities. Collectively the top-10 hottest ZIPs are seeing average job growth of 2.3% this year, which is 35% stronger than the national rate. They have an average unemployment rate of 3.8%, which is more than 100 basis points lower than the U.S. overall. Adams County, Colo. – home to No. 3 on the list, Northglenn – has the lowest unemployment rate at 2.9%.
These hot areas are also magnets for people relocating, expanding their families and moving out on their own – also known as population and household growth. Over the last five years, the top-10 hottest ZIP codes have seen an average of 6% growth in households, which is 20% stronger than the national average. Northglenn (80233) and Colorado Springs (80916) have seen growth at more than twice the national average.
One of the largest drivers in the top-10 hottest markets is home prices. The median price for a home in the top 10 hottest markets is $331,000, which is 36% higher than the national median of $243,000. While that may seem expensive, these areas represent less expensive neighborhoods that give buyers a chance to live in or close to expensive housing markets.
When compared to their surrounding areas, these ZIPs offer prices that are 19% and 22% less expensive than their surrounding counties and metro areas, respectively. This is especially true for ZIP codes such as Watauga, Texas (76148), Colorado Springs, Colo. (80916), and Milwaukie, Ore. (97222) where prices are 48, 47, and 35 percent lower their respective counties.
Top 10 Hottest ZIP Codes:
1. 76148 – Watauga, Texas – An inner suburb of Fort Worth, Watauga is a youthful and relatively dense community, with easy access to a great restaurant and craft brewery scene, cultural offerings like the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth – plus two football powerhouses nearby, the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Christian University. The dominant buyer segment in Watauga is millennials, and including the many millennials in ZIP 76148 that are already home owners, the age group makes up 65% of the total population of owners in the area. Homes in Watauga sell in 17 days, almost 30% faster than last year, with a median price listing of $137,000, up 16.4% over last year, and the area has experienced 3% job growth, plus 28,000 jobs, over last year.
2. 94523 – Pleasant Hill, Calif. – Located in San Francisco's East Bay, Pleasant Hill boasts a beautiful downtown area with parks and highly ranked public schools, making it highly desirable for home buyers and a central location for commuters. The dominant buying group in this ZIP is 35 to 44 year olds, which make up 31% of buyers, but millennials are a close second holding 26% of mortgages. Forty-two percent of millennials in this area make over $100,000, which is two times the norm for millennials in the U.S. Homes in Pleasant Hill sell in 19 days, 30% faster than last year, with a median list price of $630,000, up almost 4% for the year. The area is experiencing 2% job growth, which will translate into 7,200 jobs created.
3. 80233 – Northglenn, Colo. – ZIP code 80233, which covers parts of Northglenn and Thornton, Colo., outside Denver, is a perfect locale for families who enjoy an active lifestyle as its home to parts of the Greenway Trail System and 26 parks, and is located in one of the most distinguished school districts in Colorado. 36% of mortgages in Northglenn are taken by millennials and they are the dominant home buyers in the area. Homes in Northglenn sell in just over a week – 11 days, which is 20, 29, and 67 days faster than the county, metro and the U.S., respectively. The median list price in Northglenn is $278,000, up 16.5% from last year, and the area has experienced 3% job growth, plus 7,900 jobs, over last year.
4. 80916 – Colorado Springs, Colo. – ZIP code 80916 is an outdoor enthusiast's dream, with mountains, canyons, springs, and within an hour and a half drive of popular Rocky Mountain attractions like Pike's Peak. The city has a cost of living 7% below the national average. Not only are millennials the dominant buyer segment in the area, they make up 27% of the household population in this ZIP – that's 1.4 times more than the surrounding county and 1.8 times more than the U.S. average. Homes in Colorado Springs sell 17 in days, more than 50% faster than last year, with a median list price of $178,000, up 12.1% year over year, and the area has experienced 2% job growth, adding 7,200 jobs.
5. 78247 – San Antonio – ZIP 78247 has moved up a notch from No. 6 last year and is one of the most affordable big cities in the U.S., with a cost of living well below the national average; it's home to the nearly 1,000-acre McAllister Park and popular disc golf course at McClain Park. Millennials are the dominant segment of home buyers in the area, accounting for 36% of mortgages. Additionally, many millennials in San Antonio are already home owners and have a home-ownership rate of 61%, which is 1.6 times and 1.5 times greater than the county and U.S., respectively. Homes in San Antonio sell in 28 days, with a median listing price of $184,000, up 5.8% year over year. The area has experienced 3% job growth, over last year and currently has an unemployment rate of 3.6% and trending higher.
6. 94954 – Petaluma, Calif. − Known as the southern gateway to Sonoma County and with an old traditional downtown and small-town feel, Petaluma is within a short distance of both San Francisco and Marin County. Buyers between 35 and 44 years old make up 27% of mortgages in the area, and millennials are not far behind with a mortgage share of 25%. Homes in Petaluma sell in 27 days, 9.2% faster than last year, with a median list price for the area at $596,000, up 5.7% year over year. The area has experienced 2% job growth, plus 4,000 jobs, over last year.
7. 02176 – Melrose, Mass. – Ranked as the hottest ZIP code in 2015, Melrose fell six rankings this year to the seventh spot as the market normalized from supply beginning to catch up with demand. Melrose is less than 10 miles from Boston and has become a magnet for young professionals given its easy access to the city, Cambridge, Logan International Airport and the region's public transit. Millennials are the dominant group of home buyers in Melrose and make up 36% of mortgage shares, with a home-ownership rate 1.3 times higher than the surrounding county and very similar to the U.S. ownership rate. Homes in Melrose sell in 29 days, which is 3.5% faster than last year, with a median list price of $462,000, which is up 13.1% from last year, and the area has experienced 1% job growth.
8. 63126 – Crestwood, Mo. – ZIP 63126 is the most inexpensive community that feeds into Lindbergh Schools, a district that has received national honors and several state awards. It also is home to 120 acres of parks, the Sappington House Historical Site and close to the historic Grant's Farm. Despite the fact that 67% of millennials are already home owners in Crestwood, they are still the dominant buying segment, accounting for 38% of mortgages. Homes in Crestwood sell in 30 days, 21% faster than last year with a median list price of $183,000, up 9.8% year over year and the area has experienced 2% job growth, plus 9,000 jobs.
9. 97222 – Milwaukie, Ore. – A small town situated on Portland's southern edge, Milwaukie offers convenient access to Portland via the highly rated TriMet transit system and waterfront boating, walks along the marina, and a popular farmer's market. Millennials are the dominant buyer segment in Milwaukie, taking out 28% of the mortgages in the area and accounting for 14% of the households. Homes in Milwaukie sell in 24 days, 7.3% slower than last year, with a median list price of $309,000, up 12.2% year over year. The area has experienced 4% job growth.
10. 92104 – North Park, Calif. – ZIP 92104 covers San Diego's North Park neighborhood and nearby Burlingame and Altadena, and is known for its American Craftsman-style homes, walkability, trendy eateries, art galleries, and microbreweries as well as Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. Millennials are the leading segment of home buyers in ZIP 92104 with 32% of mortgages in the area and 26% of the households between the ages of 25 and 34 years old. Homes in the area sell in just 22 days, 24% faster than last year with a median list price of $497,000, up 17.1% year-over-year, and the area has experienced 1% job growth.