History at a glance
- Lafayette topped the list, followed by Fort Wayne and Elkhart, respectively.
- Other Midwestern subways made the top 10, including Topeka, Kan., and Columbia, Mo.
- The findings are based on a number of metrics of the housing market and economic health.
Metro Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Elkhart in Indiana ranked respectively as the top three emerging real estate markets in the country, according to a new Winter 2023 analysis by the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com.
The new listing comes as affordable cities continue to appeal to Americans as rising mortgage rates drive buyers out of business in more expensive areas. The organizations update the rankings quarterly to help home buyers decide the best places to invest, based on measures of the local economy and lifestyle amenities.
The three Indiana cities were followed by Topeka, Kan.; Johnson City, Tenn.; and Columbia, Mo., respectively.
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The Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol metropolitan area in Tennessee and Virginia ranked seventh overall. Savannah, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; and La Crosse-Onalaska in Wisconsin and Minnesota rounded out the top 10 emerging metro real estate markets.
Other Midwestern metropolitan areas that increased in the fourth quarter include Springfield, Illinois and Milwaukee.
Lafayette is home to approximately 225,000 people and is located northwest of the state capital. It is also a manufacturing center and home to the public Purdue University.
In December, the median sale price of a home in Tippecanoe County, where the city is located, was $247,000. While that marks a 16.2 percent increase from 2021, the total was still more than $100,000 below the national average sales price of existing homes as measured in December, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The findings are based on a number of metrics that fall into two areas: housing markets and economic health. These include real estate supply and demand, unemployment rates, wages, commute time, and small business activity. The 300 largest metropolitan areas in the United States were included in the analysis.
Top-ranked markets also had lower unemployment rates and faster home sales in the fourth quarter than the market as a whole, according to the analysis.
Late last year, pending home sales rose slightly as mortgage rates began to fall and inflation eased. This increase marked the first time pending sales had seen an increase in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association also shows that applications rose slightly in the second half of January but were still below the levels seen a year ago.