By Margaret Heidenry
Feb 15, 2022
Despite winter’s deep freeze, many of America’s real estate markets are already heating up. And even though cold temperatures tend to get people dreaming of moving to warmer climes, a new report has found that the nation’s hottest real estate market right now is hiding in a surprisingly cold place: Manchester, NH.
This chilly, unassuming city was ranked the hottest market in January based on an analysis by Realtor.com®. The rankings factor in a combination of demand (measured by the number of unique views per home listing) and how quickly homes are selling in that area.
In Manchester, property listings in January received 3.4 times more visitors than the national average, with homes lingering a mere 33 days before being snapped up by buyers. (The national average for days on market is nearly double that, at 61 days.)
Due to this high demand, the median listing price of homes in the Manchester-Nashua area has risen 11.1% over the past year, to $450,000, which is well over the national median of $375,000.
Manchester’s reign as the hottest market is no fluke, either, as this is the ninth time it’s topped these rankings in the past year. Real estate agents and brokers in the area speak of open houses overrun with buyers making offers on the spot.
“It’s definitely a sizzling-hot and crazy market,” says Manchester real estate broker Pamela Young, of Re/Max Insight. “Many homes are placed under contract immediately after an open house.”
America’s hottest housing market today
Overall, America’s hottest markets this month highlight more affordable places outside of bigger, more expensive cities. But some pretty pricey places ended up on this list as well. So what’s behind Manchester’s undisputed hot streak?
“Manchester, NH, sits squarely at the very intersection of current trends,” says George Ratiu, manager of economic research for Realtor.com. First and foremost, “it’s a short distance from the Boston metropolitan area.”
In the Boston metro, median home prices spiraled to $725,000 in January, which may be driving homebuyers to search farther afield for more affordable places to live. Manchester, located two hours away, may seem like the perfect compromise, particularly for the growing number of homebuyers who are clocking more work hours from home.
“Remote work has moved from a pandemic necessity to a preferred reality for millions of workers across the country,” says Ratiu. “In practice, these changes are spotlighting communities located within a two-hour drive from a major urban employment center, a broadening of the traditional commute radius.”
Manchester residents save not only on housing, but taxes, too.
“New Hampshire is attractive for its lack of state income and sales taxes, which can help many higher-income families keep thousands of dollars from wages in their pockets every year,” Ratiu explains.
In fact, half of homebuyers shopping for properties in Manchester are from nearby metros like Boston, New York City, and Providence, RI, as well as far-flung cities like Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington, DC.
Yet not all of America’s hottest markets in January boil down to affordability. The Santa Cruz, CA, metro area—No. 2 on the list—saw median listing prices of $1,199,000. Meanwhile, Topeka, KA (No. 3), and Rochester, NY (No. 4), have listing prices hovering at $159,000 and $200,000 respectively.
What lies ahead for homebuyers in 2022
Based on early indicators, this year already seems slated to be a scorcher of a housing market.
“The first weeks of 2022 point to an unseasonably active real estate market across the country,” says Ratiu.
The driving force? Rising mortgage rates.
“Buyers are seeking to close on homes in an effort to beat rising mortgage rates,” says Ratiu.
In February, mortgage rates jumped to their highest level since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising to 3.69% for the week ending Feb. 10, according to Freddie Mac.
While many homebuyers may be panicked about rising interest rates combined with high home prices, Ratiu says he is hopeful that the warmer months ahead will bring some relief.
“As we look toward the spring season, we expect the combination of growing new homes and more homeowners listing their properties to offer buyers more options,” he says, “and also lead to a moderation in price growth.”
January’s hottest real estate markets
|Hotness Rank||Metro||Hotness Rank YoY||Median List Price|
|2||Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.||23||$1,199,000|
|9||Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla.||217||$415,000|
|10||North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.||171||$525,000|
|11||Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.||11||$945,000|
|16||Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Calif.||46||$1,495,000|
|17||Rapid City, S.D.||-13||$417,770|
|18||Fort Wayne, Ind.||-11||$249,900|
|19||Yuba City, Calif.||-6||$446,000|
|20||Colorado Springs, Colo.||-18||$494,401|