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Real Estate Big Data

Top 10 hottest zip codes in America based on employment and housing data

Combining housing and employment data, the Top 10 hottest zip codes are laid out in black and white, with a few surprises on the list.




When looking for affirmation that you’re moving to the right zip code, or simply hoping to bask in the glory of where you live, you look to trends. To dig deeper than the best performing cities, actually analyzed zip codes to determine the top 10 Hottest ZIP codes, based on factors such as the health of the housing market, strength of local employment, neighborhood “it factors,” how long it takes for properties in the ZIP code to sell, and how frequently homes are viewed on in each ZIP code. It sounds like a mix of science and a little bit of subjectivity (like “it factors”), but is interesting nonetheless.

“Each locale on this list is emblematic of the key trends driving housing this year – healthy local economics, job opportunities and affordability,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for®. “For first-time home buyers, these communities provide great opportunities to enter the housing market, build a career, and raise a family; older generations are able to build wealth and enjoy a variety of lifestyles.”

(Click any zip code below for a map.)

Rank ZIP code Name
1 02176 Melrose, MA
2 43085 Columbus, OH (Worthington)
3 80122 Littleton, CO (Centennial)
4 75023 Plano, TX
5 48375 Novi, MI
6 78247 San Antonio, TX
7 63126 St. Louis, MO (Crestwood)
8 78729 Austin, TX (Jollyville)
9 58103 Fargo, ND
10 92010 Carlsbad, CA

Homes move faster here than anywhere else

Supply and demand are five times stronger in these 10 zip codes than the rest of the nation, with homes selling from four to nine times faster than the national average. Listings in these zip codes average 45 percent fewer days on market and listings are viewed three to eight times more than overall U.S. listings.

This report indicates that the employment market is strong in these areas, with a median household income of $71,000 for the top 10, fully 20 percent higher than their surrounding areas and 32 percent higher than the national average of $54,000. Further, the share of households earning $100,000 or more is 32 percent, 22 percent higher than their respective markets and one-third higher than the national average of 23 percent.

Unemployment rates in these metros have dropped five times faster than other metros in the country in just the last year. Detroit and St. Louis are the only metros experiencing unemployment rates over five percent. These zip codes average 22 percent lower unemployment than their surrounding metro areas.

Strong markets for millennial buyers

“Each of the neighborhoods on this list provides favorable conditions for millennials considering a home purchase,” indicates. “The median income of people ages 25-34 years old in these ZIP codes is 26 percent higher than their respective metros, and 50 percent higher than the national average. In half of these areas, millennials earn 35 percent more than other age groups in the same ZIP code. Novi, Mich., the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood, Mo., and Columbus suburb, Worthington, Ohio, rank high in affordability with the median household able to afford 60-70 percent of the inventory on the market.”

“Choosing a neighborhood to call home is not just a product of economic factors; it’s an intensely personal decision,” stated Smoke. “Non-economic ‘it factors’ such as strong school systems, short commutes and access to public transportation, as well as close proximity to shopping and restaurants also play an integral role in each market’s popularity.”

Market stats on the top 10:

02176 – Melrose is close to both Boston and Cambridge and has become a magnet for young professionals and families due to its relative affordability, access to public transportation and attractive downtown area.

  • Population: 27,690
  • Median income for households between the ages 25-34 years old is $88,000, 67 percent higher than the average millennial in the U.S.
  • Market unemployment dropped by 14 percent year over year in the last six months.
  • Median list prices in June 2015 were 5 percent higher than the surrounding metro, and grew 5 percent year over year in both May and June.

43085 – Worthington is a major relocation market. It benefits from being part of the Columbus, Ohio metro, which offers stable employment and is the headquarters of a number of financial services and insurance companies – such as Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Huntington Bancshares Inc. – as well as The Ohio State University.

  • Population: 13,837
  • Listings receive an average of 1,000 views per month – nearly three times more views than the rest of the metro, and seven times more than the national average.
  • Market unemployment is one of the lowest in the country – about 40 percent lower than the rest of the metro.
  • Median list prices in June were 26 percent higher than the surrounding metro, and grew 10 percent year over year during the first half of the year.

80122 – Centennial, a suburb of Littleton, is centrally located south of Denver at the intersection of I-70, which traverses the girth of the U.S. from Ohio to Utah, and I-25, which cuts a swath from New Mexico to Wyoming. Centennial boasts a major retail presence and proximity to the area’s largest employer, Lockheed Martin, and a new Charles Schwab campus opened in October 2014 that is expected to employ approximately 2,000.

  • Population: 30,457
  • Median income for 25-35 year old households is $88,000, 67 percent higher than the average millennial in the U.S. and 48 percent higher than the average millennial in the metro area.
  • Houses spend approximately two weeks on the market – the shortest number of days on market in the U.S.
  • Market unemployment dropped 20 percent year over year in the last six months.

75023 – Plano is a suburb of Dallas, and home to the corporate headquarters of Dell Services, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Ericsson and Frito-Lay Inc., as well as the future headquarters of Toyota Motors USA. Plano is also home to a new $2 billion, 240 acre mixed-use development, Legacy West, which is bringing more businesses and thousands of new jobs to the area.

  • Population: 46,733
  • Listings receive nearly 1,200 views per month on average, 2.4 times more views than the rest of the metro and eight times more than the national average.
  • Civilian labor force unemployment dropped 22 percent year over year over the last six months.
  • Share of $100,000 earning households is 36 percent and will increase to 40 percent by 2020 based on the latest five-year projections from Nielsen Demographics.

48375 – Novi is near the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Mich., the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Mich., as well as the Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., and is home to some of the region’s largest healthcare systems. It is centrally located with quick access to highways, the Detroit airport and a re-emerging downtown Detroit. The Novi Community School District is also a major draw for this ZIP code.

  • Population: 22,189
  • Median income for 25-34 year old households is $80,000, 50 percent higher than the average millennial household in the U.S.
  • Civilian labor force unemployment is 57 percent lower than in the rest of the metro, and has dropped by 30 percent year over year.
  • Median list prices in June were 22 percent higher than the metro.

78247 – San Antonio. Located in the city’s North Central district, 78247 is within San Antonio city limits that offers a suburban feel. San Antonio is home to the corporate headquarters of USAA, Valero Energy Corporation, Rackspace, NuStar Energy L.P. and Harland Clarke. Coined “Military City USA,” San Antonio has a large military presence with about 100,000 people employed by the armed forces.

  • Population: 49,514
  • Households and population have grown 7 percent in the past five years, two times faster than the rest of the country.
  • Share of $100,000 earning households is expected to grow by 15 percent by 2020.
  • Median list prices in June were 33 percent lower than the metro, and grew 7 percent year over year during the first half of the year.

63126 – Crestwood is a suburb of St. Louis. Home prices and quality of schools combined to propel Crestwood to No. 7 on the Top 10 list. The average cost of a home is about half the price of the neighboring ZIP codes of historic Kirkwood and Webster Groves. Crestwood is the most inexpensive community that feeds into Lindbergh Schools – a district that has received national honors and several state awards.

  • Population: 11,942
  • Median income for 25-34 year old households in this ZIP code is $73,000, 40 percent higher than the average millennial household in the U.S. and 38 percent higher than the average millennial in the metro area.
  • Civilian labor force unemployment is one of the lowest in the country and about 40 percent lower than the surrounding metro.
  • Home ownership rate is one the highest in the country at 84 percent, almost 20 percent higher than the U.S.

78729 – Austin, one of 78 ZIP codes in Austin, 78729 is located on the city’s north side, incorporating the residential Jollyville neighborhood, which offers prime access to many of the city’s major tech companies, including Apple, IBM and Dell. Jollyville feeds into one of the best school districts in the area, Round Rock ISD, and offers affordably priced homes, perfect for first-time buyers.

  • Population: 26,906
  • Median income for 25-34 year old households in this ZIP code is $73,000, 40 percent higher than the average millennial household in the U.S.
  • Share of $100,000 earning households is expected to grow 23 percent by 2020.
  • Population of millennials ages 25-34 is 23 percent, 75 percent higher than the U.S. average.

58103 – Fargo, a ZIP code that incorporates many smaller residential neighborhoods, 58103 is just southwest of Fargo’s downtown district. It is located just miles from the North Dakota State University campus, and provides many housing options for first-time home buyers. Ranked as the fourth fastest growing metropolitan area by the U.S. Census Bureau, Fargo is home to robust healthcare, technology, agriculture and education industries with corporate offices for Microsoft and Sanford Health.

  • Population: 48,859
  • Median household income has grown 7 percent year over year, and is forecasted to grow 17.5 percent by 2020, nearly three times faster than the national average.
  • Civilian labor force unemployment is one of the lowest in the country.
  • Population of millennials ages 25-34 is 20 percent, 50 percent higher than the U.S. average.

92010 – Carlsbad, nicknamed the “Village by the Sea,” is a tourist destination known for its Legoland theme park. It has four ZIP codes, two of which are right on the coast and extremely pricey. Prices in this region have been steadily increasing over the last 18 months. Located farther from the beach than the others, 92010 offers buyers a big selection of multi-family units, which is a way to get into the real estate market for under $600,000.

  • Population: 14,986
  • Share of $100,000 earning households is 35 percent, 55 percent higher than the U.S. average.
  • Median household income in this ZIP code is $71,000, 16 percent higher than in the rest of the metro.
  • Median list prices were $664,000 in June, 33 percent higher than the metro. They also grew 10 percent year over year during the first half of the year.

Don’t see your zip code? Here’s the top 50:



Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Real Estate Big Data

Ultra simple shortcut to attract new (or more) real estate investors

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) Without having to spend any money, this shortcut can attract more business to boost your bottom line with real estate investors – a win-win for the nation.



Whether you’re a real estate veteran, or looking to expand your services to the real estate investment world, a wild shortcut has just been launched, and you already have access to it for free if you’re a Realtor.

Realtors Property Resource (owned by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)), rolled out a map layer to unveil the Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) across the nation this year, and it’s a tool we should all be using regularly…

The QOZ program was created in 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and is designed to improve local economies (specifically the economically disadvantaged areas) through long-term investments with real estate investors.

There are 8,700 QOZs in America, and real estate investment and development in those areas are rewarded with tax incentives (potentially reducing their tax liability by 10-15%, and appreciation on the investment is tax free if held for at least 10 years).

And now, you can find the investment opportunities in seconds, generate reports for investors, connect with homeowners (via the “Mailing Labels” feature) in those areas, and so much more – the new RPR features combine to create one hell of a shortcut for you. Check it out:

Opportunity Zones

This is “Opportunity Zones” by Realtors Property Resource® on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

“With the Opportunity Zone initiative poised to transform American communities that have long been shunned by investors, NAR has developed resources to help facilitate and expedite investments in these areas. As our work continues, REALTORS® are committed to ensuring Americans can take full advantage of this valuable new initiative”, said Joseph Ventrone, NAR Vice President, Federal Policy and Industry Relations.

“These Opportunity Zones encourage private investment into low-income communities, with the intent of stimulating economic growth and job creation,” said Bob Turner, NAR’s 2019 Commercial Liaison and RPR Advisory Council Member. “Residential practitioners will notice homes that fall within Opportunity Zones gain a boost to their marketability because of increased attention, while Commercial practitioners will likely see properties once being skipped over turn into desirable investment opportunities.”

It’s not just a shortcut for practitioners and real estate investors, but meaningful help for underserved areas. Talk about a real win-win.

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Real Estate Big Data

NAR Report: How the home search process has changed in 2020

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) The 2020 National Association of Realtors annual report examined the home search process, with buyers utilizing online tools and agents to help find the perfect home.



Woman holding phone in lap, doing an online home search.

There’s extensive data and topics to research when it comes to the National Association of Realtors annual report – everything from the trust home sellers place in agents, home financing, home sales (naturally), and real estate professionals and their relationship with buyers. Practically every angle of this important market has been broken down and examined to help deliver a clear picture of real estate sales across the nation. It’s all extremely valuable and highly worth perusing (psst: search “NAR report”).

Of course, searching for a home is a pivotal and significant part of the entire process, and the NAR report has delivered an in-depth analysis of everything as well. Let’s take a look and see what current trends were revealed.

Initial Search

When it comes to looking for a home initially, there are two main options that most buyers tend to go with – searching online versus contacting outside help (primarily a real estate agent, but family and friends were also viable resources).

With the advent of the pandemic in 2020 keeping several people at home, online searches were at their all-time highest (though this trend has continued to increase in recent years). In fact, a staggering 97% of all buyers utilized the internet at some point during the process.

With the advent of the digital listings and databases, it’s been shown that 43% of buyers are first looking for properties online, compared to 18% that go to a real estate agent first. Speaking broadly, first time buyers were more likely to take this step first, and there was a direct increase as buyers were older (though this percentage decreases after the
age of 64).

First Step Taken During the Home Buying Process, First-time and Repeat Buyers

Real estate agents were definitely the second most used avenue during the search process, and this did increase with aging demographics as well. Perhaps due to greater familiarity with searching online, younger generations did look up information on buying their first home at a higher rate than older counterparts (13% with the younger group versus 6% with the oldest).

First Step Taken During Home Buying Process, by Age

Information Sources

Of course, when it comes to where to find information and best to listen to, real estate professionals reigned supreme (91% reported successfully being helped by agents), and were the primary resources for every demographic – first time buyers, repeat buyers, new homes, and previously owned homes. Online searches and open houses came second and third respectively, and yard signs and online video sites also saw a lot of utilization. Methods after this – print advertisements, billboards, relocation companies, and television sources – finished out the bottom, but there was a wide margin between them and other methods.

Information Sources Used in Home Search, by First Time and Repeat Buyers, and Buyers of New and Previously Owned Homes

Length of Time From Searching to Buying

Perhaps again owing to the nature of the pandemic, the average time a buyer used from search to purchase decreased (a first since 2014), needing only eight weeks. A median of nine homes were looked at (five online only).

First time buyers needed a little more time on average than repeat buyers (nine versus eight weeks). Agents were still utilized frequently in all instances, and were usually contacted within three weeks of the initial search.

Length of Home Search, by Region

Difficulty During the Process

It should come as no surprise that searching for a home is a massive undertaking, and can prove to be an arduous process given the magnitude of what it entails. Just finding the right home to purchase is seen as the most difficult step, with 53% of buyers saying it gave them the most trouble. Paperwork followed at 17%, while simply understanding the process from start to finish was cited by 15% of buyers. As might be expected, first time buyers reported more difficulty across the board in all areas than repeat buyers.

Most Difficult Steps of Home Buying Process by First Time and Repeat Buyers and Buyers of New and Previously Owned Homes

Online Searching Trends

Online searching was first examined in 1995, where only 2% of buyers would utilize the internet during their home search process. This increased repeatedly until 2009 to 90%, dipped slightly until 2012, and has since generally been rising. It was almost an even split between mobile and desktop devices, with younger buyers focusing more on mobile and older more likely to use a desktop/laptop.

Percentage of Time Using Devices in Home Search, by Age

There’s actually a lot of information to process when it comes to online search trends – married couples versus single buyers generally searched online more, desktop searches utilizing video sites more often than mobile (46% versus 40%), and mobile users generally finding their home through their online searches while desktop might generally direct buyers to complete the process with a real estate agent.

Value of Website Features

Of course, how a website helps direct a buyer is extraordinarily important to the home search process. Photos were the clear primary resource here, with 89% of buyers saying that images were extremely useful in the process.

Detailed information about properties followed at 86%, and then there was a significant jump to the next most important feature, as buyers reported that floor plans were important 67% of the time).

Value of Website Features

Next Steps After Searches

Once homes were found online that proved attractive, more than half of first (51%) and repeat (59%) buyers would proceed to walk through the home. Following this, buyers might then see the home but choose to skip seeing the inside (37%), or would contact a real estate agent for additional information (35%). First time buyers tended to look for more information in general (on the home itself, about mortgages, and so on) to better prepare themselves.

Actions Taken as a Result of Internet Home Search, First-Time and Repeat Buyers

Method of Home Purchases

Perhaps the best conclusion to draw here is the home purchase itself. When that time comes, agents are still used the overwhelming majority of the time regardless of a buyer using mobile or desktop more than 50% of the time. With the former, an agent helps 88% of the time, and 90% of the time otherwise. Builder agents or direct contact with the previously owner – known or not – are far overshadowed here.

Method of Home Purchase, by Use of Internet

Satisfaction with the Search Process

Given all of the tools and data available to buyers, 64% reported that they were very satisfied with the entire process, 30% were somewhat pleased, and the remaining group said they were unhappy.

Satisfaction with Buying Process


The NAR Report really shows an incredibly exhaustive look into the home search process. Generally speaking, with so much information available online, buyers were eager to search with devices first and speak with real estate agents early on in the process. Further, digital resources such as photos, floor plans, and other data proved incredibly useful in helping determine if buyers should seek out the home or continue their search.

Perhaps the best conclusions to draw here are that first and repeat home buyers are actively consuming data from online sources, but still rely heavily on agents to help guide them through the process (including ultimately with purchasing the home). Given the unique circumstances of the 2020 Pandemic, it’s clear that searches and next steps are best started through websites and other repositories, and are then usually followed with experts that can provide their professional experience. It’s likely that these trends will – on average – continue in ensuring years.

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Real Estate Big Data

Real estate myths created during the pandemic

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) Real estate is a finicky field, but the most popular myths surrounding the effects of COVID-19 on the market are purely unfounded.



real estate myths

In the past six months, there has undoubtedly been a large amount of misinformation regarding the Coronavirus, its treatment, and the long-term ramifications of a pandemic–a phenomenon that has affected, among other industries, real estate. Courtesy of SFGate, here are a few myths you’re likely to experience in the current market.

The first mythand, arguably, the most prevalent oneasserts that selling your home amidst COVID-19 restrictions is a poor choice. In fact, the opposite is true: Danielle Hale, a real estate expert, explains that people have been able to sell at relatively high rates despite the pandemic. “As long as buyer demand remains strong, I expect the market to remain tipped in favor of sellers,” she adds.

Of course, both taking the proper precautions during showings and maintaining social distancing–along with affording buyers an appropriate amount of grace when settling on a closing date–are important attributes of making a successful sale during this time.

Another myth you’ll probably hear about is tangentially connected to the first–that home prices are declining, thus making it, again, a bad time to sell. This is simply untrue; Lawrence Yun of the NAR points to low mortgage rates, as well as a general lack of people selling during this time, as the culprit. It makes sense that people would want to protect their investments for the time being, after all.

Thirdly, and lastly in the buying-and-selling myth pantheon, you’ll find that people are actually buying houses more now than they were before the pandemica direct answer to the myth that buyers are hesitant to close on properties for now. Just like the last item, you can look to low interest rates and high demand as the justification here.

Then, there is the myth that you can no longer tour homes in person seems real enough, and it may be standard practice for some sellers; however, the majority of homes being sold in the United States, as of now, are viewable in personand, more importantly, with the viewer’s safety at the forefront of the seller’s endeavors. However, SFGate does point out that, due to rising cases in much of the United States, some of these restrictions may eventually return.

Finally, the myth that buyers are actively attempting to leave cities in favor of suburb living seems to be circulating as of late. SFGate acknowledges that this myth is “partly true”, but that doesn’t mean city listings aren’t availablenor does it mean city dwellings will begin to lose their value. After all, urban living has consisted of largely prime real estate for as long as any of us can remember, and the Coronavirus probably won’t outlast that allure.

The bottom line is this: Real estate, like everything else, has been affected by COVID-19but it hasn’t been completely turned on its head and wiped out like some may think.

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