There are lots of reasons to choose a place to put down roots. Maybe you’ve been transferred for work. Maybe you’ve always wanted to own real estate in Charleston, SC, and you’ve found a deal that’s too good to pass up. Whether you’re looking for an investment or a new city with new opportunities, Trulia has compiled a list of the top 10 real estate markets poised for growth in 2017 based on five key metrics including high affordability, strong job growth, low vacancy rates, home searches on Trulia, and, because of the 2016 election’s outcome, a big population of Republicans. Did your favorite city make the cut?
1. Jacksonville, FL: Jobs and a great location
Situated on the banks of the St. Johns River and oft-considered part of southern Georgia given its proximity to its northern neighbor, Jacksonville, FL, has quite a bit going for it. Why is it so appealing? First, there are serious job opportunities. Jacksonville posted a 3.8% job growth rate in 2016, which makes it one of the healthiest markets for employment opportunities in the state. Second, there’s an increasing influx of people — which contributes to the area’s very high ratio of inbound home searches on Trulia by out-of-towners versus outbound searches by locals looking to leave. “There are so many people moving here and very little leaving,” explains Michael Paull, an area real estate agent. “There’s long-term economic stability here plus great schools, fantastic weather, and proximity to the ocean.”
2. Cape Coral–Fort Myers, FL: Baseball’s king in the spring
Sure, the weather is certainly a huge draw for this area of the country. But the reason this metro came in at number two goes beyond sunny skies and 80-degree weather. One word: jobs. It has high job growth (fourth in the nation!) and a sharp drop in vacancy rates over the past year. Many of those jobs stem from the hospitality industry and real estate. “And then Fort Myers, FL is home to baseball’s Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins during spring training every year, which boosts the economy even more every spring,” says Pat Eberle of RASO Realty in Cape Coral, FL.
3. Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach, FL: No better weather
Weather is a big draw for this part of the country, which is probably one reason Florida features prominently in this list. “When I look at the major weather systems every day, I always think to myself, ‘I live in the safest part of the country,’” says Lonnie Marandino, owner/broker with Realty Experts by the Beach in Ormond Beach, FL. “Winds here are never strong enough to affect structures because there are never any hurricanes.” But the area ranks third on Trulia’s list because of its strength in two categories: It has a very high ratio of inbound-to-outbound home searches on Trulia and has strong job growth.
4. Grand Rapids, MI: Rising up the ranks
Grand Rapids, MI gets points for its affordability — but it’s also booming. Job growth increased by 2.7% over the last year. “Grand Rapids has had very steady economic growth, plus it’s fairly diverse,” explains Jordan Painter, an associate broker with RE/MAX Sunquest in Grand Rapids. “There are jobs in the medical industry, manufacturing, education. People from all backgrounds can find a job here.”
5. Tampa–St. Petersburg, FL: Job growth in the Big Guava
Another Florida metro region joins the list with Tampa, FL. “With major developments like the Vinick-Cascade project being built in downtown Tampa, major jobs are being created,” explains Terry Knight, a Realtor with Keller Williams in south Tampa. Plus, with the University of South Florida and University of Tampa in the area, education jobs are a prominent part of the employment possibilities for those looking to move to the area.
6. Colorado Springs, CO: Enjoy the best of all four seasons
Colorado Springs, CO can give any of the Florida markets on this list a run for their money when it comes to climate. While Florida has sun and sand the majority of the year, Colorado Springs features “great hiking, skiing, mountain biking, all within an easy drive or sometimes a short walk,” explains Jeff Johnson, a real estate agent with RE/MAX in Colorado Springs. “And to top it all, we’ve got a mild climate all year round. You can go run or mountain bike in February, then get snow the next day. Where else could you do that?” Add to that the city’s affordable housing and high job growth, and it’s no wonder U.S. News & World Report named it the fifth-best place to live in 2016.
7. Charleston, SC: High affordability in the Lowcountry
There’s good reason Charleston, SC is consistently named a top city to live in the U.S. by the readers of Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler — not only is the city charming and clean, but it also boasts a fantastic culinary scene, proximity to the ocean, and a rich history and culture. But beyond the beauty of Charleston are the practical reasons to move here. “Organizations that have a global impact such as Boeing and Volvo have chosen to park their business in our backyard, and in doing so, have helped bolster employment opportunities and spurred our local economy,” explains Dan Garrison, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. Plus, the area is high on the housing affordability index. “Charleston has already surpassed all of 2015 in total units sold as of the end of November, while overall inventory of homes remain low,” adds Garrison. “Recent data shows our region holds a median price of $240,000. Combined with still incredibly low interest rates, that makes this area still affordable, and most often, cheaper to own than rent.”
8. San Antonio, TX: Lone Star living
San Antonio, TX is easily one of the biggest military cities in the U.S., and because of that, the cost of living in this Lone Star town is one of the best in the South. “There’s also steady supply and demand for homes,” explains Lisa Sinn, a real estate agent with Keller Williams. “That means home prices are more affordable.” Added to the low cost of living are the steady job opportunities from major employers such as USAA, Toyota, and H-E-B (grocery store chain), making it easy to see why San Antonio’s on Trulia’s radar. “The culture here is also extremely diverse,” adds Sinn, who notes the city’s culture and history are added bonuses to San Antonio residents.
9. Phoenix, AZ: Life’s a cinch in the Valley of the Sun
The country’s eighth-largest city has much to offer beyond its stunning geography and easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and more. “It’s easy living [here],” says Monique Walker, an agent with RE/MAX Excalibur. “Even though it’s one of the largest cities in the U.S., you can easily get around from one end of the city to the other without encountering traffic and congestion.” The true draw of Phoenix, AZ, though, is its affordability. “First-time homebuyers can find great inventory for homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range,” says Walker. “While those looking for higher-end homes can easily find one in the $1 million-plus range. There’s a vast diversity in home prices, which is why Phoenix is appealing to so many people.”
10. North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, FL: Glorious in the Gulf Coast
The last Florida city to round out the top 10 is located in the Gulf Coast region of the state. While the weather is the most obvious draw to the area, it’s much more than sunny skies and 80-degree days that attracts people. “Unlike other Florida markets, this area is a full-time community, meaning that it’s not a transient- or vacation-driven community,” says Robert Anderson, the top agent for RE/MAX in Sarasota, FL. “Not only does it deliver on the natural beauty of its beaches and weather, but it also has the critical infrastructure — the arts, great schools, small to medium-size companies, small universities — that [is] critical to making a great community.”