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    It’s a Spring Shake-Up for the Hottest Real Estate Markets in February 2020

     | Mar 5, 2020

    It’s springtime in the Rockies! As the nation gears up for the spring buying season, Colorado Springs, CO, has vaulted back to the top of realtor.com®’s monthly ranking of the hottest markets for real estate activity.

    With affordability top of mind in recent months, smaller markets have dominated the ranking, which reflects the markets getting the most clicks on their listings and where homes spend the fewest days on the market before being snapped up. Fort Wayne, IN, broke its seven-month streak as the nation’s hottest housing market in February, tumbling to No. 16. (Lafayette, IN, on the other hand, moved up from No. 4 in January to No. 2.)

    Colorado Springs, which last held the top spot in May 2019, has been hovering around the top 10 since 2017, and sat at No. 10 in January. Once seen as a spillover market for Denver, it has emerged as a prime destination in its own right, with its year-round sunny weather, gorgeous mountain setting, outdoorsy lifestyle, and a burgeoning tech scene.

    There were two major factors influencing the February ranking, says Javier Vivas, director of economic research at realtor.com. One was the historically low mortgage rates, which mean more would-be buyers can qualify to buy a home.

    “These are the lowest mortgage rates ever recorded for February,” he says. “If you go back to the ’70s, even the ’60s, the 30-year [fixed-rate mortgage] is at the lowest point ever.”

    The other big factor was the extra-warm winter, which encouraged buyers to hit the open houses earlier in the year.

    “Colorado Springs is a very seasonal market, but the end of February was very warm for them—which is great for the spring home-buying season starting earlier,” he says.

    The number of new construction permits issued in February was double that of the previous February, which likely means more home shopping and sales activity down the road, he adds.

    The warm weather also boosted the Boston metro to the strongest performance year over year, jumping 38 spots compared with the year before to No. 13. (The metro includes surrounding smaller cities and towns like Newton and Cambridge.) In February 2019, Bostonians were cursing the frigid temperatures brought by the polar vortex; this February, they were wearing shorts and frolicking in the snow-free streets.

    Meanwhile, expensive California cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento slipped further down in the ranking, although they managed to stay within the top 20. Their smaller neighbors Yuba City and Modesto, on the other hand, saw their positions improve.

    Here are the top 20 hottest markets in America. (The full list of 100 metros is also available.)

    The hot list

    Metro Rank (February 2020) Rank (February 2019)
    Colorado Springs, CO 1 2
    Lafayette, IN 2 18
    Modesto, CA 3 16
    Rochester, NY 4 10
    Sacramento, CA 5 4
    Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 6 12
    Yuba City, CA 7 5
    San Francisco, CA 8 6
    Fresno, CA 9 17
    Stockton-Lodi, CA 10 11
    Spokane, WA 11 9
    San Jose, CA 12 34
    Boston, MA 13 13
    Columbus, OH 14 19
    Dayton, OH 15 36
    Fort Wayne, IN 16 7
    Bakersfield, CA 17 21
    Pueblo, CO 18 22
    Canton, OH 19 15
    Visalia-Porterville, CA 20 31
    Cicely Wedgeworth is the managing editor of realtor.com. She has worked as a writer and editor at Yahoo, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.

     

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