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As we enter 2019, we thought we would look at some of the hottest housing markets around. Where are people having to put out the most cash in order to get into a home? What makes demand in these areas so high?

Read on if you’re looking to buy or refinance a home, or see which cities around the country are particularly hot at the moment.

The housing statistics in this article come from the National Association of REALTORS® median home price data for the third quarter of 2018.


Many of the top markets, in terms of price at the beginning of this year, are out West. Let’s look at some of them.

San Jose/Santa Clara, California

San Jose, California

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $1.3 million

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 11.6%

Fed by a proliferation of high-paying jobs courtesy of Silicon Valley and exacerbated by a shortage of available housing, this area is the one on the list where median prices crack seven  figures.

Unemployment is under 3%, and the area is # 5 on the Forbes list of best places for education. The median income in the area is $114,411.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $818,600

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 7.7%

I would imagine living in Honolulu every day is a little slice of paradise, with the year-round warmth and access to some of the world’s best beaches, but it’s also incredibly expensive, mostly because it costs so much to ship goods from the mainland.

Here are some cool random facts about Honolulu.  Although I couldn’t find confirmation that this law is actually enforced, it’s technically illegal in Honolulu not to own a boat. There’s also a public parks ordinance on the island that says you can’t annoy any animal. It strikes me that the definition of “annoyance” might vary, depending on whom you ask. Still, if people in Honolulu are feeling peeved, they can just chill on one of the beaches in the area – there are more than 100.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $604,200

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 7.2%

While Boulder may not be cheap, it was named the happiest place in the U.S. by National Geographic as recently as 2017. Move over, Disney World!

Per capita, more people walked worked in the city than anywhere else in the U.S. If you’re a beer enthusiast, Boulder boasts 24 breweries.


It may be the nation’s smallest region in terms of new home sales on a consistent basis, but that’s because the Northeast is already a region that’s very built-up. The lack of availability for new developments makes the houses that are available more expensive.

Some of the areas here are a case in point.


Boston, Massachusetts

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $491,400

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 5.9%

Boston is consistently near the top of our list of undervalued housing markets, based on the fact that appraisal values are coming in at nearly 3% higher than homeowner estimates.

Did you know that the Red Sox have a patent for the shade of green that’s on the Green Monster: Fenway Green? Who knew you could patent a color?

If you’re more into sweets than baseball, the city is also home to the first chocolate factory ever built in the U.S.

Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York

Long Island, New York

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $491,100

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 4.4%

These counties are on Long Island, and much like other real estate in and around New York City, homes here  can be in short supply and pricey.

Long Island counts poet Walt Whitman and former  first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis among its famous residents. A great white shark captured off the coast served as inspiration for Peter Benchley when he penned his  best-selling novel “Jaws.” Think of Long Island next time you’re humming John Williams’ theme from Steven Spielberg’s 1975 summer blockbuster.

Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut

Bridgeport, Connecticut

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $476,500

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 5.2%

Bridgeport happens to be the founding location of the Subway sandwich shop, then known as Pete’s Subway. Meanwhile, Norwalk is known for its beaches.

Fans of “The Office” will recognize Stamford as the place Karen Filippelli and Andy Bernard called home when viewers first met them on the show.


The South is widely cited as the nation’s fastest-growing housing region. Let’s look at a couple of areas where price growth matches the pace of building.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $426,000

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 4.3%

Some would argue Washington, D.C. is more in the Mid-Atlantic, but for simplicity, I’ve split the nation into four regions, much like the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The nation’s capital constantly has a lot of people associated with the day-to-day operations of government and politics  moving in and out. As a result, places to live in and around the city can be in short supply.

Since Washington is probably one of the most watched cities in history, it’s hard to find things not everyone knows, but I’m going to give it a shot. There’s an empty crypt under the Capitol. Former President George Washington was to be buried there, but he chose to be buried on his estate at Mount Vernon in Virginia instead.

Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $425,000

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Decrease: 1.1%

Naples purports to have some of the top beaches in the country. It’s also home to a couple of major wildlife refuges.

It’s also a good place to hit the links, as there are more than 80 championship golf courses in the area.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $318,200

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 7.4%

Austin has a burgeoning tech and cultural scene that serves as one of the main reasons it’s so attractive. Many tech companies have Austin-based offices, and the influx of people has driven real estate prices up in the last decade.

It also doesn’t hurt the mood to realize that Austin gets 300 days of sunshine. It’s enough to make a Michigander jealous.


While property values have gone up across the country, they’re moving up a little slower in America’s heartland. That’s not to say there aren’t some areas that are a little more high-rent than others, though.

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $286,700

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 4.8%

Madison is the home of the University of Wisconsin Badgers. Being a college town, it can have a short supply of housing when the students come back each fall.

Speaking of UW Madison, that’s where The Onion got its start in 1988 (not in 1756 as the site claims) under the leadership of Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson. And unlike The Onion, I’m not kidding about that.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $286,200

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 6.7% 

You won’t get very far in this city without hearing someone say, “Go blue!” The University of Michigan’s fight song talks about its students being the leaders and best. An influx of those leaders brings up housing prices every fall, but on the plus side, you could rent to students.

My brother went to the University of Michigan, and Quicken Loans is based in Detroit, so I’m extremely familiar with U of M. It does a ton of great research around Ann Arbor. One of the big initiatives the public might see is the autonomous car testing. Companies have taken advantage of the urban environment and talent pool of smart people to set up shop working on the cars of the future.

Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Median Home Value in Q3 2018: $274,500

Median Home Value Year-Over-Year Increase: 6.5%

Minneapolis is home to the Mall of America, and the area  really caters to shopping there. There is no sales tax on clothing or shoes, so it’s a shopper’s paradise.

It’s no secret that it gets cold in Minnesota. For this reason, there are 7 miles of connected skyway spanning 69 blocks, so you won’t have to step out into the cold as much in the downtown area.

We hope you had fun on this little journey with us. Now that you know little more about property values, if you’re ready to buy or refinance a home, you can get your application started online or give us a call at (800) 785-4788.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Median home prices is one part of choosing a city or town to live. The job market should be the top priority since most people who relocate (like we did in 1996) usually rent a place to live and then search for a home in a neighborhood they find acceptable. In addition to the job and housing markets, taxation is also a must in the choice. The west and east coast states are also the most taxed and most populated. Both have internal issues that could be a real problem concerning safety and education. It’s always a personal choice but all, not some, factors need to be taken into consideration.
    Thanks for the article. It was entertaining.

    1. Hi Chris:

      I absolutely agree that there are many factors that go into selecting the right home for someone. Price takes a backseat to the needs of a household. You need to make sure the move makes sense for you economically as well as socially. When you have kids, the schools also become especially important. Thanks for sharing your perspective! I’m also gratified to hear that you thought it was entertaining! Have a great day!

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