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The hottest housing markets of 2020 are far from the coasts

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 12/12/2019 Jacob Passy

Forget Seattle, Denver and San Francisco. Boise, Idaho, is poised to be the hottest housing market at the start of the next decade.

A new report from identified the housing markets that are expected to see the most notable home sales and price growth in 2020. Boise ranked No. 1, a marked increase from No. 8 a year ago.

Driving Boise’s climb up the ranking is the massive influx of new residents from pricier parts of the country — in particular, California. Many of these out-of-state buyers are drawn by the city’s mild climate, outdoor lifestyle, strong schools and its major employers, including HP and Micron Technologies.

Boise’s already seen a boom in terms of housing. A recent report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed that home prices in the Idaho state capital have risen 11.1% over the last year.

Read more: This new trend in house selling could cast a cloud over America’s property market

After Boise, McAllen, Texas, and Tucson, Ariz., ranked No. 2 and No. 3 on’s list. McAllen’s affordable home prices, combined with Texas’ favorable tax environment, have made the border city an attractive destination for home buyers looking to move. Tucson, meanwhile, has benefitted from an influx of retirees looking for warm weather and young adults looking to study at the University of Arizona or work for popular companies that have set up shop there like Amazon and Texas Instruments.

2020 RankMetropolitan areaMedian sales price
1Boise, Idaho$295,000
2McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas$152,000
3Tucson, Ariz.$230,000
4Chattanooga, Tenn.$189,000
5Columbia, S.C.$178,000
6Rochester, N.Y.$149,000
7Colorado Springs, Colo.$312,000
8Winston-Salem, N.C.$169,000
9Charleston-North Charleston, S.C.$270,000
10Memphis, Tenn.$188,000
11Salt Lake City, Utah$338,000
12Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.$274,000
13Knoxville, Tenn.$189,000
14Cleveland, Ohio$154,000
15Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash.$252,000
16Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.$255,000
17Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.$195,000
18Honolulu, Hawaii$583,000
19Akron, Ohio$151,000
20New Haven-Milford, Conn.$220,000
21Portland-South Portland, Maine$295,000
22Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.$236,000
23Raleigh, N.C.$294,000
24Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.$478,000
25Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.$219,000

Overall, the housing markets that are projected to be hottest in 2020 show a clear shift from years past, said George Raitu, senior economist at “For the last eight years, we’ve seen a rising tide lifting all cities,” he said. “I think 2020 will see a sharper delineation in geography.”

One of the biggest changes is the shift away from the coasts. All but one of the cities projected to be among the 10 hottest housing markets in 2020 are located inland — Charleston, S.C., being the outlier.

Other trends are also expected to drive people’s interest in certain parts of the country over others. described many of the hottest housing markets as “sister cities.” Areas like Memphis and Colorado Springs are similar — and close — enough to larger, pricier cities like Nashville and Denver to make them attractive alternatives.

And much like with Tucson, being in a popular retirement destination will continue to prove beneficial to people looking to sell their homes in cities with warmer climate, particularly as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age.

Meanwhile, some of the parts of the country that have proven to be among the most popular in recent years are expected to see a bit of a correction in 2020. Las Vegas, which ranked No. 7 last year, has dropped to the bottom of’s list for 2020. Sin City for a long stretch of time saw bumper home price growth, but the housing market there has cooled in recent months.

Similarly, sky-high home prices in places like San Diego, New York and Los Angeles are poised to put a damper on real-estate activity in those areas as most buyers are forced to the sidelines due to a lack of affordability.

Related video: Why California home prices are soaring (provided by The Wall Street Journal)

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