Bye, big metros: Secondary housing markets see spike

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Prices, inventory issues drive buyers toward outlying cities

It seems home buyers are starting to look outside major metro areas – and even major suburbs, in order to find their dream homes. According to new data from, demand is rising in outlier housing markets across the nation, with Spokane, Washington leading the pack.

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Outside the lines

As home prices in major metros and surrounding suburbs grow, buyers, are looking further out to find the right fit. And according to Javier Vivas, director of economic research at, it’s causing a surge in demand in some of the nation’s secondary housing markets.

“Buyers have traditionally sought refuge in the suburbs during times of high home prices,” Vivas said, “but with today’s record highs, even the suburbs have gotten pricey, which has demand flooding outward as options disappear and prices move further out of reach in top job hubs.”

Forecast predicts boost in housing inventory, sales in 2018

According to, inventory issues play a big role.

“One of the largest factors driving people to these markets is inventory availability,” reported. “Approximately 1.3 percent of all the homes in these areas are available for sale, compared to 0.9 percent of homes in the top 100 largest U.S. metros.”

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Where they’re heading

Fortunately, there are still many markets where affordability, availability and a healthy local job market merge. Dubbed “America’s Top 10 Markets to Watch,” ranked these up-and-coming secondary home markets based on home prices, inventory levels and job availability.

Spokane came out as the clear winner, with a median listing price of $264K, a median income of $51,000 and projected job growth of 2.7 percent for the year. The majority of searches for Spokane properties came from nearby Seattle, where the median price is $500,000.

Don’t have deep pockets? Avoid buying a home in Washington

Portland, Maine took the No. 2 spot, while Knoxville, Tennessee took third. Rounding out the top 10 were Deltona-Daytona Beach, Florida; Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida; Bakersfield, California; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga has the lowest median home price on the list at $230K, while Charleston had the highest, at $364K.

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Want to get in on one of these up-and-coming outlier markets? Shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Mar 26th, 2019)