Most experienced agents agree that this year marks a turning point for real estate. But what are the strongest housing markets in 2021, and is now really the time to invest?
When the pandemic hit full force in early 2020, many potential sellers and homebuyers held off. As demand for property went down, real estate prices decreased. Later on, remote work became the new normal, and the market rebounded. People chose properties with extra space for home offices, housing inventory shrank and real estate prices went up.
In February 2021, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller property value index jumped 12% over February 2020 figures. That hasn’t happened since 2006. Historically low mortgage interest rates coupled with an increase in housing inventory herald the beginning of a buyer’s market. Just one question remains—are you in?
Why Invest in Real Estate Now?
National Association of Realtors data suggests home sales haven’t reached pre-pandemic levels—at least, not yet. Home sales fell 2.7% between March and April 2021. With that said, sales were still up 20% in the first quarter compared with Q1 2020.
Some areas are faring better than others from a price perspective—but all regions show a strong median increase. In the Midwest, sale prices are up 13.5%, while in the Northeast, prices have climbed 22% from a 2020 baseline. Those numbers indicate continued buyer interest.
On the one hand, increased prices point to a seller’s market. But on the other, increased prices within the market boost overall inventory because they encourage people to sell houses. In turn, prices stabilize.
The competition probably won’t be as fierce this year for other reasons, too. According to a recent survey by Clever Real Estate, 62% of renters who’d previously intended to buy a house in 2021 now plan to wait.
The same Clever poll found most sellers planned to list their properties in May, June, and September of 2021. Property prices might not rise as steeply between spring and fall this year, so now might be the right time to pounce on that dream home or real estate investment.
10 Strong Housing Markets in 2021
Ready to dig a little deeper? If you’re in the market for a house, these metro areas will have more competition than most. If you’re selling a home you’ll be highly in demand if you live in these areas. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the strongest housing markets in America in 2021.
- Dayton, Ohio
With a median sale price of $136,000. Dayton is an affordable housing market for new homebuyers. The city itself sustains a population of about 140,000, which is up 0.4% compared to 2020.
Projections indicate slow and sustained population growth continuing in the next few years, making Dayton an ideal location for property investors.
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Homebuyers and investors looking to buy property in Winston-Salem can expect to pay a median price of $220,450, which is a 16.9% increase year over year.
Located in the northern part of North Carolina near the Virginia border, Winston-Salem is a real estate investor’s dream. Last year, rental property prices increased 5%, and they’re on track to perform well in 2021, too.
- Allentown, Pennsylvania
Allentown is arguably one of the most competitive real estate markets out there. It’s also one of the most lucrative. Houses sell after an average of just seven days on the market, and property prices have increased 19.5% in the past year.
If you want to buy a home in Allentown, set aside roughly $204,127. Pundits expect Pennsylvania’s housing market to stay strong well into the future, making Allentown a good choice for investors.
- Provo, Utah
Homebuyers who plan to spend money in Provo should budget $372,969 for a median-price property. Provo has a great long-term record when it comes to property value appreciation—42.9% over the last 10 years, in fact—making it a top property investment destination.
Sandwiched between the Wasatch Mountains and Utah Lake, Provo is a scenic place to call home. It isn’t surprising, then, that 46.5% of properties sold above list value in early 2021.
- Ogden, Utah
Another hot housing market in Utah, Ogden is a prime target for middle-class urbanites looking to move location. Case in point: Homes often go from listed to pending in less than a week. The median sold house price in Ogden is currently around $350,00—38.8% more year over year.
A former frontier town, modern Ogden has much to offer. Hiking trails, rivers, museums, and restaurants make this mountain town an interesting place to live.
- New Haven, Connecticut
In New Haven, the median home price in early 2021 was roughly $$225,758. This architecturally interesting coastal city is the home of Yale University, and its many museums and galleries make it a cultural gem.
Investors looking to buy in Connecticut can’t do much better than New Haven—if they can get in the door, that is. Homes in the city don’t hit the market very often, and when they do, they generally sell within a month.
- Wichita, Kansas
According to local buyers, the housing market in Wichita is “crazy” right now. The median property price in Wichita stood at $184,900 in May 2021, making the city a solid destination for first-time homebuyers and property investors looking to make bank.
Wichita’s real estate market didn’t slow down as much as other markets during the pandemic, and it’s been busier than ever in 2021. Homes in Wichita cost about 12.8% more now than they did in early 2020, and local real estate agents expect them to increase in value even more over the next few years.
- Austin, Texas
To invest in a home in Austin, you’ll need to spend about $521,833. That’s over 25% more than you’d have spent in 2020—and prices are forecast to go up in the next few months. According to CBS News, Austin is in the middle of a housing boom, with buyers spending far more than expected on luxury waterfront properties.
Blessed with warm or at least temperate weather nearly all year round, Austin is the culturally diverse southern hub for a host of tech companies. Houses generally stay on the market about a month before they’re snapped up.
- Stamford, Connecticut
Stamford is the most expensive place on our list. In February 2021, its median sold property price was $$541,843. According to local real estate agents, however, the high price point didn’t put buyers off in 2020. New Yorkers looking to move out of the city bought properties in Stamford en masse, for instance.
Located on Long Island Sound, Stamford is a growing city, and its residents enjoy easy access to beaches, bird sanctuaries, and scenic trails. According to the FBI, Stamford is Connecticut’s safest city—and it’s the 11th safest city in the whole of the United States.
- Boise City, Idaho
Boise City is officially booming. In early 2021, its median sold property price was $475,000—a huge 41% increase since last year. The seat of Ada County, Boise is the biggest city in Idaho, and it’s getting bigger every day.
According to a report by Boise Regional Realtors, 11,784 homes sold in Ada County in 2020. Zillow predicts that homes in the area will appreciate in value by as much as 10% in 2021.
The Real Estate Wrap
With the COVID-19 pandemic in full retreat, optimism is up. The real estate market will probably find an equilibrium as supply and demand balance out—but most experts agree that isn’t likely to happen for a year or two. In the short term, house prices will probably rise less quickly than they did between 2020 and 2021.
This article was a contribution by credit.com. Resources and references used by the writer include: