The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com have released the WSJ/Realtor.com Winter 2023 Emerging Housing Market Index, and both the Johnson City and Kingsport-Bristol metro areas landed in the top 10.
Johnson City clocked in at fifth while Kingsport-Bristol was ranked seventh. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind. earned the top spot on the list, which analyzes key housing market data as well as economic vitality and lifestyle metrics to identify housing markets that offer a high quality of life and are expected to see future home price appreciation.
Nationally, the housing market is facing a correction due to the combination of high mortgage rates and home prices. As a result, home sales have declined sharply and inventories have grown. The yearly average increase in the number of homes for sale across the top 20 markets is 21 percent compared to 30 percent nationally.
An emerging trend on this quarter’s list is smaller markets with healthy economies and easy commutes. Only two of the top 20 markets – Columbus, Ohio, and Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Alllis, Wisconsin – have more than a million residents. Average unemployment of the 20 markets on the list is 3 percent, and although wages lagged behind the national average, the low cost of living helped make up for the gap.
While most of the markets on the list rely heavily on local housing demand, Johnson City was singled out as a market that attracts an outsized share of out-of-market buyers. Johnson City was one of eight housing markets that was also included on the WSJ/Realtor.com Fall 2022 list.