2022's Most Popular Real Estate Markets Are Actually Surprising

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The impact of the ongoing pandemic has left an indelible mark on our society's collective lifestyle, and has reverberated across industries. The work-from-home revolution spurred by the coronavirus is one of the more significant shifts in many of our day-to-day lives, which has inevitably affected major life decisions — including where to live.

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The home-buying experts over at Zillow have dug into their database to compile a report outlining the most popular U.S. markets so far in 2022, analyzing its page-view traffic, home value growth, and for-sale inventory for more than 1,000 cities. Their findings align with pandemic-prompted changes in behavior and priorities, with pricey suburbs just outside of major cities topping the list. Woodinville, Washington, claimed the top spot, followed by Burke, Virginia, and Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

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"​​The most popular markets so far this year paint a picture of how remote work has changed the U.S. housing landscape," said Zillow economist Nicole Bachaud. "Demand for suburban homes found an extra gear last summer, perhaps as buyers gained more clarity in their employers' return-to-office policies. Research suggests the rise of remote work is responsible for roughly half of home price growth during the pandemic."

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Bachaud adds that how employers move forward with work-from-home policies will continue to dictate the markets in the future.

Every city on this "10 most popular markets" list is a suburban area that's approximately 30 minutes outside of the nearest city center, with home values in each growing faster than in the metro's largest city. Zillow says this is in direct contrast to previous norms from the first 15 months of the pandemic. The takeaways from this reversal could not be more obvious: Homebuyers are prioritizing space and affordability over a short commute, as it's become increasingly clear that our work-from-home culture is here to stay.

  1. Woodinville, Washington (Seattle)
  2. Burke, Virginia (Washington, D.C.)
  3. Highlands Ranch, Colorado (Denver)
  4. Westchase, Florida (Tampa)
  5. Edmonds, Washington (Seattle)
  6. Yorba Linda, California (Los Angeles)
  7. Johns Creek, Georgia (Atlanta)
  8. Tustin, California (Los Angeles)
  9. Ballwin, Missouri (St. Louis)
  10. Golden, Colorado (Denver)

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