To Javier Vivas, manager of Realtor.com’s economic research team, it seems that “…in more markets than ever before, the million dollar home is the new benchmark for that green lawn and white picket fence.”  Vivas wanted to find out exactly which metro areas are the fastest growing markets for that green lawn, picket fence fantasy and so he did.

Realtor.com ranked 900 metro areas nationwide and compared the percentage of homes that were valued at over $1M in Q1, 2014 to the percentage of homes valued at over $1M in Q1, 2017.  The emphasis was on growth, so areas such as San Francisco didn’t qualify because it already had plenty of $1M homes in Q1, 2014, and didn’t have that much room to grow in terms of percentages.  Realtor.com limited the list to two metro areas per state.

Here are the top ten:

  1. Denver, CO – Growth of 6.1% from 3.3% in Q1,’14 to 9.4% in Q1, ’17. “The secret’s out that Denver’s a wonderful place to live,” says Jeff Plous, agent with One Realty in Denver.  “Lots of Californians…sold their homes for multi-millions, bought another home here for $1M and have plenty of cash in the bank…plus there’s an ever rising tide of young professionals offering cash for bungalows…in former working class neighborhoods.”
  2. Santa Rosa, CA – Growth of 6% from 8.1% in Q1,’14 to 14.1% in Q1,’17.  Housing refugees from San Francisco are flooding the market due to booming tech businesses. Kimberly Sethavanish, agent with Kimberly James, says, “They’d rather live here and have a little bit more land than an 800 sq. ft. house in the City.”
  3. Boulder, CO – Growth rate of 5.7% from 9% in Q1,’14 to 14.7% in Q1,’17.  This a small mountain town with big price tags that’s struggling with the lack of available housing in the midst of a tech boom.  It’s out of land to build new homes.
  4.  Truckee, CA – Growth rate of 5.3% from 7.1% in Q1, ’14 to 12.4% in Q1,’17.  Luxury community of Martis Camp is an exemplar.  It has a tournament standard golf course, private high speed lift to Northstar, a median list price of $3.5M and one home remaining at $1.8M.

    Old tavern in the main street of old west town Truckee.
  5. Fredericksburg, TX – Growth of 3.9% from 9.8% in Q1,’14 to 13.6% in Q1,’17.  This is Texas Hill Country with Austin one hour to the east and San Antonio one hour to the south. People want “recreational ranches” with 100 acres. It has the highest share of $1M households in the state at 6.5% of the population.
  6. Heber, UT – Growth of 3.7% from 6.8% in Q1,’14 to 10.5% in Q1,’17.  “Heber and Midway areas are big chunks of where future growth is,” says David Lawson with Enger and Volkers. “When people come to Park City (20 minutes north) and look at what their money gets them, these towns get all the more attractive.”
  7. Boston, MA – Growth of 3.1% from 6.8% in Q1,’14 to 9.9% in Q1, ’17.  Epic building boom has added thousands more luxury housing units in every corner of town.  Even perennially working class neighborhoods like South Boston are seeing budding market for $1M homes.
  8. Seattle, WA – Growth of 2.4% from 5.3% in Q1,’14 to 7.7% in Q1,’17.  Homebuyers are ‘tech wealthy” and “globally affluent.”  Newly constructed luxury condos with proximity to downtown are snapped up quickly.  Bungalows in “unimpressive” neighborhoods like Ballard and Delridge are being torn down for new development.
  9. Santa Fe, NM – Growth of 2.3% from 9.4% in Q1,’14 to 11.7% in Q1,’17.  Vacationers and retirees like clear skies, easy access to national forests, privacy, panoramic views and Pueblo-Spanish architecture.

    Downtown street view in Sta. Fe, New Mexico
  10. Charleston, SC – Growth of 2.1% from 4.9% in Q1,’14 to 7% in Q1,’17. Thomas Bennett with Carriage Properties says, “Charleston is sophisticated, artistic and has incredible food.  If you want a nice second home on the coast between NY and Florida, this is it.”