Key Highlights

  • First-ever Emerging Housing Markets Index created by Wall Street Journal and
  • Analyses based upon prosperity, vitality and diversity indicators as well as housing indicators

WSJ/RDC Creates Inaugural Edition of Emerging Housing Markets Index

The Wall Street Journal and have joined forces to create the WSJ/RDC Emerging Housing Markets Index in response to “outward” migration patterns inspired by the COVID pandemic.

This new WSJ/RDC Emerging Housing Markets Index analyzed data of the 300 most populous core-based areas as measured by the US Census Bureau.  This Index developed its rankings on markets that would provide both strong investment returns as well as nice places to live.

Top Three High-End Markets to Watch

Newfound flexibility around where and how people work and live has created new luxury markets in places once under the radar.

  1. Provo-Orem UT
  2. Coeur d’Alene ID
  3. Reno NV

Danielle Hale, chief economist with, told Mansion Global that the Index’s rankings are about more than “just” the housing market.  “It’s about being able to enjoy life…” in places “…a bit more remote and that have high quality of life (reflecting) how people’s demands have shifted because of the pandemic.”

Blend of Indicators Used to Assess Emerging Housing Markets

In its assessment and analysis of the top Emerging Housing Markets, the Wall Street Journal and considered a mix of prosperity, vitality and diversity indicators including:

  • Growth in housing supply and demand
  • Median listing prices
  • Unemployment figures
  • Wages
  • Cost of living measures
  • Small businesses
  • Amenities
  • Share of foreign-born residents

Top Overall Inaugural Rankings

  1. Coeur d’Alene ID
  2. Austin-Round Rock TX
  3. Springfield OH
  4. Billings MT
  5. Spokane-Spokane Valley WA
  6. Lafayette-West Lafayette IN
  7. Reno NV
  8. Concord NH
  9. Manchester-Nashua NH
  10. Santa Cruz-Wilsonville CA

All ten of these markets have strong demand in relation to supply with an average appreciation rate of +27% last year.  Median listing prices averaged $519,100 in these top emerging markets while the whole list of 300 markets averaged median listing prices of $366,100.  Also, these top 10 emerging housing markets had vacancy rates averaging 8.3% compared with 12.2% across the broad list of 300 markets.

Next Upcoming Markets to Watch

  1. Burlington NC
  2. Akron OH
  3. Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna CA
  4. Appleton WI
  5. Modesto CA
  6. Prescott AZ
  7. Columbus OH
  8. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade CA
  9. Madison WI
  10. Columbia MO

These “upcoming” markets are still a bit of a secret to non-local home shoppers.  Once that secret becomes gossip, it’s a good bet that non-local investors and individuals alike will look to these “upcoming” markets.


Thanks to The Wall Street Journal,, US Census Bureau and MansionGlobal. 

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