New data from Zillow tells us which places were the most popular and the most searched on its website during 2021.

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In 2021, millions of workers became more committed than ever to remote working.   With that commitment to remote working, millions of workers flat-out moved or dreamed of moving to places where they wanted to live without having to leave their jobs.

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Most Searched and Popular Places of 2021, according to Zillow

Zillow measured page-view traffic, available housing inventory, price appreciation factors and other data points to come up with the most searched places of 2021.  Zillow used various housing categories such as college towns or vacation towns or suburbs or small towns or the most popular place searched overall, to better describe the types of housing.

According to a Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton, “…those who can now work remotely, at least occasionally, are exploring new opportunities in areas that offer relative affordability and year-round outdoor living.”

Most Popular Place Overall

  1. South Lake Tahoe CA
    1. This year-round vacation, resort town accounted for 5,649 page views per listing making it the number one most popular town in the vacation home category.
    2. This vacation destination, only two hours from Sacramento and three from the Bay Area, was the second most popular destination in the small-town category.
  2. Calabasas CA
    1. A-list celebrities and others who plunk down an average $1.5 – $1.6M for a typical home in Calabasas love this surfing town.
    2. It’s not unusual for buyers here to pay +$1M over list prices for the opportunity to live here.
  3. Malibu CA
    1. This coastal colony with spectacular ocean views has been a favorite with the rich and famous for decades.
    2. Malibu has a typical home valuation of +$3.7M.

Most Popular Beach Towns

  1. Newport OR
    1. Newport along the central coast of Oregon had among the highest number of listings with the word “beach” in it as well as page views per listing.
    2. Its beaches offer natural beauty and marine wildlife with a typical home valuation of $428,534.
  2. Naples FL
    1. This Gulf Coast city offers residents a booming job market, excellent schools, cultural attractions, shopping, dining AND white sandy beaches.
    2. Naples offers vacationers white sandy beaches, cultural attractions, shopping and dining.
  3. Lincoln City OR
    1. Also on Oregon’s central coast, Lincoln City’s typical house valuation is $456,920.
    2. Residents are attracted to magnificent ocean views, sandy beaches, hilltop homes, and suburban living.

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Most Popular Retirement Towns

  1. Lavallette NJ
    1. Lavallette NJ beat out 7 of top 10 retirement towns in Florida by having one of the highest numbers of retirees per town (65 years plus) and the most page views per listing.
    2. The typical home valuation of this Jersey shore town is $874,325.
  2. Dunedin FL
    1. Dunedin has Gulf Coast beaches AND pine forests of Honeymoon Island State Park.
    2. The typical home valuation is $359,877 and its cost of living is -8% below the national average.
  3. Pete Beach FL
    1. Pete Beach is located on a barrier island west of St. Petersburg
    2. The typical home valuation is $607,558

Most Popular College Towns

  1. Tempe AZ
    1. Arizona State University has a huge student body of over 150,000 students.
    2. Rental demand is high as are the number of rental listings and resulting searches.
  2. Claremont CA
    1. Claremont is home to small liberal art colleges including Claremont McKenna College, Pomona College, Pitzer College, Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College.
    2. This small city with a population of approximately 36,000 is known as “the city of trees and PhDs.”
  3. Narragansett RI
    1. Home to the state’s largest university with +18,000 students, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett is a lively summertime destination for New Englanders.

Most Popular Vacation Towns

  1. Big Bear Lake CA
    1. Big Bear Lake has some of the most vacation or secondary units in the country as well as high pending sales growth than the nation.
    2. Big Bear’s location within the San Bernardino National Forest offers year-round outdoor activities.
  2. Lake Arrowhead CA
    1. Lake Arrowhead offers hiking, skiing, cycling and fishing also within the San Bernardino National Forest.
  3. Holmes Beach FL
    1. Northwest of Sarasota along Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach offers snow white sand and crystalline turquoise waters.

Thanks to Zillow and Inman.


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