The 17 Most Popular Housing Markets on Zillow in 2023

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

West Chester Pennsylvania
Padula Aerial Imaging /

If you could live anywhere, where would you go? In 2023, people searching on Zillow were looking for smaller cities, according to a year-end wrap-up from the real estate website.

In compiling its list, Zillow looked at housing metrics that indicate consumer demand, including:

  • Page-view traffic
  • Home value growth
  • Days on market

Following is a look at the most popular towns in various categories.

Most popular large cities

Houses in Chula Vista, California
bonandbon /

Winner: Chula Vista, California, is the second-largest city in San Diego County, with a population of 276,000. From coastal landscape to mountains and many miles of trails, the city lives up to its name, which means “beautiful view.”

And things are getting even better with construction of the 535-acre Chula Vista Bayfront project now underway. It will feature a waterfront resort, convention center, parks and residential housing.

Rounding out the top spots in this category are: Fort Wayne, Indiana; San Diego, California; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Durham, North Carolina

Most popular seaside towns

South Portland, Maine
Sean Pavone /

Winner: South Portland, Maine, is a relatively small city of 27,000 residents. Located on Casco Bay, it is home to Maine’s largest shopping mall and famous local restaurants such as the Saltwater Grille and the ice cream shop Willard Scoops.

Of course, you will find plenty of natural beauty here too, including Bug Light Park, which is named after a small nearby lighthouse.

Rounding out the top spots in this category are: West Haven, Connecticut; Milford, Connecticut; and Oceanside, California.

Most popular college towns

West Chester, Pennsylvania
LittleKitty /

Winner: West Chester, Pennsylvania, is home to West Chester University and its student body of more than 17,000.

The town itself is part of the Philadelphia metro area and has more than 18,000 residents. The historic downtown features the building where Abraham Lincoln began his quest for the presidency.

West Chester also finished in first place in another Zillow category: Most popular town overall.

Rounding out the top spots in this category are: Kent, Ohio; Newark, Delaware; San Luis Obispo, California; and Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Most popular retirement towns

Pinehurst, North Carolina
Jayne Chapman /

Winner: The village of Pinehurst, North Carolina, is famous throughout the world for the historic Pinehurst Resort, which has frequently been the site of the U.S. Open golf championship.

With a population of about 19,000, Pinehurst also attracts many visitors who enjoy its quaint downtown dotted with shops, boutiques and pubs.

Rounding out the top spots in this category is: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Most popular vacation towns

Buildings along the Vermillion River in Vermilion, Ohio
justcary /

Winner: Vermilion, Ohio, sits along the south shore of Lake Erie and has a distinct New England vibe. It also can feel like a step back in time as the town features everything from a working soda fountain to a town square.

With a population of less than 11,000, Vermilion appeals to those looking for a quieter vacation getaway or a laid-back new place to call home.

Zillow did not list any other towns in this category.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.