The Top 10 Emerging Real Estate Markets Right Now

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Happy couple moving into a new home
LightField Studios /

For the past several years, the housing market has been a tale of the haves and have-nots.

Those who already own a home are sitting pretty, as the recent runup in values has left them flush with equity. But millions of renters have been priced out of owning a home. Many wonder if they’ll ever be able to afford their piece of the American dream.

Fortunately, the answer is “yes,” especially for those willing to move to a more affordable place.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal and joined forces to issue their Emerging Housing Markets Index for summer 2022.

The index singles out some of the best cities for those looking for great communities with a bright future. Many of the markets on the list offer a “critical dose of affordable homes,” the report says.

Other markets that made the top 10 have higher-priced homes but are still “good areas in which to purchase a home for homeowners and investors alike, with expectations of price appreciation complementing vibrant and diverse communities,” according to the report.

Following are the top emerging housing markets in the U.S.

10. Visalia-Porterville, California

Visalia, California
Jacob Boomsma /

Median home price as of June: $415,995

Population: 468,680

This inland region of California has it all: city living with proximity to Sequoia National Park.

A few years ago, we noted that Visalia-Porterville was among the happiest communities in the U.S.

9. Topeka, Kansas

Topeka, Kansas
Jacob Boomsma /

Median home price as of June: $225,000

Population: 230,878

If you’re looking for affordability, don’t overlook Topeka: It recently made one list of “10 of the Cheapest Places to Buy a Home in America.”

8. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida

Sarasota, Florida
Sean Pavone /

Median home price as of June: $598,500

Population: 854,684

Older home shoppers might want to give this area of Florida a look. The Gulf Coast region made the list of “The 25 Best Cities to Retire in Florida.” Just beware that the price tag here is higher than for many other places on the list.

7. Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota
Sopotnicki /

Median home price as of June: $409,900

Population: 144,514

If you’re considering a move to Rapid City, don’t wait: The city is No. 1 on the list of the “10 Smaller Housing Markets That Are Now Red-Hot,” so the competition for housing here is heating up fast.

6. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Sharkshock /

Median home price as of June: $499,950

Population: 1.42 million

This state capital is the biggest city on the list. Raleigh would be a great choice for someone who wants city life in a portion that is easier to digest compared with bigger metros.

5. Billings, Montana

Billings Montana
Gary C. Tognoni /

Median home price as of June: $544,000

Population: 183,799

Seniors on the move should consider Billings, home to Montana State University. Those who are 65 or older can get a tuition waiver when attending classes.

4. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fort Wayne Indiana
Travis Eckert /

Median home price as of June: $286,400

Population: 416,565

In a sea of overpriced housing markets, Fort Wayne is an island of affordability. It finished No. 1 on the list of “The 10 Best Cities to Buy an Affordable Family Home.”

3. Johnson City, Tennessee

Johnson City, Tennessee
Nolichuckyjake /

Median home price as of June: $350,000

Population: 204,540

If you love hiking and great scenery, Johnson City may be calling. It is located just west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

2. Burlington, North Carolina

North Carolina and U.S. flags
J K Laws /

Median home price as of June: $380,150

Population: 171,346

If Raleigh is too big for your tastes, another North Carolina city nearby — Burlington — might be a great option. The city is home to Laboratory Corporation of America, one of the world’s largest biomedical testing firms.

1. Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana

Indiana water mill
Susan from Denver /

Median home price as of June: $279,450

Population: 206,161

Just a few years ago, we highlighted Elkhart as having one of the fastest rates of job growth in the U.S. The vast majority of the nation’s recreational vehicles are made here.

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