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The housing market might be in flux, but there still are pockets in the country where sellers are seeing their homes not just closing fast but also commanding higher prices than they did last year.
In fact, while time spent on the market increased year-over-year for most cities, that time decreased in five cities –
Davenport, Iowa, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York, Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisianna and Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, Connecticut – according to an analysis by Realtor.com.
On average, homes spent a couple of days short of 10 weeks on the market in February. That’s up from February 2022, when homes spent about six and a half weeks on the market.
“Affordability is a key factor in markets that are seeing more activity which puts smaller markets in the Midwest and South at the top of the list when it comes to areas where sellers still have advantages,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale told USA TODAY.
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As buyers and sellers gear up for the upcoming spring market, sellers who list their homes a bit earlier will have an advantage, says Hale.
“Some will tell you that the spring market begins in January as hopeful homebuyers armed with resolutions get a start early in the year. The number of shoppers for every home listing is at its highest from January through April,” says Hale. “But the bulk of housing sales tend to come a bit later in the spring, as home sellers provide needed inventory in what you might call the heart of the spring market. In fact, May is typically the month in which more sellers put their home on the market.”
This year, Hale believes the timeline for sales has moved up.
“We identify April 16-22 as the ideal time to list across several key metrics that signal market balance, including home prices, number of homes for sale, time on market and buyer traffic,” says Hale.
Here’s where homes are selling faster than in most of the country and where the price per square foot has risen the most annually, according to the report.
The list is limited to just one metro per state to ensure geographic diversity.
1. Davenport, Iowa
February median list price: $208,700
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +38.4%
With a median listing price just below $209,000 in February, Davenport homes cost around half of the national median list price of $414,950, according to the most recent Realtor.com data.
Prices are up almost 40% compared with the same time last year. On top of that, homes are selling faster now than they did a year ago.
2. Montgomery, Alabama
February median list price: $301,165
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +26.5%
Homes prices in Alabama’s capital city, Montgomery, are still well below the national average.
Those lower prices have attracted the interest of Californians. Two-thirds of all the web traffic to listings in the city come from the state, mostly from Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area, where prices can be three to four times higher, according to Realtor.com.
3. Wichita, Kansas
February median list price: $319,995
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +19.8%
Wichita, home to companies such as Airbus, Learjet, and Cessna, is now the aviation capital of the country.
Among all the cities on the list, Wichita has seen the biggest increase in price per square foot since the middle of 2022, a time when many markets began to see prices stagnate or tick down. The median listing price in Wichita has increased by 17.5% since June of last year.
4. Tulsa, Oklahoma
February median list price: $354,262
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +18.5%
Like Wichita, Tulsa has seen a significant price bump since the middle of 2022, when other markets ran out of steam. Since June 2022, the price per square foot is up 13%.
However, prices have remained quite reasonable in Tulsa compared with the rest of the nation. It was named one of the best places for middle-class homebuyers by Realtor.com. And the city has some of the most affordable mansions in the country.
Tulsa has especially high buyer interest from out of state, particularly from Chicago, where home prices are about 17% higher, and Dallas, where home prices are about 22% higher, according to demand data tracked by Realtor.com.
5. Youngstown, Ohio
February median list price: $151,575
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +18.1%
Youngstown, located about halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, is by far the least expensive metro in this ranking. The Rust Belt city fell on hard times when the steel mills closed and many residents left the area. But the area is now gaining interest from buyers on the prowl for affordable real estate.
The lack of inventory here puts sellers in a better position as buyers are forced to compete over what’s available.
February median list price: $434,950
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +17.1%
Minneapolis is a big city, but without the much larger price tag that usually comes with them, says Hale.
In fact, until just the past few months, the median home listing price in Minneapolis was below the national median.
Right now, Minneapolis also ties with the lowest number of days that listings spend on the market. The average Minneapolis listing is spending around seven weeks on the market, about three weeks less than the national average.
7. McAllen, Texas
February median list price: $283,000
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +16.4%
Home prices in the McAllen metro area, which abuts the U.S.-Mexico border near the southern tip of Texas, continue to rise despite the challenges in the housing market.
McAllen offers a stark contrast to state capital Austin, where home prices skyrocketed over the past several years, but has lately seen one of the sharpest home price declines – a 15% median listing price decline since peaking in April of last year.
8. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
February median list price: $322,400
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +16.1%
Harrisburg, which is about an hour and 20 minutes north of Baltimore and nearly two hours northwest of Philadelphia, is continuing to see plenty of demand from folks coming from different parts of the country, especially New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., according to Realtor.com
9. Little Rock, Arkansas
February median list price: $304,245
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +15.9%
The metro area around Arkansas’ capital city, Little Rock, had some of the biggest home price increases in the nation last year, according to a Realtor.com analysis. It also tied with Minneapolis for the lowest median number of days spent on the market, at just a hair more than seven weeks.
10. Knoxville, Tennessee
February median list price: $457,116
Year-over-year increase in price per square foot: +13.0%
Real estate prices in this city, home to the University of Tennessee, have continued to rise. That’s distinguished it from nearby, pricier Nashville, where prices have dropped around 4% from their high in June 2022, according to Realtor.com. The median home list price in Nashville was about $510,000 in February.
Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy is a housing and economy correspondent for USA TODAY. You can follow her on Twitter @SwapnaVenugopal and sign up for our Daily Money newsletter here.