Money & The Economy

Millennial Homebuyers Driving 2018 Hottest ZIP Codes in America

A new report out today announced the Hottest ZIP Codes in America. The new list shows high-income millennials are helping to drive a nearly 10 percent increase in how fast homes are sold in the most popular areas of the country, which spans emerging suburban areas near Silicon Valley, throughout the Midwest, and on the East Coast.

As millennials get older, move out on their own and buy homes, they are driving demand for homes in smaller, more suburban locales. Some of the new areas making this year’s list include: No 1. Kentwood, Mich. (49508); No. 5 Peabody, Mass. (01960); No. 6 Boise, Idaho (83704); No. 9 Rochester, N.Y. (14624); and No. 10 Upper Montclair, N.J. (07043), according to the report.

Back by popular demand, the following areas are among the ZIP codes returning to the list this year: Colorado Springs, Colo. (80922) moved to No. 2 from No. 7 in 2017; Watauga, Texas (76148) moved to No. 3 from No. 1 in 2017 and 2016; Castro Valley, Calif. (94546) moved to No. 4 from No. 6 in 2017; Worthington, Ohio (43085) moved to No. 7 from No. 2 in 2015; and Overland Park, Kan. (66210) was ranked No. 8 this year and in 2017.

“When it comes to choosing a home of their own, millennials are looking for opportunity and they’re finding it in affordable suburbs,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for®. “These hot housing markets are attracting the attention of hard-working, high-earning 25-to-34-year-olds who are drawn by their relative affordability, strong local economies, and outdoor and cultural amenities.”®‘s 2018 Top 10 Hottest ZIP Codes

#1: Kentwood, Mich. 49508

#6: Boise, Idaho 83704

#2: Colorado Springs, Colo. 80922

#7: Worthington, Ohio 43085

#3: Watauga, Texas 76148

#8: Overland Park, Kan. 66210

#4: Castro Valley, Calif. 94546

#9: Rochester, N.Y. 14624

#5: Peabody, Mass. 01960

#10 Upper Montclair, N.J. 07043® analyzed 32,000 ZIP codes based on the time it takes properties to sell and how frequently homes are viewed in each ZIP code on®. One ZIP code was included per metro area.

How hot are these ZIP codes?
Homes in this year’s top 10 hottest markets sell in an average of 20 days, 46 days faster than the rest of the country, 25 days faster than their respective metro areas, and 18 days faster than their respective counties.® users view homes in these markets four times more often than homes in the rest of the country, 2.3 times more often than their respective metro areas, and 1.9 times more often than their respective counties. The average views per property for these 10 ZIPs on® are up 14 percent compared to last year. In addition, home list prices in nine of the 10 markets are appreciating on a yearly basis, and in some cases they’re doing so rapidly. Five of the 10 ZIPs saw double-digit growth in asking prices — faster than the national rate of 8.4 percent.

What’s making these ZIP codes hot this year?:

  • Homes are relatively affordable. The median price for a home in these markets is $358,000, and top markets are almost all more affordable than their surrounding area — only 43085 (Worthington, Ohio) and 07043 (Upper Montclair, N.J.) are exceptions. In addition, five of the top 10 ZIPs have median listing prices that are lower than the U.S. overall and eight have prices that are lower than their respective metro and county areas.
  • Residents are employed at higher rates and tend to earn more. Household incomes in eight of the top 10 ZIPs are greater than the national median of $61,000. In total, the average household income in the top 10 ZIPs is $83,000, 1.4 times the national rate. In addition, the 10 ZIP codes are located in counties with an average unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, which is 30 basis points lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.9 percent. A total of 83,000 jobs will be created this year in these markets combined*, which indicates a growth rate of 2.2 percent, significantly above the national growth rate of 1.8 percent.
  • Millennials, in particular, are doing well. In eight out of the top 10 ZIPs, the median household income for 25 to 34 year olds is 1.3 times higher than the national median, $78,000 versus $60,000, respectively.
  • Millennials hold the lion share of purchases. Mortgage originations in nine of the top 10 counties of these top 10 ZIPs are strongly dominated by millennials (25 to 34 year olds), which have a greater share of mortgage originations (34 percent) than the next largest group (35 to 44 year olds) with 31 percent.
  • Buyers have their credit buttoned up. The homebuyers in the counties where these ZIPs are located have an average FICO score of 729, higher than the national average of 720.

Market Highlights – Top 10 ZIP Codes

  1. 49508 – Kentwood, Mich. – Although neighboring ZIP code 49548 was ranked No. 3 on the list last year, this is 49508’s first appearance. Located just 15 miles southeast of Grand Rapids and 30 miles from beautiful Lake Michigan, is the quiet suburban town of Kentwood. The area is known for its tree lined streets, close knit community, affordable homes, and quick commute to Grand Rapids, where Spectrum Health, Meijer, and Mercy General Health Partners are the major employers. Young families are drawn to this affordable neighborhood because of its strong schools, such as Discovery Elementary, which has GreatSchools rating of 8/10.

    Key housing stats: Average home listing views in ZIP 49508 are up 4 percent over last year, with homes receiving nearly four times more views than those in the rest of the country. Homes in Kentwood sell in 14 days, 52 days faster than the rest of the U.S., with a median list price of $193,168, up 9.5 percent over last year. A pocket of relative affordability, prices in 49508 are 33 percent lower than the surrounding county. Kent County is expected to add 8,000 jobs this year, an increase of 2.3 percent.

  2. 80922 – Colorado Springs, Colo. – Located 60 miles south of Denver on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, lies the thriving outdoor centric city of Colorado Springs. This area draws a diverse nature-loving crowd with its affordable housing compared to its sister-city to the north, Denver. Colorado Springs is replete with local breweries and tasting rooms such as the Goat Patch Brewing Co. and Trail’s End self-pouring taproom, as well as many boutique restaurants that cater to the area’s popular healthy living lifestyle. With areas such as Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak, there are always trails and parks to get outside and explore. Major employers in the area include the United States Air Force at its Academy and other area bases, as well as UC Memorial Hospital North.

    Housing stats: The number of households in this ZIP grew by 21 percent from 2010 to 2018, with a home ownership rate of 80 percent among all age groups and 68 percent among millennials. Reflecting the high concentration of military service members in the area, 40 percent of new mortgages in El Paso County are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Homes in 80922 sell in 15 days, about 19 days faster than the rest of El Paso County, with a median list price of $297,811, up 9.7 percent over last year. El Paso County is expected to add 8,300 jobs this year, an increase of 2.6 percent.

  3. 76148 Watauga, Texas – Located just 10 miles up on the northern edge of Fort Worth is the family-friendly suburb of Watauga. This area caters to young families that want easy access to all the amenities and entertainment that Fort Worth has to offer, while giving budget-savvy buyers the most bang for their buck. Younger families are also drawn to Watauga for its strong schools, such as Grace E. Hardeman Elementary, which has a GreatSchools rating of 8/10. This ZIP also ranks highest in the state in the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which scores the ways cities support the LGBT people who live and work there. Major employers in the area include American Airlines, Texas Health Resources, and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics company.

    Housing stats: The dominant buyer segment in Watauga is millennials, who hold 33 percent of new purchase mortgages in the ZIP and have an 65 percent home ownership rate, compared to 42 percent in Tarrant County. Millennials in 76148 also earn slightly more than the median household overall. Homes in Watauga sell in 15 days, 3 percent faster than last year, with a median list price of $183,576, up 16.2 percent over last year. Tarrant County is expected to add 28,400 jobs this year, an increase of 2.8 percent.

  4. 94546 Castro Valley, Calif. – Situated 15 miles south of Oakland is the East Bay neighborhood of Castro Valley. This quiet neighborhood is known for its relative affordability with homes costing 5 percent less than the rest of the county and 17 percent less than the broader metro area. It is also known for its excellent school system, such as Proctor Elementary, which has a GreatSchools rating of 9/10. The relaxed area caters to young professionals working in San FranciscoOakland, and Berkeley because of its BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) access. Castro Valley exudes local pride with activities such as the Fall Festival in September, Barks & Boos around Halloween, Light Parade in November, and Castro Valley Street Eats with food trucks from spring to autumn.

    Housing stats: Millennials make up 38 percent of the new purchase mortgage share in ZIP 94546, while the dominant buyer group skews slightly older at 35-44 years of age. Homes in Castro Valley sell in just 16 days, about 50 days faster than the rest of the country. Listings in this ZIP have a median list price of $784,238, up 7.6 percent over last year. While this is notably above the U.S. median of $287,036, it is significantly more affordable than nearby San Francisco priced at $944,000 (up 7.3 percent) and Silicon Valley at $1.2 million (up 25.9 percent). While Alameda County is expected to add only 3,700 jobs this year, an increase of 0.5 percent, the unemployment rate of 3.0 percent is well below the U.S. level of 3.9 percent.

  5. 01960 Peabody, Mass. – Located just inland of Salem and 15 miles northeast of Boston, this small but vibrant community is known for its rich industrial history. Peabody features great public schools, such as John E. McCarthy School which has a GreatSchools rating of 8/10, and Brooksby Farm – a 200-acre working farm. The area is also headquarters to Analogic Corporation and Tradewin Consulting Services, which are some of the largest employers in Peabody.

    Housing stats: The dominant buyer segment in ZIP 01960 is 35-44-year-olds, while millennials (25-34-years-old) hold 32 percent of recently purchased mortgages in the area. With a median household income of $73,312, millennials in 01960 have a higher income than the typical household. Homes in Peabody sell in 20 days, 46 days more quickly than the rest of the country, with a median list price of $424,685, up 8.4 percent compared to last year. Essex County is expected to add 9,000 jobs this year, an increase of 2.2 percent.

  6. 83704 Boise, Idaho – Boise is a vibrant, active city, with a mild four-season climate that allows residents to enjoy the local mountains, rivers, and lakes year-round. Plus, the Snake River Valley allows for a rich soil that provides distinctive, award-winning vintage wines from local vineyards, while the local brewery scene has been growing. Boise was also just named one of Money Magazine’s Best Places to LiveAda County ranks among the top five most popular markets for Bay Area Californians searching for homes out-of-state. As more Californians are moving away from San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and California’s wine country, many are seeking homes in Idaho where the sunny climate and local tech employers, such as Micron Technology, are strong attractors.

    Housing stats: Millennials make up 27 percent of the new mortgage share in Ada County, while the dominant buyer group skews slightly older at 35-44 years of age. Homes in 83704 sell in 23 days, about 43 days faster than the rest of the country. Listings this year have a median list price of $251,324, up 16.2 percent over last year. Ada County is expected to add 6,400 jobs this year, an increase of about 2.8 percent, which is extraordinary considering the already low unemployment rate of 2.5 percent.

  7. 43085 Worthington, Ohio – Nestled between two highways 12 miles directly north of Columbus, sits the close-knit community of Worthington. The area attracts young and growing families that want homes in a quiet neighborhood without giving up their access to downtown Columbus, Ohio. Being so close to The Ohio State UniversityWorthington is an affluent neighborhood, known for its particularly strong schools, such as Evening Street Elementary and Phoenix Middle School, both of which have a GreatSchools rating of 9/10. Additionally, the area has a strong sense of community with its Farmers Market, Craft Arts Crawl, as well as its many dining and boutique shopping options.

    Housing stats: The number of households in this ZIP grew by 9 percent from 2010 to 2018, with an above-average home ownership rate of 74 percent among all age groups and 52 percent among millennials. Homes in Worthington sell in 25 days, about 11 days faster than the rest of the county and 41 days faster than the U.S., with a median list price of $291,305, up 0.8 percent over last year. Franklin County is expected to add 13,500 jobs this year, an increase of 2 percent.

  8. 66210 Overland Park, Kan. – Sitting just 11 miles south of Kansas City on the Kansas side of the border, is the thriving neighborhood of Overland Park. Though it is a suburb of Kansas City, it is also the second most populous city in the state. The area boasts a plethora of outdoor options including the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, as well as many hiking trails. Overland Park was just named one of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live. The area is great for both young and growing families as it offers affordable homes, 34 percent less expensive than Johnson County, Kansas as a whole. Overland Park is also home to an excellent school system that includes Harmony Middle School and Lakewood Elementary School, both of which have a GreatSchools rating of 10/10.

    Housing stats: Millennials continue to be the dominant buying group in the area, holding 36 percent of recently purchased mortgages in Johnson County and high-credit buyers are the norm with an average FICO of 737 compared with 720 for the U.S. as a whole. Homes in Overland Park sell in 24 days, one day slower than last year but still 42 days faster than the U.S., with a median list price of $261,927, up 14 percent over last year. While Johnson County is expected to add just 3,600 jobs this year, an increase of 1.1 percent, this is notable given the low 2.9 percent unemployment rate.

  9. 14624 Rochester, N.Y. – Sitting on the southern shore of Lake Ontario is the diverse community of Rochester. The area is a close-knit community known for its plethora of beautiful parks and water features, and has been nicknamed “Flower City USA” because of the many lilacs throughout its parks. Rochester’s workforce, which was previously known for its print and film services because of Kodak’s former headquarters, has shifted toward health systems and higher education, with Strong Memorial Hospital and the University of Rochester being two of the area’s largest employers. Along with the revitalization of downtown, the area has seen an influx in millennial home buyers purchasing in the Rochester downtown area and surrounding suburbs over the recent years.

    Housing stats: Homes in this ZIP are relatively affordable, priced 28 and 27 percent less than the county and metro, respectively, which have kept buyer interest high and growing. Home listing views for this ZIP have increased 51 percent over last year. Household incomes in 14624 are higher than typical U.S. incomes and homes are priced 54 percent below the typical U.S. listing, creating a great opportunity for buyers. This explains the high home ownership rates – 80 percent for all households and 64 percent for millennial households. Millennials make up the largest share of recently purchased mortgages in Monroe County at 33 percent. Homes typically sell within 22 days in this ZIP, about 29 percent faster than last year and 44 days faster than the U.S., with a median list price of $131,964. Housing interest in this ZIP has remained strong despite a roughly average growth in jobs of 0.6 percent over last year.

  10. 07043 Upper Montclair, N.J. – Sitting about 14 miles west of the Hudson River and nestled at the foot of the First Watchung Mountain, is the vibrant community of Upper Montclair. The area caters to those looking to raise a family in a quiet neighborhood, while still having easy commutes to New York City and Newark, N.J. The area is a small, wealthy township where the median income of $176,182, is nearly triple the U.S. median income of $61,045. This thriving arts community is also home to the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair State University, global cuisine, and a funky downtown.

    Housing stats: Homes in ZIP 07043 sell in 22 days, about 23 percent faster than last year, with a median list price of $762,350, up 6 percent over last year. Homeownership rates in this ZIP are high for all households (83 percent) and millennials (51 percent). The dominant buyer segment in Essex County skews slightly older (35-44 year olds), while millennials hold 31 percent of new purchase mortgages. Recent job growth in the local area has been limited at 0.1 percent, but the labor market is powered by its larger neighbors — New York and Newark, N.J.

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); Moody’s Analytics Forecasted’s 2018 Top 50 Hottest ZIP codes


ZIP Code

ZIP Name

Hotness Score



Kentwood, Mich




Colorado Springs, Colo.




Watauga, Texas




Castro Valley, Calif.




Peabody, Mass.




Boise, Idaho




Worthington, Ohio




Overland Park, Kan.




Rochester, N.Y.




Upper Montclair, N.J.




Minneapolis, Minn.




Ferndale, Mich.




Tracy, Calif.




Omaha, Neb.




Salt Lake City, Utah




Fort Wayne, Ind.




Fresno, Calif.




Roseville, Calif.




Highland, Ind.




San Diego, Calif.




Nashville, Tenn.




Charlotte, N.C.




Louisville, Ky.




Mansfield, Mass.




Cincinnati, Ohio




Chandler, Ariz.




Vacaville, Calif.




Valencia, Calif.




Spokane, Wash.




Greendale, Wis.




Buffalo, N.Y.




Lawrence, Kan.




Midland, Texas




Raleigh, N.C.




San Antonio, Texas




Rohnert Park, Calif.




Saint Louis, Mo.




Bowie, Md.




Eugene, Ore.




Milford, Mass.




Dayton, Ohio




Portland, Ore.




Philadelphia, Pa.




Greeley, Colo.




Kennewick, Wash.




Durham, N.C.




Westbrook, Maine




Broomfield, Colo.




Temecula, Calif.




Austin, Texas


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Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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