Why Housing Matters

The housing market continues to captivate. U.S. residential real estate is a major store of wealth1 that is more widely held than stocks2. These two factors mean that housing is not only a large and valuable asset class that importantly provides shelter from literal and proverbial storms, but it has the ability to affect the financial outcomes of a broader swath of individuals and families than the U.S. stock market. As the U.S. continues to move past the disruption of the pandemic, households and businesses alike are searching for a new normal. While many are back to work on-location, some continue to have more flexibility around where they will work making moves from one part of the country to another a possibility for more and more home searchers.

The Wall Street Journal/realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index

This second release of the Wall Street Journal/realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index builds on the success of our first release at identifying markets that we believe will be good areas in which to purchase a home for homeowners and investors alike. The index uses a slate of housing market, economic vitality, and quality of life metrics to surface emerging housing markets–areas that are expected to see home price growth and that offer attractive lifestyle amenities.

What’s New: Methodology

New to the index this quarter and based on feedback from readers, we’ve added data on real estate taxes to the mix. Areas with higher effective real estate taxes were ranked lower while areas with lower effective real estate taxes are ranked higher. On net, this change tended to boost the ranking of areas in the South and West and caused many metro areas in the Northeast and Midwest as well as Texas and Alaska to rank lower.