The much-anticipated 2024 Top Housing Markets forecast by Realtor.com has bestowed the coveted title of the hottest housing market among the largest 100 markets in the U.S. upon Toledo, Ohio. With a population of 270,000, Toledo emerges as a beacon of promise in the dynamic real estate landscape.
Toledo's Allure: Beyond Affordability
Delving into the specifics of Toledo, the city not only boasts affordability but also a vibrant lifestyle. Its median home listing price, significantly lower than the national average, aligns with a diverse range of job opportunities in manufacturing, healthcare, education, and government sectors.
Despite an anticipated slightly higher unemployment rate of 5.2% at the end of 2024 compared to the national average of 4.2%, Toledo offers a well-rounded lifestyle. Welcoming and close-knit communities, cultural amenities, parks, and recreational activities like the Toledo Zoo and the scenic Maumee River contribute to a high quality of life without the exorbitant costs associated with larger cities.
Toledo's housing market is predicted for a remarkable 14.0% year-over-year increase in existing home sale counts. This surge reflects a thriving real estate market, outpacing the average of the preceding years (2017-2019) by a significant margin of 5.2%. Toledo's housing sector is not just growing; it's setting new standards.
Toledo takes the lead with an 8.3% forecast for a year-over-year surge in the median sale price of existing homes. This impressive uptick surpasses the 2017-2019 average by a staggering 43.4%, indicating a robust and appreciating housing market in 2024.
Midwestern and Northeastern Metros: A Haven of Affordability
According to Realtor.com, the top housing markets are evaluated based on a combination of expected sales and price growth in 2024. Divided into two distinct trends, the Midwestern and Northeastern metropolitan areas stand out for offering affordability in the face of an increasingly expensive national housing market.
These metros, including Toledo, present a compelling case for potential buyers. Affordability is a key factor, with median listing prices below the national average in all these areas except Worcester, MA. Toledo, in particular, shines with a median home listing price 51.6% lower than the national median, providing a cost-effective housing market with diverse options for first-time buyers and families.
The Midwest and Northeast also demonstrate resilience against the impact of higher mortgage rates. A higher proportion of homeowners in these regions reside in mortgage-free housing units, providing insulation against market fluctuations. Toledo takes the lead in this regard, with an impressive 41.2% of homeowners owning their homes outright, creating a stable foundation for the city's real estate market.
These Midwestern and Northeastern metros, including Toledo, not only excel in affordability but also provide an exceptional quality of life. Offering a diverse array of cultural amenities, recreational opportunities, and educational institutions, these areas stand out as ideal choices for individuals and families seeking a holistic lifestyle.
Education and healthcare play pivotal roles in shaping employment landscapes in these regions. In Rochester, NY, and Springfield, MA, more than a quarter of employment is dedicated to education and healthcare roles. Worcester, MA, though just below this mark, surpasses the average among the 100 largest markets where the sector comprises less than 17% of jobs.
Midwestern cities like Toledo, OH, and Grand Rapids, MI, also prioritize education and healthcare jobs, but manufacturing takes precedence, accounting for 15% and 20% of employment, respectively. This is notably higher than the 8% average among the 100 largest metros, showcasing the distinctive economic landscape of these regions.
Despite the emphasis on manufacturing, these metros maintain a positive employment outlook. With the exception of Toledo, where a slightly higher unemployment rate of 5.2% is expected at the end of 2024, other areas anticipate meeting or surpassing the national rate of 4.2%. This resilience underscores the robust economic foundations of these cities.
Furthermore, the central locations of these metros within their respective regions or proximity to major cities enhance convenience and access to broader opportunities. This geographical advantage, coupled with the affordability and vibrant lifestyle they offer, solidifies these areas as appealing choices for those in pursuit of a well-rounded and cost-effective life.
Western Metros: Bouncing Back Amidst Challenges
The second trend in the top metro list focuses on Western metros, which faced challenges in 2023 but are expected to rebound as interest rates decline throughout the year. The real estate market's resilience and adaptability come to the forefront as these areas prepare for a resurgence in 2024.