With the spring buying season upon us, it’s a great time to reflect on the state of the real estate market.  Don’t worry, the outlook is promising.

In the ten years since the peak of the last housing bubble, the housing market has seen a great deal of growth, despite the fact that many Americans are still skeptical of its volatility.


A recent study done by Harris Poll shows that the share of Americans who dream of owning a home has risen by one percentage point, to 75 percent since last year. The rental market will also see some relief in 2016, as multi-family construction booms in many congested U.S. cities.

For further analysis, Trulia looked at data from the past year on job growth, vacancy rates, affordability, and the amount of inbound home searches and share of millennials in a given area.  From that data, Trulia economists uncovered the top markets to watch in 2016.

Below is an in-depth look at the culture and affordability of the top three:


Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Michigan

Located about 30 miles east of Lake Michigan, this Midwestern metro is nicknamed “The Furniture City,” Since a large amount of furniture companies have made the area their home. However, the area is also known for its passion for art. In fact, the city is home to ArtPrize, an art competition that, is widely recognized as “the most-attended public art event on the planet,” according to The Art Newspaper.

The median listing price for a home for sale in the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area is up 5.6 percent from last year but still is an affordable $132,000. While the median rent per month is currently $1,000. Grand Rapids is the 14th most affordable metropolitan area in the United States, has the 22nd strongest job growth in the country and is home to many great schools.

Charleston South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

From picturesque beaches, to a growing foodie culture, to beautiful, sprawling golf courses, Charleston has something for everyone. Theater and the arts, in particular, have a long history in this gentile, southern city. In fact, the area’s French Quarter Neighborhood is home to one of the country’s oldest theaters, The Dock Street Theater.

The current, median sales price for a home for sale in Charleston is $237,000, up 7.8 percent year-over-year. While the median rent per month is $1,700, a 4 percent rise year-over-year. Charleston ranks second on Trulia’s list due to high job growth and very high share of inbound home searches, ranking sixth and fifth, respectively. However, it takes a fall in affordability and vacancy rates.


Austin, Texas

The Capitol of Texas is a hotbed of music, arts and culture. The “Music Capital of The World,” is home to more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the country.  Austin also hosts some of the world’s largest music events and festivals including South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits Music Festival.

A home for sale in Austin is priced at an average listing price of $518,883, up 2 percent week-over-week. While the median rent is currently $1,850. Austin ranks third on Trulia’s markets to watch due to its high numbers in two categories: share of millennials, and job growth. The southwestern metropolitan area ranks third in both categories.

In addition to the stability of their real estate markets, Trulia’s top three markets to watch in 2016 have something to offer even the most particular home buyer or renter. The culture, climate, job growth and overall affordability of all three cities makes any one of them a great place to begin searching for your next home.

Read more about housing in 2016 on Trulia’s Blog.

Hannah Goodman