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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Boston topped the list of the ten hottest metro areas to watch this year, according to newly released data.

"These three metro areas were among the healthiest in 2013, outperforming the nation in year-over-year median home price growth and shortest days on the market," said Lanny Baker, president and CEO of, which conducted the study.

Employing one or more professional sports teams is a common denominator when it comes to scoring among the top ten metro areas.

"Factors that contribute to a metro area's popularity include jobs, housing costs, weather, potential for income mobility, livability and amenities," said Michael A. Stoll, and economist and chair of the department of public policy at the University of California in Los Angeles.

While Boston was hit badly by foreclosures and short sales four or five years ago, the city seems to be back on its feet with the strongest activity in the suburban towns and communities surrounding it. Boston showed an annual acceleration rate of 9.8%, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

"That's an improvement of 1.2 percentage points from last month," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Mortgage applications for purchase were up in recent weeks confirming home builders' optimism."

Whether people work in technology jobs or not, the arrival of Twitter, Yelp and Uber in the Bay Area have increased the number of people wanting to live and work in San Francisco.

"The whole tech renaissance of the third generation has intensified competition for homes in the city of San Francisco," Baker said. "It has created a cascade effect. People are moving to San Francisco to work in ancillary industries like bars, restaurants and retail establishments."

ZipRealty's Saved Home searches revealed that Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas followed in fourth, fifth and sixth place. The median home price in the Phoenix metro area is $185,000 compared to the national average median home price of $268,565.

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"Phoenix seems to be one of the most normal metro markets in our study, having risen dramatically in terms of pricing and transaction volume and now attaining a level of stability," Baker said.

The median home price is $184,900 in the Dallas metro area, which is the business capitol of Texas.

"There has been a renaissance in the oil and gas industry that has really helped Dallas, Houston, Austin and other parts of Texas," said Baker.

In the Midwest, demand in Chicago has increased the past few months despite a 1.2% decline in home pricing, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

"Combined with low inflation of 1.5% in 2013, home owners are enjoying real appreciation and rising equity values," said Blitzer. "Housing will make further contributions to the economy in 2014 and the pace of price gains is likely to slow during the year."

Seattle, Orange County and Sacramento round out the list in eight, ninth and tenth place after Atlanta in seventh place.

"In Seattle, we haven't seen as dramatic of an outperformance in transaction volume or prices however the uptick in search activity is a promising precursor," Baker concluded.

The Top 10 Metros to Watch in 2014 based on Saved Home searches are:

  • 1. Los Angeles
  • 2. San Francisco Bay Area
  • 3. Boston
  • 4. Chicago
  • 5. Phoenix
  • 6. Dallas
  • 7. Atlanta
  • 8. Seattle
  • 9. Orange County
  • 10. Sacramento

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet