Charlotte Park NC skyline

Queen City takes the crown in Zillow's hottest markets for 2023 

Charlotte, NC, topped the list of hot markets, along with other "relatively affordable" cities clustered in the Eastern U.S.

January 12, 2023
3 minutes

Key points:

  • Zillow analyzed the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, ranking markets based on anticipated growth in home values, jobs and more.
  • Charlotte has proved to be popular with out-of-state buyers.
  • Cleveland, Ohio, home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, took the No. 2 spot.

In 2023's tepid housing market, there is only one major metro area in the U.S. that is hotter than Cleveland. And that's Charlotte, North Carolina.

That's right. Charlotte, followed by runner up Cleveland, outpaced every other metropolitan housing market in the U.S., according to Zillow's annual projections.

Known for its barbecue, the NFL Panthers and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte is now the No. 1 choice in home buying among the nation's 50 largest metros, Zillow reports. Cleveland — which boasts the world-famous Cleveland Clinic plus the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — slid in at second place.

The rankings were based on factors including projected home value growth from December 2022 through November 2023, anticipated job growth, the number of owner-occupied homes and how fast homes are selling.

"That doesn't surprise me about Charlotte. That is really true," said agent Erin LoPinto of Carolina Real Estate Experts, based in Huntersville, a suburb just outside of Charlotte. "The weather is better here and people are a lot nicer."

LoPinto, a New York transplant, said greater Charlotte is growing quickly, with newcomers moving from metro areas up and down the East Coast. 

"I would say that 95% of my clients are moving from out of state," LoPinto said. Many are fleeing the hustle and bustle of greater Manhattan or heading north from Florida. 

LoPinto said a surprising number of buyers who work remotely first relocated to Florida but had second thoughts after spending one or two very hot summers in the Sunshine State. They opted for the more temperate climate of Charlotte instead. 

"Charlotte has great restaurants, beautiful lakes for boating, and we're about three hours from the coast and the mountains. You could say we're right in the middle of everything," she said.

Zillow predictions chart of hottest markets in 2023

What Zillow described as "relatively affordable areas" rounded out the top five selections on its annual list with Pittsburgh ranking third, followed by Dallas and Nashville. All top markets were located in the Eastern U.S.

At the bottom of the list were San Jose, Sacramento and Minneapolis, which Zillow described as the nation's coolest markets. Tampa, last year's hottest market, did not make it into the top 10 in 2023.

"Markets that offer relative affordability and room to grow are poised to stand out, especially given the prevalence of remote work," said Anushna Prakash, economic data analyst at Zillow. 

Prakash said that given the cooling market, buyers will not have to elbow their way to the front doors of homes for sale in America's hottest markets. 

"Home shoppers who can overcome affordability hurdles will find a more comfortable market this year, with more time to consider options and less chance of a bidding war, even if they're shopping in one of the hottest markets," Praskash said.

Because of higher mortgage costs and persistently high home prices, buyers increasingly have looked at second-tier markets where prices are cheaper, Zillow said. The increase in remote work also continues to be a factor.

Zillow arrived at its annual projections by analyzing the 50 largest U.S. metro markets to predict "the most competitive" housing markets of 2023.

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