Here’s where to start house hunting in 2020

Nena Farrell  – May 16, 2019 | Updated February 13, 2020

Looking for a new home in 2020? According to Zillow, California’s housing markets are on the downturn—and other Western markets are on the rise.

Zillow asked more than 100 economists, investment strategists, and real estate experts for their predictions about the U.S. housing market, and through their analysis of the responses, made predictions for the hottest markets of the new year. Ten major markets received negative scores, and six of those were in California; its three most expensive markets—San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles—are expected to perform the worst.

“Having subjected buyers to a crucible of fierce competition for multiple years, many West Coast markets hit an affordability ceiling that set off declining home values in the most expensive of these [markets],” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research. “Indeed, this price correction—a clap back from having appreciated with too much exuberance in the recent past—pushes many previously hot markets to the bottom of our experts’ list.”

Instead, at the top of the list are metro areas that offer much more to buyers. “These metros are still providing relative affordability and thriving, amenity-rich communities that appeal to younger adults willing to make a move,” says Olsen. “These features, plus the ability to grow and add housing in the future, are attractive propositions for employers and employees alike.”

1. Austin, TX

According to Zillow’s panelists, Austin is the most likely metro area to see home value growth above that expected average this year. A whopping 83% of the panel’s respondents said they expect the Austin market to outperform the U.S. average, bringing it to the top of the list. 

The prime neighborhoods in Austin for rising home values are Heritage Hills and St. Johns. Zillow has seen home values rise nearly 10% over the course of 2019.

2. Phoenix, AZ

In the heart of the Southwest, Phoenix is the next major up-and-coming market in the West. Half of the panelists predict the Phoenix metro area to perform better than the U.S. average, while another 42% expect it to hit the average.

But true Phoenix might not be where you want to move. In the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area, home values of Meadowbrook Village in the city of Gilbert (southeast of main Phoenix, and close to the Phoenix-Mesa Airport) are the ones that have risen an estimated 20% since January 2019, according to Zillow. Other neighborhoods of Gilbert, along with neighborhoods in Mesa and Avondale, have grown the most in home value in comparison to Phoenix and Scottsdale.

3. Denver, CO

Zillow’s panel also expect the Denver metro area to see major growth, with 55% of its panelists expecting the market to perform better than the national average. However, 22% expect it to perform under average.

According to Zillow, don’t move to the main city itself if you want to see rising home values. The neighborhood of Centennial Ranch in Parker, southeast of main Denver, has seen the biggest growth in home values over the last year at nearly 11%. Bell Cross Ranch is another neighborhood in Parker with growing home values, along with the neighborhoods Picadilly West and Thunderbird Estates in Aurora.

4. San Antonio, TX

San Antonio saw equal expectations for the metro area to both outperform the national average and hit the national average—44% for each—with only 12% of panelists expecting the market to underperform.

San Antonio’s neighborhoods have seen major rises in home value through 2019, with Nevada Street and Historic Gardens growing over 17% according to Zillow. Other growing neighborhoods within San Antonio are Denver Heights, Eastgate, and Coliseum Oaks.

5. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas, the final market in the West’s top five, saw more equal expectations across the panels. While 41% percent of respondents thought the market would over perform, 24% expect it to meet the national average, while another 36% expect it to underperform.

The city of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas both have neighborhoods with top growing home values for the metro market, with Las Vegas’s Blue Diamond neighborhood at the top with nearly 8% growth throughout 2019, and College Park in North Las Vegas over 7%.