It seems that the housing market is slowly but surely rebounding in America. Existing home sales and asking prices have crept up, and analysts report decreasing delinquencies and foreclosure filings. As a result, some of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the U.S. are beginning to see high listing prices and a shrinking inventory.
"The results surprised us," said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. "The hottest neighborhoods aren't the well-known bastions of privilege. They're once-gritty urban areas and far-flung suburbs with school districts on the rise."
Overwhelmingly, California neighborhoods dominated the list, a trend Kelman chalks up to the state's improving economy and the lure of a thriving tech scene.
"Across the state, there are far more buyers than sellers, and we see bidding wars on almost every reasonably priced listing in Silicon Valley and Orange County," he told BI. "It's probably also true that what happens to America happens first in California: The real estate bubble burst in California first, so buyers there have been waiting longer to make their move than just about anywhere else."
Hot Neighborhoods for 2013
Hottest Neighborhoods 2013: Places Expected to Lead the Pack This Year
Number of 2012 listings: -44.4% Number of sales: +15.4% Median listing prices: +22.2%
"North Maple Leaf is in the Roosevelt School district and has lower prices than some of the surrounding neighborhoods like Wedgewood and Ravenna," says local agent Chad Pluid.
"There is easy access to I-5 South to commute to downtown. Homes that go on the market sell very quickly in this area."
Number of 2012 listings: -28.6% Number of sales: 16.7% Median listing prices: 79.8%
"The Mission used to be thought of as a rough area, but it's started to emerge as a highly desirable area over the past year," says local agent Landon Nash.
"There's great diversity, tons of cultural activities and great restaurants and shopping. People are getting priced out of Noe Valley and the Castro, so the Mission is right there and a great alternative."
Number of 2012 listings: -10.3% Number of sales: +93.8% Median listing prices: +19.6%
"Logan Square has many attractive features, including wide park-like boulevards, a unique mix of housing types, public transportation, bike and walking paths, progressive local shops and a really cool vibe," explains local agent Greg Whelan.
"The convenience of two Logan Square blue line stops makes it a destination for those wanting to get more for their money."
Number of 2012 listings: -63.5% Number of sales: 30.8% Median listing prices: 17.1%
Los Angeles-based real estate agent Earnest Watts knew where to go when he was house hunting in September.
"Because of its relative affordability, accessibility, and proximity to several of the area’s most popular neighborhoods, I bought a home in Glassell Park back in September," he says. "I have a few local bars, restaurants and bakeries, but the neighborhood is right in the middle of four bustling neighborhoods: Highland Park, Atwater Village, Echo Park and Silver Lake."
Number of 2012 listings: -62.7% Number of sales: +16.7% Median listing prices: +28.9%
"One of the major changes that this particular area is going through is the Metro line being installed by the city; it would be the first time West L.A. is connected to downtown by mass transit," says local real estate agent Kameron Eliassian.
"This will help out people's commute tremendously. In addition, the school systems have improved in this area, making it attractive to families."
Methodology: This ranking was based on data from December 2011-2012 for housing markets in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Southern California, and Washington DC-Baltimore. Redfin highlighted the top three neighborhoods in each metro area, then whittled the list down from 48 to round out its top 10. See the full ranking here.