The hottest ZIP Code in the land right now is Melrose.
No, not Melrose in Hollywood — we're talking Melrose, Massachusetts, outside Boston.
Realtor.com just released the results of its Combined Hotness Index for the first half of 2015, drawing from its huge listings database to rank tens of thousands of ZIPs on two measures:
Demand. Average number of times each listing is viewed.
Supply. How fast homes sell (median age of inventory).
The 10 hottest ZIPs -- listed below -- outpace the nation by about a factor of five in terms of short supply and strong demand, Realtor.com told Yahoo Homes. Overall, homes in the top 10 ZIPs sell four to nine times faster than the national average, and the ZIPs' listings are viewed three to eight times more often. In one Colorado community, homes last a mere two weeks on the market, selling faster than anywhere else in the nation.
What's so great about these ZIPs? Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke tells Yahoo Homes that each has its own strengths, but all have in common the fact that they're "trending in the right direction" economically, particularly in terms of unemployment. Eight of the 10 are in metro areas with "healthy" economies; the other two ZIPs are in metro areas that appear to be on the upswing, St. Louis and Detroit. (For statistical purposes, Realtor.com excluded ZIPs with fewer than 14 listings, which made the list "a bit more urban," Smoke said. Scroll to the bottom of this article for a more complete description of methodology.)
"These ZIP Codes are in some of the best-performing local economies, for the most part," he said.
Not only that, but they seem to be particularly good for Millennials. The median income for the 25-to-34 age group in these ZIP Codes is 50 percent higher than the national average, and 26 percent higher than the larger metro areas.
That matters because first-time homebuyers — of whom 70 percent are Millennials — are considered key to the housing recovery. They're buying 17 percent more than last year, Smoke said, more than offsetting the decline in activity among investors and foreign buyers.
Other features of the top 10 ZIPs:
"I am happy to see that affordability is a factor here," Smoke said. All but two of the ZIPs are affordable in national terms, and the two that aren't — Carlsbad, outside San Diego, and Melrose — are "on the affordable areas of the spectrum" within the larger community. In three of the ZIPs — Worthington, Ohio, outside Columbus; the Detroit suburb of Novi; and the St. Louis suburb Crestwood — the median household income is enough to afford about two-thirds of homes on the market.
The ZIPs have an average of 22 percent lower unemployment than their wider metro areas — and that's in a group of metros where unemployment rates have dropped five times faster than other metros' rates have in the last year. Eight of the ZIPs have less than 5 percent unemployment rates (Crestwood and Novi being the exceptions).
Median household income in the top 10 ZIPs is $71,000 — 20 percent higher than the larger metro areas' average and 32 percent higher than the national average, $54,000. Older Millennials, those in the 25-to-34 age group, tend to do particularly well.
A third of these ZIPs' households earn at least $100,000 a year. Nationally, less than a quarter of households earn that much.
You might notice an absence of the usual suspects — most glaringly, Silicon Valley — on this list. Smoke says Silicon Valley ZIPs rank "pretty highly" when the list is broadened beyond the top 10, but because the "entire market is hot," there are no "standout neighborhoods.
Below are the hottest ZIP Codes in the nation so far in 2015. We asked Realtor.com to provide an example of a home near the median price in each ZIP, just to give a sense of the market; you can click on each photo for listing details.
10. CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA: 92010
Pop. 14,986 in the ZIP Code (all population figures below are for the respective ZIPs, not the larger metro)
Two of pricey Carlsbad's four ZIP Codes are on the coast, but not 92010, which makes it relatively affordable — and it has lots of multifamily units, Realtor.com points out, which means homes can be had for less than $600,000 in a ZIP Code where more than a third of households earn $100,000 or more (55 percent higher than the national average. The median list price was $664,000 in June, 33 percent higher than the wider metro area (which includes San Diego and environs).
9. FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA: 58103
Pop. 48,859 in the ZIP Code
Fargo is a bit of a surprise on this list, as its metro area is much smaller than the rest. But it's the fourth-fastest-growing metro area in the nation, and median household income in the ZIP is growing fast along with it, nearly three times the national pace. The 58103 ZIP is southwest of downtown and has a much bigger proportion of Millennials — 20 percent — than the national average.
8. AUSTIN, TEXAS: 78729
Pop. 26,906 in the ZIP Code
Austin has been hot for years now — so hot that locals long ago embraced the "Keep Austin Weird" slogan in the face of commercialization. The 78729 ZIP, one of nearly 80 in the city, includes the Jollyville neighborhood in the north. Realtor.com points out that Jollyville is close to tech giants Apple, IBM and Dell and feeds into the excellent Round Rock school district. Millennials here — who make up nearly a quarter of the population, approaching double the national average — earn a median $73,000 a year, 40 percent more than their age group nationally.
7. CRESTWOOD, MISSOURI: 63126
Pop. 11,942 in the ZIP Code
The small St. Louis suburb Crestwood, which has just the one ZIP Code, is "a market that to me epitomizes what the first-time buyer and the Millennial is looking for today," as it's affordable and in transition, economist Smoke tells Yahoo Homes. Houses in neighboring suburbs Kirkwood and Webster Groves cost about twice as much — yet Crestwood kids attend Lindbergh Schools, a nationally recognized district that otherwise draws from more expensive communities. The homeownership rate is 84 percent, one of the highest in the country, and civilian unemployment is one of the lowest in the country. Millennial households earn a median $73,000, about 40 percent more than their age group both in the wider metro area and across the nation. (It has also attracted some unwelcome notoriety too, though: The policeman who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., lived in Crestwood.)
6. SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: 78247
Pop. 49,514 in the ZIP Code
One of three Texas ZIPs on the list, 78247 has a suburban feel within San Antonio city limits, according to Realtor.com. The median house is about a third cheaper than the median for the metro area as a whole, and the ZIP has been growing about twice as fast as the national rate.
5. NOVI, MICHIGAN: 48375
Pop. 22,189 in the ZIP Code
This may be a Detroit suburb, but Novi bucks many of the trends of its beleaguered metro area: The civilian unemployment rate has dropped 30 percent just since last year, and it's less than half that of the wider metro area. Median income for Millennial households here is more than triple that of Detroit as a whole, and it's 50 percent higher than Millennial households earn nationwide. Novi Community School District is a "major draw," according to Realtor.com. Those factors play out in housing prices: The median list price in June was about 20 percent higher than the wider metro area.
4. PLANO, TEXAS: 75023
Pop. 46,733 in the ZIP Code
Why so many Texas ZIPs on this list? Smoke points to one factor: It's "purely or largely Millennials" driving all the activity, he says. Plano, a Dallas suburb, is a major center for numerous big companies — among them Frito-Lay, Pizza Hut, JCPenney and Infosys — and more are on the way, including Toyota's U.S. operations and Liberty Mutual. The Dallas Morning News recently called Plano "the bookish teenager who grew up to be gorgeous." More than a third of households in the 75023 ZIP, the center of town, earn at least $100,000 a year. No wonder the average home listing is viewed about 1,200 times — eight times the national average, and more than twice the metro area's average.
3. CENTENNIAL, COLORADO: 80122
Pop. 30,457 in the ZIP Code
Located in the southern Denver area, Centennial was named a best place to live last year by both Money magazine and 24/7 Wall St. (whose story was republished in USA Today, among other publications). Homes are snapped up faster here than anywhere else in the country, spending just two weeks on the market. Millennial households' median income is a whopping $88,000 a year, about two-thirds more than their counterparts nationally and about half again as much as their Denver-area cohorts.
2. WORTHINGTON, OHIO: 43085
Pop. 13,837 in the ZIP Code
This Columbus suburb, founded more than 200 years ago, is one of the first planned communities in the Midwest. Its unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the United States, and nearly half the rate of the broader metro. Realtor.com describes Worthington as a "major relocation market." Listings in this ZIP are viewed on average 1,000 times a month, triple the rate of the Columbus area overall and seven times the national average. Homes are more expensive here, too, about 25 percent pricier than Columbus-area homes overall in June.
1. MELROSE, MASSACHUSETTS: 02176
Pop. 27,690 in the ZIP Code
The hottest ZIP Code of all is a Boston suburb that's "a magnet for young professionals and families due to its relative affordability, access to public transportation and attractive downtown area," according to Realtor.com. As in Centennial, the median income for Millennial households is $88,000 — 67 percent higher than Millennials nationally — rendering Boston's pricey housing market a bit more within reach. Homes in the Melrose ZIP sell for just 5 percent more than homes in the wider Boston area.
Also on Yahoo Homes:
Realtor.com methodology: Ranking for this list is based on Realtor.com's Combined Hotness Index for January to June 2015. The index scores all ZIPs with 14 or more active listings and ranks them on the basis of Realtor.com listing views (to assess demand) and median age of inventory (to assess supply). Each of these metrics is equally weighted and averaged out over the six-month period. This report utilizes data from the Realtor.com listings database, where 90 percent of its for-sale listings are updated every 15 minutes from more than 800 Multiple Listing Services.