Three Indiana cities top list of emerging housing markets

Story at a glance

  • Lafayette topped the list, followed by Fort Wayne and Elkhart, respectively.

  • Other Midwestern metros cracked the top 10, including Topeka, Kan., and Columbia, Mo.

  • Findings are based on a series of real-estate market and economic health metrics.

The Lafayette, Fort Wayne, and Elkhart metros in Indiana ranked as the top three emerging housing markets in the country, respectively, according to a new winter 2023 analysis from The Wall Street Journal and

The new listing comes as affordable cities continue to attract Americans thanks to rising mortgage rates pushing buyers out of the market in more expensive areas. The organizations update the ranking each quarter to help home buyers decide on the best places to make investments, based on measures of the local economy and lifestyle amenities.

The three Indiana cities were followed by Topeka, Kan.; Johnson City, Tenn.; and Columbia, Mo., respectively.

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The Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol metro area in Tennessee and Virginia ranked seventh overall. Savannah, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; and La Crosse-Onalaska in Wisconsin and Minnesota rounded out the top 10 emerging metro housing markets.

Additional Midwestern metros that moved up in the fourth quarter include Springfield, Ill., and Milwaukee.

Lafayette is home to around 225,000 people and sits northwest of the state’s capital. It’s also a manufacturing hub and home to the public Purdue University.

In December, the median home sale price in Tippecanoe County, where the city is located, was $247,000. Although this marks an increase of 16.2 percent from 2021, the total was still more than $100,000 below the national median existing-home sale price measured in December, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Findings are based on a series of metrics that fall into two areas: real-estate markets and economic health. These include real-estate supply and demand, unemployment rates, wages, commute time and small business activity. The top 300 biggest metro areas in the United States were included in the analysis.

The top-ranked markets in the fourth quarter also had lower unemployment rates and faster home sales compared with the market as a whole, according to the analysis.

Late last year, pending home sales rose slightly as mortgage rates began to fall and inflation subsided. This increase marked the first time pending sales saw a boost in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association also show applications rose slightly in the latter half of January, but were still below levels seen a year ago.

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