Moving On Up: Cities with the Greatest Home Value Surges in 2020

Model homes sit on top of piles of coins with an upward arrow held above, indicating rising values of homes.

In these cities, the value of a typical home saw great heights in 2020.

It would be an understatement to say that 2020 has given us a lot to look back on. The unique circumstances of this year, primarily shaped by the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting changes to our everyday lives, have had interesting and somewhat surprising effects on real estate markets across the nation.

Our relationship to home has certainly intensified in 2020, as shelter-in-place orders have kept us inside more than ever. Likewise, across the country, housing markets have witnessed the effects of these policies: Insurify’s analysis on cities with the greatest pandemic real estate booms found that between April and July 2020 across metropolitan areas in the United States, the average rate of home sales month to month was up overall, at 14.89 percent, exceeding the previous year’s rate by 66 percent (the average rate of home sales month to month was 5.21 percent in 2019). More and more potential homeowners have been relocating to the suburbs in unprecedented droves, because having a larger living space rather than being close to the center of action in a city has become a higher priority for many during the pandemic. 

The housing market in 2020 has shown that despite dire economic circumstances, people have demonstrated a piqued interest in investing in a home, particularly in more affordable areas. In order to understand how the shifting priorities of home buyers have shaped the real estate market this year, the research team at Insurify examined data from Zillow to identify the cities with the most significant surges in home values in 2020.

Icon map showing the cities whose home values have increased the most in 2020.

Insights

  • National averages. Across U.S. metropolitan areas, home values increased on average by 6.46 percent in 2020. On the broader state level, home values increased by 3.82 percent. The average home value in the United States as of October 2020 is $379,298.
  • Jersey strong. The state with the most cities on the list is New Jersey with four cities, making up one fifth of the cities with the greatest home value surges in 2020. Idaho and Ohio both have the second-highest number of cities on the list, with three each making the ranks. 
  • Rising home values in less expensive cities. The majority of the cities with the greatest home value surges in 2020 have home values that, even with a significant increase over the year, are below the national average. Apart from two Washington cities on the list, the remaining eighteen cities have an average home value between .04 and 92 percent below the national average. Insurify’s prior analysis of cities with the greatest pandemic real estate booms found a similar trend, that median sale prices in those cities were below the national average. The finding in the present study reaffirms the trend of new homebuyers gravitating towards homes in communities with overall lower market values.
  • Some variation between city and state levels. Of the ten states represented by the 20 cities on the list, nine of them have a statewide relative home value increase that is higher than the national average. Indiana, whose state-level home value surge is 29th in the nation, is the sole exception.

Methodology

The research team at Insurify, a home insurance quotes comparison site, examined public data from Zillow to identify the cities with the greatest increases in home values in 2020. Zillow publishes monthly estimates, called the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), of smoothed, seasonally adjusted measures of the typical home value (in the 35 to 65th percentile range) and market changes across a given region and housing type. Insurify’s analysts examined city-level ZHVI estimates across all available months in 2020 and calculated the percent change between January and October 2020, the most recently available month, for every city included in the data.

Using city-level population estimates from City-Data.com, Insurify’s analysts selected all regions in the Zillow database that have a population of at least 50,000, per the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of an urban area. Within this subset, the regions with the greatest relative increase in home value between January and October 2020 were identified as the cities with the greatest home value surges this year.

Cities with the Greatest Home Value Surges in 2020

20. Bridgeport, CT

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.19% (1.89 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $231,198
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +7.28% (3rd in the nation)

19. Birmingham, AL

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.21% (1.89 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $73,467
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +4.32% (17th in the nation)

18. Waterbury, CT

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.27% (1.90 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $151,875
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +7.28% (3rd in the nation)

17. Federal Way, WA

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.46% (1.93 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $441,668
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +7.34% (2nd in the nation)

16. Camden, NJ

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.49% (1.93 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $71,311
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +6.52% (7th in the nation)

15. Huntsville, AL

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.57% (1.95 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $200,455
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +4.32% (17th in the nation)

14. Newark, NJ

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.66% (1.96 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $329,750
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +6.52% (7th in the nation)

13. Dayton, OH

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.74% (1.97 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $68,451
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +4.31% (8th in the nation)

12. Tacoma, WA

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.81% (1.98 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $384,217
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +7.34% (2nd in the nation)

11. Caldwell, ID

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.83% (1.99 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $274,306
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +5.61% (11th in the nation)

10. Anderson, IN

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +12.95% (2.00 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $78,036
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +3.39% (29th in the nation)

9. Nampa, ID

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +13.02% (2.02 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $287,186
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +5.61% (11th in the nation)

8. Boise, ID

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +13.17% (2.04 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $379,161
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +5.61% (11th in the nation)

7. Irvington, NJ

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +13.35% (2.07 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $238,003
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +6.52% (7th in the nation)

6. East Orange, NJ

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +14.05% (2.17 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $299,513
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +6.52% (7th in the nation)

5. Flint, MI

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +14.30% (2.21 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $31,548
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +4.23% (19th in the nation)

4. Youngstown, OH

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +14.46% (2.24 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $31,015
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +4.31% (8th in the nation)

3. Cleveland, OH

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +14.92% (2.31 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $75,831
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +4.31% (8th in the nation)

2. Arivaca, AZ

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +16.75% (2.59 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $121,751
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +7.59% (1st in the nation)

1. Rock Hill, SC

  • Relative increase in home values in 2020: +18.04% (2.79 times the national average)
  • Zillow Home Value Index (October 2020): $215,343
  • Statewide relative home value increase: +4.14% (22nd in the nation)

If you have any questions or comments about this article or would like to request the data, please contact insights@insurify.com.

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