Across the U.S., the cost of living is increasing and wages aren't rising fast enough to cover it. Since housing costs almost always account for the largest percentage of living expenses, you might want to consider moving to a cheaper area. The problem is, you need to make your move before every place you're looking to buy in flies out of reach.
To help address this problem, GOBankingRates conducted a study to identify the top neighborhoods to buy into before they get too expensive. We analyzed over 1,700 neighborhoods throughout the U.S. and studied trends in home prices, home availability and how long homes sit on the market, in order to find the neighborhoods that provide the best buying opportunity right now.
Click through to see which housing markets are on fire before everyone else gets in on the action.
20. Hyde Park: Chicago
- Median list price July 2016: $245,000
- Median list price July 2017: $299,900
- Year-over-year increase: 22.41 percent
- Median days on market: 55
Hyde Park displays many of the hallmarks of an up-and-coming neighborhood. It is home to a prestigious university — the University of Chicago — which boosts its appeal because college towns have earned a reputation for encouraging economic and community growth. Hyde Park also has a characteristically younger population, with more than a fifth of residents between ages 25 to 34.
19. East Las Vegas: Las Vegas
- Median list price July 2016: $108,000
- Median list price July 2017: $140,000
- Year-over-year change: 29.63 percent
- Median days on market: 49
Las Vegas took a beating during the housing bubble, but most of its markets have recovered well. The neighborhood of East Las Vegas has been on a hot streak, with home prices rising by almost 30 percent since last year. But if you’re looking to buy a house, you'd better not wait. The available supply of homes for sale has dropped sharply over the last two years. If housing demand remains high, this could lead to a dramatic rise in housing prices.
18. East Atlanta: Atlanta
- Median list price July 2016: $299,000
- Median list price July 2017: $362,450
- Year-over-year increase: 21.22 percent
- Median days on market: 28
East Atlanta occupies a key spot in Atlanta, bordered to the north by Interstate 20, a major highway that runs from Columbia, S.C. through Atlanta and out to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
The neighborhood also occupies a middle ground in terms of cost of living and crime. To the north, cost of living is much higher and crime much lower in ZIP codes 30307 and 30306, which include affluent neighborhoods such as Virginia Highland. But to the east of East Atlanta, the cost of living falls while crime levels rise significantly. Georgia is also one of the best states for first-time homebuyers.
17. River Oaks: Memphis, Tenn.
- Median list price July 2016: $218,500
- Median list price July 2017: $279,900
- Year-over-year increase: 28.10 percent
- Median days on market: 42
River Oaks offers crime rates that are much lower than the Memphis metro area in general. To the northeast lies Shelby Farms Park, which hosts activities like zip lining, laser tag and a farmers market.
Like other up-and-coming neighborhoods, River Oaks is bisected by an important highway. Interstate 240 forms the beltway around Memphis and connects the outlying suburbs with the city center.
16. Allapattah: Miami
- Median list price July 2016: $154,500
- Median list price July 2017: $189,000
- Year-over-year increase: 22.33 percent
- Median days on market: 29
A big theme with many of the hottest neighborhoods is a convenient commute. This allows people to live in cheaper areas outside downtown, but still be able to easily get to the city center for work.
Allapattah embodies the easy commute. The up-and-coming neighborhood sits at the crossroads of several major, and useful, highways. Interstate 95 takes you into downtown Miami, while the Dolphin Expressway can take you right into Miami Beach.
15. Dawson: Austin, Texas
- Median list price July 2016: $403,750
- Median list price July 2017: $495,000
- Year-over-year change: 22.6 percent
- Median days on market: 27
Texas is the state to move to these days, as its major cities have experienced rising populations and economic growth. Austin is a major part of this, and such high-growth job centers tend to draw people to surrounding neighborhoods to live.
Dawson is just three miles south of downtown Austin. It offers easy access to Interstate 35 and public transit.
Know Your Texas Housing Market: 8 States With the Biggest Real Estate Bubbles
14. Greater Pinellas Point: St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Median list price July 2016: $200,000
- Median list price July 2017: $245,000
- Year-over-year change: 22.50 percent
- Median days on market: 25
Greater Pinellas Point sits on the southern tip of St. Petersburg, jutting out into Tampa Bay. The eastern part of this up-and-coming neighborhood includes Interstate 275, which runs through the centers of St. Petersburg and Tampa.
13. Bagley: Detroit
- Median list price July 2016: $49,900
- Median list price July 2017: $63,000
- Year-over-year increase: 26.25 percent
- Median days on market: 33
Bagley by far has the cheapest home prices in our study. Even after increasing more than 25 percent since last year, the median list price, $63,000, is a fraction of the current U.S. median of $200,700.
The appeal of this neighborhood is less about a convenient commute, and more about cheap home prices and possibilities. With a median price per square foot of $30, Bagley houses are ideal for buying up and putting your stamp on them.
12. Sherwood Forest: Baton Rouge, La.
- Median list price July 2016: $165,000
- Median list price July 2017: $203,750
- Year-over-year increase: 23.48 percent
- Median days on market: 24
Like many of America’s hottest neighborhoods, Sherwood Forest benefits from its proximity to a major university — in this case, Louisiana State University. The cost of living in this neighborhood is less than the U.S. average, and it's easier to stretch your paycheck here. Not surprisingly, these factors have generated a young population in Sherwood Forest, with almost one-fifth of people being ages 25 to 34.
11. Loretto: Jacksonville, Fla.
- Median list price July 2016: $150,000
- Median list price July 2017: $190,000
- Year-over-year increase: 26.67 percent
- Median days on market: 29
Florida boasts several up-and-coming neighborhoods that made it into our study. Jacksonville alone had many neighborhoods that just missed making it onto our final list. Jacksonville experienced historic flooding when Hurricane Irma hit on Sept. 10, but it's too soon to say if the damage will affect housing prices.
Strategic location is crucial to this neighborhood’s rise. Loretto lies alongside Interstate 295, the main beltway that connects Jacksonville to the surrounding suburbs. Loretto's residents earn higher incomes than most of the Jacksonville metro area, with almost 18 percent of the population making an income between $100,000 and $150,000.
10. Highland Hills: San Antonio
- Median list price July 2016: $99,799.50
- Median list price July 2017: $135,000
- Year-over-year increase: 35.27 percent
- Median days on market: 46
It’s starting to sound like old news, but Texas cities have become the epicenter of economic growth and job opportunities. San Antonio is a prime example, especially as it courts Amazon and tries to encourage the company to build its new $5 billion campus in the city, as the San Antonio Express-News reported. San Antonio is an affordable city, so even though it's large you don't need to earn as much to live comfortably there.
Highland Hills is in an ideal spot to take off. Commuting to downtown San Antonio is easy with Interstate 37 passing right through the neighborhood. Its cost of living is cheaper than the U.S. overall, especially in housing.
9. Bayside West: Tampa, Fla.
- Median list price July 2016: $174,700
- Median list price July 2017: $229,900
- Year-over-year increase: 31.6 percent
- Median days on market: 38
Home prices rose nearly a third from 2016 to 2017 in Bayside West, and soon affordability could become an issue. Home inventory has been falling continuously for more than two years. With housing supply dwindling, prices are sure to skyrocket with demand. On top of that all, the cost of living in this up-and-coming neighborhood now exceeds the U.S. average — but not by much, so there’s still time to get in.
8. Fairgrounds: Indianapolis
- Median list price July 2016: $139,500
- Median list price July 2017: $179,900
- Year-over-year increase: 28.96 percent
- Median days on market: 30
With Detroit and Indianapolis making our list, it seems like America’s old manufacturing cities could be making a comeback. In the Fairgrounds neighborhood, home prices are cheap and houses are flying off the market faster than most homes in the U.S. overall.
The cost of living is affordable compared to the rest of the nation, with housing costs being especially cheap here.
7. Twin Lakes: Las Vegas
- Median list price July 2016: $129,450
- Median list price July 2017: $182,450
- Year-over-year increase: 40.94 percent
- Median days on market: 45
Twin Lakes experienced the second-largest increase in home prices, year-over-year, in our study. Available homes for sale have dropped dramatically over the last two years. If you don’t buy soon, you could face soaring prices when demand gets out of hand.
6. Hazelwood: Portland, Ore.
- Median list price July 2016: $265,000
- Median list price July 2017: $324,450
- Year-over-year increase: 22.43%
- Median days on market: 5
No list of America’s hottest neighborhoods would be complete without an entry from Portland. Hazelwood is so hot that the median time houses stay on the market is five days. Compare that to the U.S. median of 37 days.
5. Pinehurst: Seattle
- Median list price July 2016: $280,500
- Median list price July 2017: $350,000
- Year-over-year increase: 24.78 percent
- Median days on market: 7
Seattle’s Pinehurst neighborhood is hot, just like Hazelwood in Portland. The median amount of time a home stays on the market before getting snatched up is just seven days.
Another good way to measure the temperature of Pinehurst’s housing market is its sales-to-list ratio, which compares home sale prices to list prices. When it exceeds 100 percent, which is unusual, it means people are paying more than the listing price, reflecting serious demand. In this up-and-coming neighborhood, the sales-to-list price is nearly 110 percent.
4. Heather Gardens: Denver
- Median list price July 2016: $218,950
- Median list price July 2017: $278,750
- Year-over-year increased: 27.31 percent
- Median days on market: 10
The housing market in the Denver neighborhood of Heather Gardens is even hotter than Pinehurst and Hazelwood. Homes spend slightly more time on the market in Heather Gardens, but the median days on market is still only 10. Equally significant, the median list price in this up-and-coming neighborhood jumped by more than 27 percent, beating both Hazelwood and Pinehurst.
3. Point Breeze: Philadelphia
- Median list price July 2016: $210,000
- Median list price July 2017: $295,000
- Year-over-year change: 40.48 percent
- Median days on market: 31
The City of Brotherly Love is home to the third-hottest neighborhood in the country. Home prices rose by an impressive 40.48 percent in the last year. And the median time on the market is less than the U.S. median of 37 days.
Point Breeze boasts a great central location in Philadelphia. It lies just to the south of Center City, the main business district, as well as notable places like Rittenhouse Square. The University of Pennsylvania is to the northwest, across the Schuykill River. With Point Breeze as your median price, see how much house $300,000 buys you in Pennsylvania.
2. Beacon Hill: Seattle
- Median list price July 2016: $434,500
- Median list price July 2017: $569,995
- Year-over-year change: 31.18 percent
- Median days on market: 8
Coming in as the No. 2 hottest neighborhood is another Seattle entry, Beacon Hill. Despite a big jump in median home price, houses continue to fly off the market in this neighborhood. Over the last five years, there’s been a significant long-term decline in available inventory that seems bent on pushing prices even higher. Who knows where they will be next year.
1. Jungle Terrace: St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Median list price July 2016: $165,999.50
- Median list price July 2017: $239,900
- Year-over-year change: 44.52 percent
- Median days on market: 10
Florida reigns as the king of the hottest neighborhoods in the U.S. The neighborhood of Jungle Terrace has truly taken off, seeing home prices almost double from 2016 to 2017. At the same time, housing demand hasn’t let up, with the median time on the market spanning only 10 days.
Jungle Terrace benefits from a great location. It straddles U.S. Highway 19, which connects St. Petersburg in the south to Clearwater to the north. Both cities have lower unemployment rates than the U.S. overall, and both anticipate future job growth that exceeds the national average. As an up-and-coming neighborhood set right between these two, Jungle Terrace stands to gain a lot.
Methodology: To determine the hottest neighborhoods in the U.S., GOBankingRates calculated 1) the year-over-year increase in median list prices for 1,761 neighborhoods across the country, July 2016 to July 2017, with neighborhood price data sourced from Zillow. The other principal factor was 2) median days on market, which is the median amount time homes stay on the market before being sold, sourced from Redfin.