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Tales from the market: Where people are moving

Here are the hottest ZIP codes across five of our markets for homebuyers.


Kerry Melcher

5/4/2021 · 8 min read

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Like many Americans, Opendoor customer Mike Aviles remembers feeling uncertain about selling his family’s home in New York and finding a new home in Raleigh-Durham during the pandemic.

“We decided to leave New York and move to Raleigh to give my family a better quality of life,” Mike shares. “After touring homes for six months, we finally found a home that checked all of our boxes: it was in a great neighborhood, had more space for our family, was close to my aging parents, and just a short commute to work.”

“But, while we were excited about the house, selling our home in New York was a big stressor,” he continues. “Because of COVID-19, we had an issue with escrow of the sale of our old home. And, the sellers of our new home wouldn’t budge on the timeline. Opendoor stepped in and completely saved us from being in a bind.”

Using Opendoor’s cash-backed offer program, Mike was able to secure his next home using Opendoor’s cash. Once his New York home sold and his financing was eligible, he purchased the new home from Opendoor. No double moves, no double mortgages, no stress. “Opendoor made what could’ve been a complicated process into a completely seamless experience,” Mike said. “We didn’t miss out on our dream home and are now happily enjoying our new life in Raleigh.”

Like Mike and his family, many people decided to upgrade their homes or relocate over the last year amidst a wildly competitive local housing market. For some, COVID influenced the amenities they’d like to have at home and where they want to live. For others—particularly those living in cities to be closer to an office—flexible work options have made it possible to live in a more suburban neighborhood or rural area.

As we enter what’s typically the peak season in real estate, we revisited last summer’s hottest ZIP codes to see which areas buyers are still interested in this spring. While some neighborhoods maintained their ranking on our list of the hottest ZIP codes in thriving markets, we also uncovered a number of new places that people would like to call home. Here are the top 10 hottest ZIP codes for homebuyers in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, and Raleigh-Durham.

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta’s beloved neighborhoods remain popular places for people and their families when looking for a new place to call home. Neighborhoods in South Fulton, College Park, Douglasville, Williamsburg Park and Stockbridge maintained their top 10 ranking, while new hot spots like Lawrenceville and Snellville earned a spot on the list this spring.

“The Atlanta housing market continues to advance at a record pace. We see multiple drivers contributing to this historic market. The historically low interest rates continue to unlock more buyers. Additionally, the desirable lifestyle and affordability in Atlanta continue to entice out-of-state buyers to move to the area. All of this combined with the work-from-home shift has buyers looking for more space in the suburbs at a time when inventory is at historic lows. Across the country, housing inventory is reportedly reaching record-breaking lows. And in Atlanta, it’s no different. In fact, market data indicates that there are 3X fewer listings than this time last year. Because of this, we’re seeing buyers widening their searches and exploring different areas of the city. Lawrenceville, Conyers, and Stockbridge are some of the hottest areas east of I-75, and Marietta, Douglasville, and College Park represent some of the hottest ZIP codes on the west side,” our Atlanta General Manager Jay Cherry shares.

Charlotte, NC

It comes as no surprise that Charlotte is one the fastest-growing U.S. cities as people continue to flock to the state’s largest city for its great weather, thriving social scene, and affordable family-friendly neighborhoods in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties.

“We’re continuing to see lots of young families move to North Carolina. Charlotte specifically is seeing more demand than even Raleigh-Durham and at a higher price point, up to $450K, particularly in surrounding suburbs where their dollar goes farther. We see this in south Charlotte, near the state line and towards Lake Norman to the north. Neighborhoods like Matthews and Mint Hill, which are southeast and east of Charlotte, are seeing demand from buyers looking for more space due to COVID-19, and families new to the Charlotte area,” notes Charlotte General Manager Jon Enberg.

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

Last summer, we saw Dallas emerging as a top place for students, professionals, and families to live and the area remains a highly desirable place to call home. Out-of-state movers continue to flock to the state and drive up prices near city centers, leading many to move to the suburbs to get more for their money. While Tarrant, Arlington, Frisco, and Denton were some of the hottest spots in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for home shoppers then, we’ve seen a notable uptick in interest in Wylie and Saginaw this year.

“While the overwhelming theme of all the top ZIPs is affordability and school preference, Wylie in 75098 is a Dallas gem. Areas like Wylie that are north of Dallas, particularly those between Plano and Dallas, have been and will continue to be popular places to buy and live. People who live in Wylie enjoy a small-town feel with big city Dallas right at their fingertips. Housing is affordable yet crime rates are low so it’s perceived as a safe area with good schools and super friendly people. Perfect for families. Saginaw, in 76131, is a small city and a bit more rural with a country-like feel. Businesses have begun to invest in Saginaw so that coupled with Saginaw’s very close proximity to Fort Worth makes it no surprise that this ZIP would be on your list,” Dallas-Fort Worth General Manager, Sharon Brown observes.

Phoenix, AZ

Still one of America’s fastest-growing cities, we’ve seen the most movement for popular neighborhoods in Phoenix with only two of the same areas —Peoria and San Tan Valley—from last year’s list. This spring, Glendale, Goodyear and Chandler are the top three most popular neighborhoods for buyers.

“Phoenix has some of the most dynamic neighborhoods in the state offering something for every type of homebuyer. Glendale is a solid option for first-time homebuyers providing residents with affordable living and median home values of $170K, paired with a cost of living coming in seven percent lower than the national average. ZIPs, like 85338 in Goodyear, offer residents a diverse blend of amenities with abundant business, residential, cultural, educational and entertainment resources, not to mention is surrounded by desert vistas, golf courses, lakes, parks, palm-lined streets and scenic mountain views of Sierra Estrella and White Tank Mountains. Chandler, in 85225, has a population that’s steadily been on the rise – with the median age of 34 and a neighborhood park in every residential square mile of the city, it’s a great place for young families to settle down,” our Phoenix General Manager Michelle Meyers explains.

Raleigh-Durham, NC

Residents in the Triangle love their favorite neighborhoods! The majority of Raleigh-Durham ZIP codes earned a spot on our report for the second time, while new areas such as Garner, Millbrook and Knightdale round out the list.

Raleigh-Durham General Manager Jon Enberg adds, “Many of these ZIPs are desirable due to a median sales price of less than $300K. Those homes are in the most demand and have the least supply. Buyers at this price point range from first-time homeowners to small investors to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and growing families. The top areas are northeast Raleigh, Clayton and east Durham. These ZIPs are areas where a buyer can get more for their money and have easy access to most of the Triangle. They are also the areas that are appreciating the fastest – many multi-offer situations, above list price, and as-is sales.”

Are you looking to sell your home or buy a new one in one of Opendoor’s hottest markets? Learn more about how we work with sellers to provide a competitive, all-cash offer and help buyers through our cash-backed offers program today.

Kerry Melcher is the Head of Brokerage & Sales and in-house real estate expert at Opendoor.

Methodology: For purposes of this article, top ZIP codes are defined as those that saw the most interest with actual in-home visits to Opendoor-owned properties from prospective buyers during the three months of January, February and March 2021 without adjusting for the size of the ZIP code. Home shoppers who visit a listed Opendoor home unlock the front door with our app, providing anonymous insights like the volume of visits and homebuyer interest in particular ZIP codes.

Further reading

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Kerry MelcherAuthor