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With demand sky-high, 2022 is shaping up to be one of the busiest years on record for the housing market.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) forecasts that mortgage lenders will dole out $1.74 trillion for purchase loans this year – surpassing the $1.61 trillion loaned in 2021.

For homebuyers, that means another year of scarce inventory, fierce bidding wars, and rising home prices. Whether you plan on buying into a hot market or avoiding them altogether, it’s helpful to know where the homebuying hotspots will be in 2022 and how affordable they are.

So we paired Zillow’s “Hottest Housing Markets” list with the most recent housing affordability and home price data to show you what to expect in 2022’s busiest markets.

Zillow Rank Metro Housing opportunity index (HOI)* Median sale price**
 National average56.6%$383,000
1Tampa, Fla.57.6%$330,000
2Jacksonville, Fla.65.2%$323,000
3Raleigh, N.C.65.7%$396,000
4San Antonio, Texas59.3%$305,000
5Charlotte, N.C.67.2%$360,000
6Nashville, Tenn.N/A$397,000
7Atlanta, Ga.68.8%$349,000
8Phoenix, Ariz.51.2%$430,000
9Orlando, Fla.52.3%$350,000
10Austin, Texas55.5%$479,000
*Q32021 HOI from the National Association of Home Builders. **November 2021 median sale price from Redfin.

Ranking hottest markets by affordability

The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) measures the share of homes that are affordable to families making the local median income for a given metro area.

For example, 67.2% of the homes in Charlotte are affordable for families making the area median income of $84,200. Nationwide, 56.6% of homes are affordable at the national median income of $79,900.

Here are Zillow's 10 hottest housing markets for 2022 ranked by their HOI heading into the new year:

zillows hottest housing markets ranked by housing opportunity index

Based on the latest HOI data, seven of Zillow’s 10 hottest housing markets are more affordable than the U.S. average – for now. Spoiler alert: they won’t stay that way for long.

Here’s a look at how last year’s two hottest markets – Austin and Phoenix – changed over the course of 2021.

Metro/Year Zillow rank HOI Median sale price
Austin 2021167.1%$365,000
Austin 20221055.5%$479,000
Metro/Year Zillow rank HOI Median sale price
Phoenix 2021266.6%$338,000
Phoenix 2022851.2%$430,000

What makes a hot market?

“Hottest market” could mean any number of things – most home sales, fastest home sales, lowest inventory, most bidding wars, literal air temperature (based on this year’s list).

But it all translates into one thing: price growth. In 2022, Zillow predicts home prices in Tampa will grow the fastest, followed by Jacksonville and Raleigh.

That’s because they have many of the same economic fundamentals that Phoenix and Austin did in the beginning of 2021. These include job growth, motivated and qualified buyers, and a short supply of inventory that will sell high and fast.

But the secret sauce for 2022 is that these markets largely avoided the explosive growth many markets saw in 2021 and are still more affordable than the national average.

With prices soaring across the country, the housing market has become much like a youth soccer game with homebuyers chasing affordability from market to market. Last year, the ball was kicked to Phoenix, Boise, Austin, and Salt Lake City. This year, Zillow sees the ball heading toward Tampa, Jacksonville, and Raleigh.

The question for homebuyers is whether to get there early or get out of the way.

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