San Francisco and San Jose are considered the hottest housing markets in the nation, which is really nothing new. Of more significance, a grouping of further-out Bay Area cities, along with Sacramento submarkets are being labeled as top housing markets. According to Realtor.com, the Vallejo-Fairfield, Santa Rosa, Yuba City, Stockton and Modesto markets all ranked in the top 15 nationally during December. San Francisco, San Jose and Vallejo were ranked Nos. 1 through 3.

  • The five hot Northern California submarkets all have median home prices below $500,000.
  • Eight of the nation's 15 hottest housing markets are in Northern California.
  • Housing costs in San Francisco, San Jose and the East Bay seem to be pushing buyers further out.

San Francisco and San Jose are considered the hottest housing markets in the nation, which is really nothing new. But coming up on their heels is a grouping of further-out Bay Area cities, along with Sacramento submarkets that are being labeled as top housing markets.

According to Realtor.com, the Vallejo-Fairfield, Santa Rosa, Yuba City, Stockton and Modesto markets all ranked in the top 15 nationally during December.

Being in the top 15 suggests these markets received roughly 1.4 times to 2.9 times the number of views per-listing compared with the national average. Additionally, homes in these markets are said to sell 29 days to 51 days quicker than the rest of the U.S., with days on market dropping by a combined average of 15 percent year-over-year.

In short, it appears more buyers are purchasing homes further outside of San Francisco and the East Bay, with affordability likely the main attractor. While San Francisco and San Jose experienced year-over-year declines in home sales activity during November, four of these five markets, Stockton being the exception, saw activity rise.

Located in Solano County, the Vallejo-Fairfield metro ranked as the third-hottest housing market in December. According to Altos Research, the median price of a home in Vallejo stands at $347,103. In Fairfield the median value is $471,045.

Recent data from the California Association of Realtors (CAR) shows that November sales activity was up 14.8 percent year-over-year in Solano County.

Sonoma County’s largest city, Santa Rosa ranked as the eighth hottest market. As of November, the median home price in the market was $486,000, which is the highest value out of the five submarkets. Year-over-year sales activity was up 3.8 percent last month.

Surprisingly, Yuba City and Stockton ranked ninth and 10th, respectively. Both these cities have often been dubbed undesirable locations to live by reports, but it doesn’t appear to be deterring buyers. In Sutter County, which houses Yuba City, sales activity was up 15.4 percent year-over-year in November.

Yuba City’s median home price currently sits at $270,308, with Stockton close behind at $241,782, according to Altos.

South of Stockton, Modesto ranked as the 15th hottest market, carrying a median home price of $225,600. The city’s hotness has positively affected activity in Stanislaus County, up 3.3 percent year-over-year.

Of note, the Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade metro ranked as the fifth hottest metro in December. According to CAR, November sales activity was up 10.9 percent year-over-year.

Email Erik Pisor

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