OC cities make Zillow’s list of top 10 resi markets in U.S.

First-ever ranking of most popular places reflects work-from-home trend, listing site says

Old Town Tustin sign and Yorba Linda civic sign (tustinca.org, Waymark)
Old Town Tustin sign and Yorba Linda civic sign (tustinca.org, Waymark)

The Orange County cities of Yorba Linda and Tustin made Zillow’s debut top 10 list of most popular housing markets in America.

Yorba Linda took the sixth spot and Tustin ranked eighth.

The list was dominated by suburban cities that are generally seeing their home values grow faster on a quarterly basis than the dominant cities in their respective metro areas. The list also indicated that the work-from-home continues to exert a major influence on housing, said Nichole Bachaud, an economist for Zillow.

Consumers seemed to prefer suburban areas with relatively affordable prices and extra space over shorter commutes that come with housing markets closer to metro centers, she said.

“Research suggests the rise of remote work is responsible for roughly half of home price growth during the pandemic,” Bachaud said. “Demand for suburban homes found an extra gear last summer, perhaps as buyers gained more clarity in their employer’s return-to-office policies.”

The median value for a home in Yorba Linda is $1.2 million, which reflects a 28.7 percent increase since March 2021, according to Zillow’s home value index. The typical home price for a Tustin home is $1.02 million, which represents a 26.5 percent increase over the same period.

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Zillow compiled the list by analyzing its own page-view traffic for the first quarter of this year as well as price increases on year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter bases and increases in active for-sale listings as of March 2022 for more than 1,000 cities.

The suburban housing trend indicated by the Zillow analysis seems to extend to Orange County’s rental market. In a study released by Rent.com, apartments in Orange County’s inland cities saw price hikes in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the urban areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In December, Zillow put together a similar list. But it looked at ZIP codes and organized the results into subcategories such as most popular overall town, top beach town and top college town.

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