US Cities With the Biggest Shifts in Home Value and Population

Updated: June 11, 2024

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Despite rising mortgage rates, housing prices soared to a record high in April 2024, with Redfin reporting a median listing price of $383,725. Population growth is a critical factor that moves in tandem with rising housing prices and home values. A Cambridge University Press study found that a 1% increase in population growth tends to match a similar rise in housing prices.

To determine which U.S. cities have seen the highest growth in home values in recent years and to explore the connection between population growth and home value growth, MoneyGeek analyzed Zillow housing data for 625 cities with populations over 60,000. As of April 2024, cities in the Northeast experienced some of the highest year-over-year growth rates in home value. Similarly, in 2022, certain Florida cities had some of the highest one-year population growth rates and the greatest one-year home value increases.

KEY FINDINGS
  • From 2021 to 2022, U.S. city home values increased by 15% on average. Cities with declining populations grew by only 12%, while those with positive population growth experienced a 17% increase.

  • Florida cities of North Port, Cape Coral and Fort Myers experienced the highest home value growth from 2021 to 2022, each over 32%. Population growth in these cities was also above 4%, ranking them in the top 40 for this metric.

  • Despite population decreases, six California cities — Carlsbad, Santa Barbara, San Ramon, Newport Beach, Pleasanton and Lake Forest — experienced home value increases of over 20%. For comparison, cities with declining populations had an average growth in home value of only 12%, two percentage points less than the national average.

  • From April 2023–24, the Northeast witnessed substantial growth in home values. Camden, New Jersey, experienced the highest growth at 22%, while Waterbury and New Britain, Connecticut, saw home values jump by 18% and 15%, respectively.

  • Although national median home prices rose 5% from April 2023–24, home value increased only 3% in the 10 most populous cities. An exception was San Diego, which saw a growth rate of 12% — more than double the national average and quadruple the average in the largest cities.

Home Values in Cities With Rising Populations Grew 35% More Than Cities With Declining Populations

Home values rose in most U.S. cities between 2021 and 2022, averaging a 15% increase over the previous year. Cities with decreasing populations saw their home values grow by an average of 12%, while cities with population increases observed a more significant average growth of 17%. Notably, the top 40 fastest-growing cities — each with a population growth of about 4% and higher — saw their home values surge by 21%, on average.

From 2021 to 2022, the three cities with the most substantial growth in home values were in Florida, each also ranking in the top 40 for population growth. Most of the cities with the sharpest population drops saw home value growth rates in the study's bottom third.

Florida Surges in Home Values and Population Growth

Several Florida cities have experienced substantial growth in both home values and population. North Port, Florida, had the highest increase in home values nationwide, with a 33% jump from 2021 to 2022. Cape Coral, Florida, closely followed with a 32% rise in home values. Both cities also witnessed a 6% increase in population, placing them among the country's top 20 cities for population growth. Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres, Florida, also ranked in the top five, with home values climbing by 32% and population growth rates surpassing 4%, ten times the national average.

5 Cities With the Highest Growth in Home Values
City
Home Value Change (2021–22)
Population Change (2021–22)

1.

North Port, FL

33.2%

6.3%

2.

Cape Coral, FL

32.2%

6.1%

3.

Fort Myers, FL

32.1%

4.0%

4.

Lehigh Acres, FL

31.6%

8.2%

5.

Spring Hill, FL

31.1%

1.7%

5 Cities With the Largest Population Declines

Despite a 16% population decline—the highest in our study—home values in Pine Hills, Florida, increased 23% from 2021 to 2022. This situation is unique compared to the other top five cities for population decline, where home value growth was relatively low. In particular, Centreville, Virginia; St. Joseph, Missouri; and Silver Spring, Maryland, had population decreases of more than 6% and landed among the 90 cities with the lowest growth in home values from 2021 to 2022.

5 Cities With the Largest Population Declines
City
Population Change (2021–22)
Home Value Change (2021–22)

1.

Pine Hills, FL

-15.9%

23.3%

2.

Centreville, VA

-7.6%

8.7%

3.

Elgin, IL

-7.0%

11.7%

4.

St. Joseph, MO

-6.7%

7.2%

5.

Silver Spring, MD

-6.2%

4.7%

Despite Population Decline, California Cities Spike in Home Values

Lower population growth often accompanies lower home value growth, but California was an exception to this trend. Despite a roughly 1% dip in population growth from 2021 to 2022, the California cities in our study experienced a 14% rise in home values, almost matching the national average — noteworthy given that cities with declining populations only saw an average 12% increase in home values nationwide.

Additionally, six California cities with negative population growth recorded more than 20% home value increases, surpassing the national average by almost 8%. Carlsbad, California, had the highest value growth among cities with population declines in the state, with 26% home value growth despite a population decline.

California Cities With Over 20% Home Value Increase Despite Population Declines
City
Home Value Change (2021–22)
Population Change (2021–22)

1.

Carlsbad, CA

25.5%

-1.0%

2.

Santa Barbara, CA

25.1%

-0.8%

3.

San Ramon, CA

23.7%

-1.1%

4.

Newport Beach, CA

21.9%

-0.9%

5.

Pleasanton, CA

20.6%

-2.0%

6.

Lake Forest, CA

20.3%

-0.1%

Cities With the Highest Year-Over-Year Home Value Growth

The Northeastern U.S. had a significant increase in home values from April 2023 to 2024, with Camden, New Jersey, having the highest growth at 22%. Waterbury and New Britain in Connecticut also made the top five, with home values rising by 18% and 15%, respectively. Since January 2021, Waterbury home value has surged 69%, the highest in the nation since record-low mortgage rates hit.

Outside the Northeast, Irvine, California, also experienced a significant 56% growth in home values since January 2021, positioning it second in the country for home value growth from 2023 to 2024 (20%) and ninth nationwide for value growth since 2021.

Out of all the cities analyzed, Lehigh Acres, Florida, recorded the highest increase in home values since January 2021, with a 69% surge since mortgage rates reached their lowest.

5 Cities With the Highest Year-Over-Year Growth in Home Values
City
Home Value Change (2023–24)
Home Value Change (2021–24)

1.

Camden, NJ

21.5%

43.1%

2.

Irvine, CA

19.5%

55.9%

3.

Waterbury, CT

17.6%

69.0%

4.

New Britain, CT

15.4%

46.0%

5.

Rockford, IL

14.7%

44.3%

Year-Over-Year Home Value Growth in America’s 10 Largest Cities

Although the median U.S. home price climbed 5% between April 2023 and April 2024, the top ten most populous cities only increased by about 3%. Just three of these cities — San Diego, Los Angeles and Phoenix — had growth rates higher than the national average. San Diego had the highest at nearly 12%, more than double the national average, quadrupling the average across the ten largest cities. Conversely, New York, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, showed negative growth.

Year-Over-Year Home Value Growth in America’s 10 Largest Cities
City
Home Value Change (2023–24)
Population (2022)

1.

San Diego, CA

11.8%

1,381,182

2.

Los Angeles, CA

6.3%

3,822,224

3.

Phoenix, AZ

5.3%

1,644,403

4.

Chicago, IL

4.4%

2,665,064

5.

Dallas, TX

2.8%

1,299,553

6.

Philadelphia, PA

2.7%

1,567,258

7.

Houston, TX

2.3%

2,304,414

8.

New York, NY

-0.1%

8,335,897

9.

San Antonio, TX

-1.8%

1,472,904

10.

Austin, TX

-4.4%

975,335

MORTGAGE TIPS FOR NEW HOMEBUYERS

If you're eyeing a home in a different city, here are steps you can take to lower your housing costs and stretch your income:

  • Conventional home loans: Conventional home loans could benefit new homeowners. Unlike government-backed mortgages, these loans are not federally insured, allowing for flexibility in aspects like interest rates and down payments. Borrowers can choose from different loan types — including fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages or jumbo loans — based on their individual profiles.
  • Use a cost of living calculator: A cost of living calculator can help you quickly estimate how much you'll spend on housing, utilities, groceries and other expenses in a specific city.
  • Research your options: Research different mortgage options to see which type best suits your financial situation.

Expert Panel: Navigating High Home Prices and Market Dynamics

MoneyGeek interviewed experts to help homebuyers navigate high home prices and market dynamics. These experts explain how home prices rise due to limited supply, increasing demand, higher mortgage rates and an influx of higher-earning residents. Migration patterns further drive up prices by increasing local housing demand. They also outline actions that can benefit homebuyers, including budgeting carefully, seeking assistance programs, considering fixer-uppers, locking in mortgage rates early and working with skilled agents instead of waiting for lower rates.

  1. What are some key factors that contribute to a significant increase in home prices in a given city?
  2. How do migration patterns influence the housing market, particularly in cities experiencing a significant influx of new residents?
  3. What strategies can potential homebuyers use to navigate cities with high home prices?
  4. With high home prices and high mortgage rates, is this a market in which “waiting it out” is the best move, or are there other ways to find a good deal?
Orphe Divounguy, PhD
Orphe Divounguy, PhDSenior Economist
Kerry Sherin
Kerry SherinConsumer Advocate

Methodology

To identify the U.S. cities with the most significant increases in home values and their correlation with population growth, MoneyGeek analyzed housing data from Zillow for 625 cities with populations exceeding 60,000. The analysis involved comparing annual changes in home values using the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), which aims to reflect the typical property value within specific cities.

We calculated each city's year-over-year growth rates in home values and population from April 2023 to April 2024. We also looked at the home value growth rate from January 2021 — marking the period of record low mortgage rates — until April 2024.

To understand the relationship between home value growth and population growth, we averaged the monthly data for 2022 and 2021, then compared it with the United States Census Bureau's population data for 2021 and 2022, the most recent data available. We used home value rates from the same period to establish a correlation.

Full Dataset

Our data highlights the U.S. cities with the most significant annual shifts in home prices. It also explores the correlation between population growth and the surge in home values. See the data that shaped our story below.

City
Population (2022)
Home Value Change (2021–22)
Population Change (2021–22)
Home Value Change (2023–24)
Home Value Change (2021–24)

Abilene, TX

128,149

12.2%

-1.1%

3.1%

26.9%

Akron, OH

188,498

11.1%

-0.4%

10.1%

33.7%

Alameda, CA

76,039

10.0%

-0.4%

3.3%

13.1%

Albany, GA

67,922

19.2%

1.2%

7.2%

43.3%

Albany, NY

100,832

9.0%

2.2%

7.9%

28.2%

Albuquerque, NM

561,006

15.7%

-0.3%

7.2%

38.2%

Alexandria, VA

155,525

4.1%

0.5%

6.8%

12.5%

Alhambra, CA

80,264

12.3%

-1.2%

6.8%

21.2%

About Andre Pardillo


Andre Pardillo headshot

Andre Pardillo is a data journalist with several years of experience in the investment industry. He has worked as a financial and advisory data analyst for companies including Nasdaq and CTS Global, and has contributed to various data journalism projects, covering topics such as personal finance, mental health and human rights violations.

Pardillo holds a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in economics from the Ateneo de Manila University.