The popular neighborhoods that come to mind for Louisvillians are Germantown, St. Matthews and different sections of the Highlands, but an area just outside the Watterson Expressway is one of the hottest in the national real estate market, according to Realtor.com.
Louisville’s 40242 ZIP code ranked No. 11 out of a list of the 50 “hottest zip codes” in the United States in 2016. Topping the list were Watuaga, Texas (76148); Pleasant Hill, Calif. (94523); and Northglenn, Colo. (80233). The numbers are based on data from January to July.
Houses on the market in 40242 sold in an average of 28 days, about 50 days faster than the national average. Listing for houses in that area also were viewed 2.6 times more than listings for homes in the surrounding Louisville Metro, according to numbers provided by Realtor.com.
“That is substantial,” said Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com’s chief economist. “That makes this unquestionably a highly desirable ZIP code this year.”
The area includes older homes, interesting architecture and multiple price points, he said, noting that all the top ranked ZIP codes feature affordable houses and are close to jobs. Ease of transportation and good schools also are factors many recent homebuyers are taking into account.
“The most sought after real estate in the country is places where you see a lot of growth,” Smoke said.
Many of the people buying homes are millennials who couldn’t afford to buy a home or didn’t want to buy a home previously, Smoke said. Older millennials felt the brunt of the recession, which forced some to postpone home buying until the economy improved, while younger millennials have delayed homeownership because they are getting married at later ages.
But now that millennials are aging, “we are seeing such a resurgence in first-time buyers and younger buyers,” Smoke said.
In Louisville this year, he said, 39 percent of home buyers were millennials — one of the highest percentages in the country. As the largest generation, millennials will continue to heavily impact the housing market for the next two decades.
Overall, the U.S. housing market is strong, particularly in the Midwest and South, where cities tend to be more affordable, Smoke said. Home values are rising, which raises confidence among home buyers and sellers, leads contractors to build more housing developments, and creates jobs and builds up the economy.
“It really points to a very healthy and dynamic market,” he said. “It is certainly the reverse of what we experienced eight years ago.”