Lafayette, Ind. topped the emerging housing market list in the fourth quarter. Two other Indiana cities—Fort Wayne an Elkhart—joined it in the top three.
That’s according to the Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Market Index, which found that more affordable markets ranked highest. Topeka, Kan., and Johnson City, Tenn. rounded out the top five. (The Wall St. Journal‘s parent company News Corp operates Realtor.com.)
The index was created “[t]o help home buyers decide on the best place to make housing investments,” says the Journal, adding that it identifies “the housing markets… expected to provide a strong return on investment and offer a nice place to live.”
Factors that push markets up the list include an appreciating housing market, strong local economy, and appealing lifestyle amenities.
The Lafayette metro area, northwest of Indianapolis, is a manufacturing hub and home to Purdue University. It has about 225,000 people. The median home price in the county was $243,000 in December, according to the Journal. That’s up 13% from a year earlier but still more than $100,000 below the national median existing-home sales price of $366,900 in December.
Other Midwestern that markets rose in the index’s Q4 rankings include La Crosse, Wis.; Springfield, Ill., and Milwaukee.
Several pricier Florida markets that were at the top of Q3 rankings fell in Q4. Those include Tampa, North Port, Orlando, Cape Coral and Naples.