Fastest-Growing Housing Markets: Buffalo, Grand Rapids and Omaha

Fastest-Growing Housing Markets: Buffalo, Grand Rapids and Omaha

Redfin report singles out three metros, with prices below the national median, for having the fastest housing markets in January.

Buffalo, N.Y., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Omaha, Neb., were home to the country’s fastest housing markets in January, according to a new report from Redfin, the next-generation real estate brokerage. The typical home in each market costs less than the national median, unlike last January when homes in expensive metros like San Jose, Seattle and Oakland sold the fastest.

Buffalo and Grand Rapids were the fastest markets, with the typical home that sold in January on the market for 28 days before going under contract in each metro area. Compared to last year, homes in Buffalo sold seven days faster and and those in Grand Rapids sold two days slower. Omaha was the third fastest market at a median 29 days in January, flat from last year.

Other signs also indicate that the Buffalo, Grand Rapids and Omaha housing markets are heating up. Home prices rose faster annually in January in all three areas than they did nationwide, and supply in each metro was either flat or down, compared with a 6.3 percent increase nationally.

“During the recession, job seekers migrated to employment hubs like the Bay Area and New York to find work,” said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. “But now that unemployment is low across the nation, workers have the opportunity to move to small, affordable cities, like Buffalo, Grand Rapids and Omaha, without sacrificing job security.”

January 2019 housing markets statistics for Buffalo, Grand Rapids and Omaha




in days

sale price

change in
sale price

change in
home sales

change in


point change
in sold above

list price

Buffalo, NY








3.2 pts.

Grand Rapids, MI








0.8 pts.

Omaha, NE







-9.9 pts.









-3.5 pts.


Local Redfin agents noted that in all three markets, more homebuyers are moving in from big, expensive cities—and as more people move in, homes go off the market faster and prices rise.

Buffalo Attracts Young People Moving Home

Buffalo residents and people moving into town are excited about its resurgence, a feeling that’s reflected in the housing markets in the most desirable neighborhoods and suburbs, said local Redfin agent Lesley Lannan. But even though home prices are going up, they’re still lower than they are in most parts of the country.

“While the current inventory shortage, paired with strong demand, is resulting in bidding wars, quick sales and rising prices, most local homebuyers still find that their dream home is within reach. In many parts of the country that’s no longer true, even for well-employed professionals,” Lannan said.

In the past few years, Lannan has helped more and more young professionals move back to their hometown of Buffaloafter starting their careers elsewhere.  “Young people are coming back now because the community has been revived, the cost of living and housing is relatively low and maybe they’re having children and want to be close to family,” Lannan said. “I’m seeing people move back from coastal cities like San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston and New York City.”

Grand Rapids Provides Relief for Migrants Leaving Expensive Metros

Shellie Silva, a Redfin agent in Grand Rapids, said the housing markets have been growing rapidly since she moved to the area from San Diego three years ago. The buyer pool in the area is made up largely of people moving from Chicago, and she has also met with buyers from California and Hawaii. One reason for the area’s popularity is its relative affordability.

“A lot of homebuyers in Grand Rapids have reverse sticker shock when they come to town. They can’t believe how affordable the homes and property taxes are,” Silva said. “Homebuyers in Grand Rapids joke about buying two homes because they’re so affordable compared to other parts of the country. In fact, many of them are able to own more than one home in Michigan: One right in town and a getaway cottage for the summer.”

Omaha’s Recent Facelift Makes it Popular for Those Seeking Affordability

Dakotah Smith, a local agent in Omaha, said a lot of homebuyers are moving into the area from places like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Denver. Smith himself moved to Omaha from Washington, D.C., several years ago because of its relative affordability and good job market. He says he continues to be excited by Omaha’s “new era.”

“Everyone who visits Omaha is floored by the quality of our restaurants, breweries and beloved zoo. Over the last four years, whole new entertainment districts have popped up out of almost nowhere,” Smith said. “The Blackstone District was built from scratch and it’s a go-to for great dining and cocktails. The brand-new Capitol District is a major project with new restaurants and bars. Older neighborhoods like the Benson district and North Omaha are getting new life. And to top it all off, major new mixed-use developments are sprouting up from the cornfields in the suburbs.”

To read the full report, including additional Redfin agent insights and information on January’s housing market, please Click Here.