RALEIGH – Even with recent changes in the Triangle real estate market, Raleigh remains a top emerging market in the nation, ranking ninth in a new report from The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com.

The index on which the report is based tracks housing market data, economic data, and quality of life measures, then ranks more than 300 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States. It “highlights housing markets that offer shoppers healthy local economies, vibrant local business communities, and the kind of lifestyle features that will continue to draw others in. The index identifies markets that we believe are well-positioned for both homeowners and investors who are looking to make a purchase to consider,” the report notes.

While Raleigh ranked ninth overall, another North Carolina region ranked among the top 15 markets in the nation.

But it might not be the first region you’d imagine.

Burlington,  which is in Alamance County, ranked 15th in the fall 2022 index.  The region ranked second in the nation in the summer 2022 index rankings, when Raleigh ranked sixth.

A year ago, Durham-Chapel Hill ranked 19th, while Raleigh ranked fourth and Burlington ranked sixth.

Now might be best time to buy a house in Triangle – here’s why

What’s happening in Burlington

While many housing markets are showing signs of a slowdown, many of the markets ranked near the top of the list are still seeing market price appreciation.

Still, in specific areas of the country, including Burlington, the cost of housing remains comparatively affordable.  That’s also the case in Raleigh’s metropolitan statistical area, which includes Johnston County, where median home sale prices remain below the Triangle-wide averages, according to the latest data from the Triangle Multiple Listing Service.

“Compared to other parts of the Triangle and the Triad, home prices are lower, or more affordable,” said Teresa Brooks, the broker-in-charge of Keller Williams Central in Burlington.  “So a lot of people who are thinking they can’t afford to buy a home in the Triangle or the Greater Triangle, will come to Alamance County, where they can afford a bit more home for the same price.”

It’s not just affordability factors, though, that are bringing homebuyers to Burlington, noted Brooks.  The proximity and accessibility to both the Triad and the Triangle are key features for why Burlington is making the list of potential markets for those looking to move.

Even with mortgage rates on the rise, Brooks said that now might be the best to buy a house in Alamance County.  That’s because homebuyers, including first-time homebuyers, can work with agents and lenders to identify creative solutions to buy a home during a cyclical, seasonal market where the underlying market fundamentals still indicate future home value appreciation.

One first-time homebuyer that worked with the firm and closed on their new home on Monday was able to qualify for a program known as a 2-1 buydown, even with an FHA loan, said Brooks, and her team of agents helped the buyer successfully negotiate for the seller to pay the fees associated with entering into that program.

“We’re right now in a cyclical time, anywhere, where things slow down because of the season, however, it is still a great time to buy in Alamance County, even with mortgage interest rates rising,” said Brooks.

Climbing mortgage rates scaring buyers; Triangle prices are falling