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A little-known Midwestern city is America's best suburb to move this year

Published by Business Insider on Mon, 03 May 2021


<p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/608c620c34af8d001859a5c4-1348/Screen%20Shot%202021-04-30%20at%2012.58.18%20PM.png" border="0" alt="westfield indiana" data-mce-source="The City of Westfield, Indiana"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Eric Forney can't remember a single home for sale in Westfield, Indiana, over the last year that didn't receive multiple offers.</p><p>Forney, a Keller Williams real estate agent in the suburban enclave 30 miles north of downtown Indianapolis, told Insider that properties in the area regularly attract bids 10% to 25% over the listing price.</p><p>The buzz around Westfield real estate is understandable: The city was recently anointed the best suburb in the country to move, topping <a href="https://www.homes.com/blog/2021/04/best-suburbs-2021/">a ranking</a> on real-estate listings portal Homes.com.</p><p>To come up with the list, Homes.com evaluated suburbs from the US Census Bureau's list of fast-growing towns in each state to determine the best ones to move to this year based on a series of pandemic-era necessities. Nine "home-buying" factors determined the final list, including the home price-to-income ratio (which indicates affordability), median property square footage (a reference to how much spacious the homes are), yard acreage, access to fast internet for remote work, school district rankings, and more.</p><p>It's easy to see why Westfield dominated several categories. The city sits on 30 square miles just a 40-minute drive north of the state capitol. Craftsman-style homes with large yards dot the airy Midwestern landscape; young families frequent many beloved bakeries and breweries.</p><div><h1></h1> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="3" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; width:100%; max-width:100%; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px); width:540px"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div> </div> <p style="color:#c9c8cd; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://instagram.com/p/COBdTL0J7Qh/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_top">A post shared by Visit Hamilton County, Indiana (@visithamiltonco)</a>on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime=""></time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script></div><p></p><p>The up-and-coming suburb is even a favorite of the NFL's Indianapolis Coltsthe team holds training camp there every year, to the tune of <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/hamilton-county/2017/09/10/colts-pay-grand-park-653-k-10-years-but-economic-boost-may-greater/647568001/">a 10-year deal with the city</a> inked in 2017. The agreement infuses Westfield with a total of $653,000. The camp takes place at the Grand Park Sports Complex, a spiffy 400-acre facility that also serves as one of the country's main venues for <a href="https://www.visithamiltoncounty.com/sports/grand-park/">youth sporting events.</a></p><p>The Colts' seal of approval is just one indicator of a city on the verge. Westfield's population grew by 44% between 2010 and 2019, from roughly 30,000 to almost 44,000, according to census data.</p><p>Its home values rose in that time, too. Five years ago, the median sales price for a home in the area was $267,000, <a href="https://www.redfin.com/city/20524/IN/Westfield/housing-market">according to Redfin</a>. In February 2020, homes were selling for about $320,000 within a couple months of hitting the market.</p><p>The pandemic further accelerated buy interest in places like Westfield as remote work untethered many Americans from office tower-filled city centers and offered a reprieve from commute-time concerns. Similarly, COVID-19 stay-at-home orders inspired families toward new wants and needs, from extra square footage for home offices to more outdoor space for safe socializing and kids' recess.</p><p>As a result, satellite cities are booming. Take Manchester, New Hampshire:The former mill town about 45 minutes from Boston was named <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/hottest-housing-market-manchester-nashua-new-hampshire-real-estate-2021-4">the hottest housing market in the US</a> in March by Realtor.com. Demand from Boston commuters helped boost the area to the point that homes are flying off the market. Properties there are selling in under 19 days, down 50% compared to the same time last year.</p><p>In Westfield, the change is even more dramatic. Redfin found that homes there are selling for just over $350,000 and within a single work week. The five-day span that homes are spending on the market right now is 92.6% faster than last year.</p><div><h1></h1> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="3" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; width:100%; max-width:100%; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px); width:540px"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div> </div> <p style="color:#c9c8cd; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://instagram.com/p/CN-dkFoLmPi/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_top">A post shared by Danielle Addison, Realtor (@dealwithdanielle)</a>on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime=""></time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script></div><p></p><p>"We have a massive shortage in housing," said Forney, who heads up his own brokerage. He noted that buyers are so desperate to land a house that sight-unseen purchases are not uncommon. If they wait to see the house in person, they'll lose it.</p><p>Keller Williams agent Mike Lyons told Insider that he's never seen the local market so frenziedand he's been working as a realtor in the area for 27 years.</p><p>"The demand has increased every month for the past year," he said. "We've been through sellers' markets before, buyers' markets, and balanced markets, but I've never been in an extreme sellers' [market] like this." He recounted how prospective homebuyers are waiving inspections, offering all cash, and participating in bidding wars<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/buy-a-home-during-pandemic-challenges-stories-bidding-wars-2021-4">struggles experienced in every corner of the market across the country</a>.</p><p>Homes are selling so fast that his team has had to adjust home-buying strategies by reaching out to owners who haven't yet listed their homes and convincing them to sell.</p><p>"Our best avenue right now for buyers is to find them a property before it goes to market," he said. "If it goes to market, you're likely too late."</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/best-suburb-to-move-westfield-indiana-real-estate-remote-work-2021-5#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/sneaky-ways-costco-buy-more-tricks-2018-5">Sneaky ways Costco gets you to buy more</a></p>
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