Predicting future home price appreciation has been a generally easy thing: it's going to happen. But with headwinds of high prices, the need for large down payments, rising mortgage rates, and increasing construction and land costs, location could become a much bigger and different factor than it has been.

The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com Spring 2022​ Emerging Housing Markets Index suggests that a combination of "key housing market data, as well as economic vitality and lifestyle metrics" points to areas of the Sun Belt and West that will "offer a high quality of life and are expected to see future home price appreciation."

There were a number of trends among the top 20 emerging housing markets. One is the general locations, a topic that frequently comes up. U.S. migration patterns to the Sun Belt have been an obvious factor since at least 2016, with Brookings Institution showing data from the Census Bureau. In 2020, west and south were where people were moving, according to U.S. News. Last year, the two regions were expected to be the big areas of retail development.

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