Hottest zip codes in America: These are the most popular towns to live in

A zip code in Colorado Springs, Colorado — known for its affordability, good weather and outdoor activities — tops the list amid the coronavirus pandemic.
/ Source: TODAY

The list of the hottest zip codes in the United States is out.

Danielle Hale, Realtor.com's chief economist, stopped by TODAY with Hoda & Jenna to talk about the website's list of the most popular zip codes in America in the real estate market during the pandemic.

"The suburbs were becoming more desirable even before the pandemic as young buyers get to ages where they're starting families, settling down, looking for more space," she said. "The pandemic has really accentuated that trend as people are home more often trying to do more things from home — often work, learn, play, live. Space has really become important."

On what it takes for a zip code to make the list, Hale says time on the market and buyer interest informs the website's decision to rank the towns accordingly.

"Homes on the hottest zip codes list are selling fast — on average they are selling in 18 days, so faster than surrounding areas," Hale said. "And they're also getting a lot of buyer interest. Buyers are checking out these properties more than anywhere else."

Many of the hottest zip codes are located in the Northeast, a region recovering from the pandemic.

The zip code that tops the list is 80911, which belongs to a section of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Last year, the city tied with Honolulu to top U.S. News & World Report's annual list of the most desirable places to live in the country.

"This zip code is very affordable relative to the surrounding markets. There's lots of great things to do in Colorado Springs nearby; you've got Garden of the Gods park. It gets 300 days of sunshine each year. There's also the new Olympic & Paralympic Museum that's there, so lots of reasons to locate out West where it's sunny and you can enjoy the outdoors."

Other towns that top the list include Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Rochester, New York; and Melrose, Massachusetts.

Why are so many of the hottest zip codes in the Northeast? Hale said that western markets, particularly in California, have struggled to build enough homes to keep them affordable. Another reason has to do with the pandemic.

"We saw that the Northeast was hit really hard with the coronavirus early on, but since, it's doing really well. And as the economies in the Northeast recover, so, too, do their housing markets," said Hale. "That's why we are seeing so many northeastern markets on the list this year."

Top 10 hottest zip codes in the United States

  • 1. Colorado Springs, Colorado (80911)
  • 2. Reynoldsburg, Ohio (43068)
  • 3. Rochester, New York (14617)
  • 4. Melrose, Massachusetts (02176)
  • 5. South Portland, Maine (04106)
  • 6. Topeka, Kansas (66614)
  • 7. Hudson, New Hampshire (03051)
  • 8. Worcester, Massachusetts (01602)
  • 9. Springfield, Virginia (22152)
  • 10. Raleigh, North Carolina (27604)