National Housing Market OutlookDear Consultant

Introducing the Dear Consultant Newsletter

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Lesley Deutch

January 17, 2024

Introducing the Dear Consultant newsletter.

We are launching this bi-weekly column to address inquiries about the housing market. Email us anytime at, and we’ll feature your questions while ensuring complete anonymity.

Your questions, our expertise.

Which markets are not on most developers’/builders’ radars for the real estate industry in 2024 but should be?

We asked our consulting team to answer this question, as JBREC completed hundreds of market reports in 2023 across 118 markets and 34 states! The list contains their opinions; it is not comprehensive. Their selections are some of the top in-migration markets in the US and some surprising sleeper hits.

Top migration markets

  • Kaylin Czajkowski selected Ocala, Florida, noting that “Ocala’s winning combination lies in its unique blend of rolling hills, equestrian culture, laid-back lifestyle ideal for retirees, and access to employment, paired with affordable homes.” Ocala was the top in-migration market on our list, with most new residents moving from Orlando.
  • Zak Nyberg chose Melbourne, Florida, as it is “one of Florida’s last affordable coastal markets.” Melbourne benefits from a high-wage aerospace industry and access to major metropolitan areas like Orlando and South Florida. It is also a hot in-migration market, with most residents moving from Orlando.
  • Bryan Lawrence and Jeff Brazel chose Northwest Arkansas, as it’s one of the fastest-growing regions of the US that hasn’t experienced the massive additions to supply.
  • Oliver Radvin selected Columbia, South Carolina, state capital and home to the University of South Carolina. Columbia has a growing economy, low cost of living, and southern charm with a lively downtown. Columbia has also experienced strong in-migration recently, with most new residents coming from New York City.
  • Kevin Cody chose Savannah, Georgia, as it is home to one of the largest ports in the country. Savannah benefits from strong in-migration (from NYC) and is a more affordable option for buyers in most Southeast markets. 

Sleeper hits 

  • Jeff Kottmeier believes Charlottesville, Virginia, is an underrated market, as it has a “great outdoor lifestyle with a small-town feel.” Jeff also notes the presence of the University of Virginia, Shenandoah mountains, and location within 1.5 hours of Richmond and 2.5 hours of Washington, DC, as major benefits. 
  • Chris Dorociak believes Memphis, Tennessee, is a sleeper hit. Nashville took the spotlight during the real estate boom, but Memphis has lots of lifestyle appeal, attainably priced housing, and economic significance.
  • Peter Dennehy likes Columbus, Ohio, as a consistently solid performer with ample white-collar employment, a university town, and Intel’s two upcoming chip factories in Licking County.
  • Annie Radecki chose Chicago, Illinois. She believes the Midwest has infrastructure and transportation networks in place and will become more attractive as climate change makes coastal/hotter areas less attractive.

Final word

  • Scott Wild chose “all drive-to-qualify locations,” as being able to work from home one to two days per week makes a long commute more palatable the rest of the time. 

Location, product, and strategy can provide opportunities across most of the markets in the US. Reach out to our team if you need help analyzing your next investment!

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About The Author

Lesley Deutch photo
Lesley Deutch
Managing Principal
Lesley has more than 25 years of experience consulting with executives in the finance and real estate industries throughout North America. She works across a wide spectrum of industries including apartments, for-sale housing, high-rise development, urban projects, single-family rental, building products, and commercial developments.

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