Ranking the hottest housing markets in the Twin Cities

With sales down and housing listings up, the housing market in the Twin Cities during 2018 was less frothy than it was the year before. Unless, of course, you were a first-time buyer or a downsizing Baby Boomer. Entry-level buyers outpaced sellers, and construction costs soared, pushing sale prices across the metro to a record high.

To find out which parts of the Twin Cities metro were most feverish, the Star Tribune compiled its third annual Hot Housing Index. The index ranks communities based on where houses sold more quickly than the year before, prices posted the biggest gains and sellers got closest to their asking price.

The trends were clear: Markets that fared the best were inner-ring suburbs like Crystal, Richfield and St. Anthony where houses are modest and close to the central cities. A few once-sleepy exurbs also stood out, including Otsego and Dayton where land is cheap and housing construction was unusually robust.

The Hot Housing Index combines four key housing metrics from year-end data provided by the Minneapolis Area Realtors: change in the median price per square foot; median days on market; percent of list price received by seller and share of all sales that were foreclosures or short sales. We ranked each community on the four metrics, then added the rankings together to get an index score.

Use the search tool below to see rankings for the 108 cities included in the Hot Housing Index, plus historical real estate sales data for those cities and an additional 62 cities in the 13-county metro area that didn't have enough sales last year to be included in the index. Historical data is also available for Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods.

Homes sold faster
The median number of days it took to sell a house in the 13-county metro. Data not available prior to 2007.
Home building is on the rebound
Percentage of newly built homes that were sold through the Multiple Listing Service in the 13-county metro. Some builders sell directly to buyers, so those sales aren't reported to the MLS
Prices reached new highs
Annual median sale price for homes in the 13-county metro.
Fewer options for buyers
Number of homes available for sale at the end of each year in the 13-county metro.

Search for your community or neighborhood

Type the name of your city in the 13-county metro area or your neighborhood in Minneapolis or St. Paul to see real estate trends going back to 2003. For cities with 75 sales or more last year, you can also see how it ranked in the Star Tribune's Hot Housing Index.
1: Otsego
2: Crystal
3: St. Anthony
4: Richfield
5: Dayton
6: Brooklyn Center
7: Columbia Heights
8: Fridley
9: Shoreview
10: Belle Plaine
11: Hopkins
12: White Bear Lake
13: Circle Pines
14: St. Paul
15: Robbinsdale
16: Anoka
17: Somerset
18: Big Lake
20: Spring Lake Park
20: St. Francis
22: Apple Valley
22: Minneapolis
23: Coon Rapids
24: St. Louis Park
26: Watertown
26: West St. Paul
27: St. Michael
28: Cottage Grove
29: Elk River
31: Champlin
31: Monticello
33: Burnsville
33: Lino Lakes
34: South St. Paul
35: Brooklyn Park
36: Mounds View
37: Blaine
38: New Hope
39: New Brighton
40: Hugo
41: Lake Elmo
42: Bloomington
43: Shakopee
44: Arden Hills
45: Inver Grove Heights
46: St. Paul Park
47: Eagan
49: Carver
49: Oakdale
50: Vadnais Heights
51: Roseville
52: Ramsey
53: North St. Paul
54: Montrose
55: Albertville
56: Cambridge
57: Maplewood
59: North Branch
59: Waconia
60: Jordan
61: Lakeville
62: Zimmerman
63: Isanti
64: Little Canada
65: Rosemount
66: East Bethel
67: Annandale
68: Andover
69: Farmington
70: Hudson
71: Savage
73: Mound
73: New Richmond
74: Norwood Young America
75: Woodbury
76: Maple Grove
77: Plymouth
78: Chaska
80: Rogers
80: Rush City
81: Forest Lake
82: Golden Valley
83: Shorewood
84: Wyoming
85: Buffalo
86: Stillwater
87: Mendota Heights
88: Hastings
89: Victoria
90: Chanhassen
91: Minnetonka
92: Eden Prairie
93: Lindstrom
94: Edina
95: Princeton
96: Prior Lake
97: River Falls
98: Wayzata
99: North Oaks
101: Mahtomedi
101: Medina
102: Delano
103: Becker
105: Ham Lake
105: Oak Grove
106: Elko New Market
107: Orono
108: Minnetrista
Navigate the 108 communities on the Hot Housing Index


Located in Wright County, Otsego ranked 1 on the Star Tribune's Hot Housing Index for 2018. Average price per square foot was up 20 percent compared to previous four-year average. Houses sold, on average, 2 days faster than the previous year. Sellers got, on average, 100 percent of their original list price. About 33 percent of the 537 sales were from new construction and less than 1 percent were short sales or foreclosures.

Historical real estate trends in Otsego

These key metrics provide a glimpse into how this real estate market has changed, particularly since the recession that lasted from December 2007 to June 2009.

Median days on market
The median number of days it took to sell a house in this community compared with the 13-county metro as a whole. Data prior to 2007 not available
Median sale price per square foot
Prices in this community compared to the 13-county metro as a whole.
Annual closed sales
During 2018 there was a decline in home sales in most metro communities because of a lack of options for buyers.
Homes for sale
Active house listings by the end of each year.

How Otsego compares to the rest of the metro

The histogram charts below use U.S. Census data to show where this city (noted by the blue lines) falls in relation to other cities in the 13-county metro area on key measures regarding all of its housing and household incomes.

Median value of owner-occupied homes
Most metro cities have a median value of about $210,000. The median in Otsego is $199,600
Median household income
There are cities in the Twin Cities that have median household incomes as low as $35,000 or as high as $195,000. The median in Otsego is $99,037
Percent owner-occupied homes
Most cities in the metro area have a housing stock that is dominated by owner-occupied homes, with a relatively small share of rental units. In Otsego, about 94% of the housing units are owner-occupied.
Percent cost-burdened owners
Households that spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs are considered "cost-burdened". The chart shows that there are some cities in the metro with as much as one-third of homeowners who are cost-burdened. In Otsego, about 15% of homeowners are cost-burdened.



American Community Survey 2017 and Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR) and RMLS of MN, Inc. Data deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Not to be reproduced without MAAR's consent.


The Star Tribune Hot Housing index includes cities from the 13-county metro area that had 75 or more closed sales last year. This is a change from prior years when the Star Tribune only included cities with 100 sales or more.


Numerical rankings were assigned to each community on four metrics, then those rankings were added together to create the final index score. We included cities in the 13-county metro area that had 75 or more sales last year. Here's how the rankings worked for the four metrics:

  1. We calculated the percentage change between the median price per square foot last year and the average across the previous four years. The change between those two numbers was then ranked. A ranking of 1 represented the lowest change.
  2. For median days on market, a score of 1 represented the most days on market, while the city with the shortest days on market got the highest score.
  3. For the percent of original list price received, the community with the lowest percentage got a score of 1. The highest-scoring communities tended to have an average percentage of list price received at or above 99 percent.
  4. The index also factored in the percentage of distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales). In this case, the community received a ranking of 1 if it had the highest percentage of distressed sales. Communities with low percentages of distressed sales got the highest scores.


  • February 26, 2019 - Previous versions of this article stated that Otsego was in Anoka county; this has been corrected to say that Otsego is in Wright county.