Where are the next urban powerhouses? Realtor.com® researchers are betting on a handful of smaller cities to become red-hot, following in the steps of Seattle; Nashville, Tenn.; and Austin, Texas. Those cities once were known as secondary markets but have soared to primary status in recent years. “We’ll see small cities continue to be growth centers,” says Chris Porter, chief demographer at John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “A lot of them are in the South—a region with great affordability, a business-friendly environment, and warmer weather.”

Realtor.com® analyzed data from the 200 largest metros, excluding the top 15, which are already primary markets. Researchers looked at population growth, income, home prices, building permit growth, employment, and cultural amenities. (Note: Only one metro per state was included for geographic diversity.) Realtor.com® ranked the following smaller cities as the ones poised to become the next urban powerhouses: 

1. Salisbury, Md. 

  • Median home list price: $309,050

2. Lafayette, La. 

  • Median home list price: $210,050

3. Myrtle Beach, S.C.

  • Median home listing price: $239,050

4. Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.

  • Median home list price: $192,550

5. Winston-Salem, N.C.

  • Median home list price: $205,040

6. Grand Rapids, Mich.

  • Median home list price: $288,950

7. Knoxville, Tenn. 

  • Median home list price: $268,250