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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Zillow released a list of the top 12 mid-sized cities to watch across the country. Huntsville ranks second on the list. The company took a look at several factors including housing market demand, continued opportunity for growth, and how quickly homes are selling.

Huntsville is on the list with cites like Boise, Idaho; Ogden, Utah; and Spokane, Washington. Zillow says mid-sized cities are replacing expensive coastal metros as areas poised for growth.

Analysts at Zillow say big cities like New York and San Fransisco have hit a price ceiling in terms of affordability for the average home buyer. They say there is a shift in where people want to live nowadays. And in this post-COVID-19 world, more people want to get more bang for their buck.

But the folks at Amanda Howard Soethby’s International say while COVID-19 has impacted the housing market in Huntsville, demand in the area is being driven by more factors than just that alone.

Howard says the market was hot before the pandemic due to growth and large manufacturing companies building facilities in the area.

“All the manufacturing, and the companies opening, the growth we have in our North Alabama region has been exciting to watch,” she said.

Then something that happened this year, Howard wasn’t expecting. In fact, no one could have imagined it. The pandemic. And it caused market trends to accelerate.

“What we were surprised at was the speed in the increase in which we have seen things rise,” Howard said.

One of things rising is home values. Howard says the median price of homes in Madison County the second quarter in 2020 is $244,680, compared to $221,035 for the same period last year.

On top of that, inventory is down. It’s 24 percent lower than it was the second quarter last year.

“People who were maybe aging out or elderly, they weren’t wanting to make a move during the pandemic,” she said. “So, now we have such an inventory shortage. It’s really an interesting combination of factors we have playing here.”

These trends are raising the eyebrows of housing market analysts and increasing the benefits for those looking to sell their home for the foreseeable future.

Howard says the average time for a house to be on the market in the area is 42 days.

The team at Zillow says many houses are selling for more than the listed price. The homes most in demand are those listed near the $200,000 range.

Analysts say that price range is yet another reason why mid-sized cities are becoming more popular. They tell News 19, more and more, people want to purchase a stand-alone house with a backyard.