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Livermore makes list of hottest ZIP codes in U.S. for home buyers — but Bakersfield has it beat

Livermore makes list of hottest ZIP codes in U.S. for home buyers — but Bakersfield has it beat

Despite soaring mortgage rates that have dampened sales for existing homes, at least one Bay Area city is still considered a hotspot for buyer demand.

Livermore ranked 44th on a list of the 50 hottest ZIP codes in the country, according to a new report by Realtor.com. The Tri-Valley city was one of two California cities that made the list. Bakersfield in Kern County, north of Los Angeles, came in at No. 24.

What’s the hottest ZIP code in the country? It’s 43230, perhaps better known as Gahanna, Ohio, in the Columbus metropolitan area. The median listing price on the real estate website for a home there in June was $351,000.

Affordability, location and bang for your home-buying buck are what’s driving the highest concentration of buyer interest across the country, according to the report, with markets in the Midwest and Northeast ranking highest.

Livermore — with a median listing price of $1.4 million — was the highest-priced ZIP code on the top 50 list, said Hannah Jones, senior economic research analyst for Realtor.com.

But while the median listing price in Livermore was slightly higher than the surrounding San Francisco metro area, Jones said, “homes were priced 13.9% lower per square foot than the metro’s median in June.”

“This ZIP code drew in more than double the attention per property compared to the surrounding metro area, and homes spent more than a week less time on the market than the typical San Francisco metro home,” she said.

Real estate professionals Leslie and Don Faught, who work in the East Bay, say the price per square foot in Livermore is about $700. That’s more competitive than Livermore’s neighbor, Pleasanton, where they say the approximate price per square foot ranges from about $1,000 to $1,100.

A vibrant downtown scene, surrounding wineries and work-from-home policies that allow employees some leeway in where they live are also contributing factors driving demand in Livermore, which continues to see low inventory, because some homeowners do not see a benefit selling their homes as interest rates climb, said Leslie Faught, a realtor and member of the local government relations committee for Bay East Association of Realtors.

Don Faught, a managing broker for Compass, said homes in Livermore are commanding about 12 offers on average. He said there’s also been an uptick in cash buyers who are avoiding high interest rates.

“We’re kind of a hidden jewel,” he said.

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The average rate for a typical 30-year fixed mortgage has risen above 7%, the highest peak since 2002, according to Freddie Mac and reporting in this newspaper. The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales fell 2.2% in July, receding 16.6% from a year ago.

So, what’s going on in Bakersfield, the other hot ZIP code on Realtor.com’s list?

William Gordon of Gordon Team Realty in Bakersfield said affordability, quality of life and the prospect of having more discretionary income are attracting some buyers to the region, which he said also offers nonstop flights to San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix and Dallas.

“It’s a lot more connected than it has been in the past,” said Gordon, who added the city also offers a downtown area where businesses like restaurants and bars are taking risks that are being rewarded by the community.

“Nobody plans to end up in Bakersfield,” he said. “But once people find themselves here, they either realize fairly quickly it’s not for them or they end up sticking around for a long time.”