tampa-florida Photo: Antoine Gady/Flickr

As another year draws to a close, Realtor.com, which lays claim to over 3 million online home sale listings, has published its final monthly US real estate hot list for 2015.

Realtor.com’s latest top-20 is made up of mid-sized and large urban areas, where homes generally stay on the market for a shorter period of time and garner the most interest. Markets listed also include the greater metro area, so San Jose encompasses Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, for instance.

This info is gleaned from web traffic registered on the website’s listings, which Realtor.com says represent 97 percent of MLS-listed properties in America.

Repeating November’s chart-topping performance, San Francisco sits in the lead spot. It was one of 11 Californian markets to make the cut in December.

However, a number of markets beyond the Golden State’s borders were sizzling as well. In a statement, Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com’s chief economist, points to two burgeoning regions in particular.

“While California closed out our latest ranking still firmly in control of the hottest markets, the Midwest and Florida are both seeing substantial improvement,” Smoke says.

As it happens, this is in line with one of the predictions that Realtor.com competitor Trulia outlined for 2016: the “Bargain Belt” — made up of the Southern and Midwestern US — seeing real estate activity heat up.

However, Smoke forecasts the West Coast will continue to perform strongly after New Year festivities wind down. “Pent-up demand and robust economic growth combined with limited supply will keep California tight in 2016, but more markets will challenge them as demand improves elsewhere,” he continues.

In an email to BuzzBuzzHome News, Realtor.com spokesperson Lexie Puckett explains the absence of some major markets from the list.

“Our top market picks were focused on markets with the most growth in both sales and prices expected in 2016, so it is tough for any of the mega markets like NY, LA, and Chicago to make that list as they rarely see double-digit growth in any metric due to their large size,” she writes.

“Additionally, we are not forecasting an increase in sales for 2016 in the NY MSA but rather a decline from 2015,” she adds. “This year a few states like NY, NJ, and IL had a substantial increase in sales that was a result of a backlog of foreclosures working their way though the courts and the market.”

“The major markets like NY are not expected to see as much distress next year, so total sales are likely to be down.”

Realtor.com notes that Tampa, FL, Fort Wayne, IN, and Midland, TX, were newcomers to the monthly list this time around. Before the ball drops in Times Square, see what other US markets were hot in December by checking out a different kind of countdown below.

20 hottest real estate markets in December 2015

20. Midland, TX
19. Fort Wayne, TX
18. Tampa, FL
17. Boulder, CO
16. Detroit, MI
15. Modesto, CA
14. Palm Bay, FL
13. Nashville, TN
12. Oxnard, CA
11. Los Angeles, CA
10. Stockton, CA
9. Yuba City, CA
8. Santa Rosa, CA
7. Denver, CO
6. San Diego, CA
5. Sacramento, CA
4. Dallas, TX
3. Vallejo, CA
2. San Jose, CA
1. San Francisco, CA

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