By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento is at the top of a new nationwide list — and it’s a good list.

The real estate company Realtor.com is ranking Sacramento as the hottest real estate market in the country heading into next year. The report shows the pandemic is helping put Sacramento on the home buying map.

Gary and Julie Van Wagner are Southern California transplants who now love living in Sacramento.

“Sacramento kind of hit the sweet spot in terms of being a lot more affordable,” Gery Van Wagner said.

The couple moved here from Pasadena to be closer to family and bought their East Sacramento home after realizing this is where they want to stay.

“We don’t feel like this is going to be a bubble situation here,” Gary Van Wagner said. “We kind of feel like it is going to be sustained growth with a lot of high demand.”

Realtor.com ranks Sacramento as the top city in the country for combined housing sales and price growth, showing a combined 24.6 percent increase. Cities rounding out the top five were San Jose, Charlotte, Boise, and Seattle.

The report increased freedom to work remotely as the top reason buyers from the Bay Area are flocking to Sacramento.

“It’s clearly always been a really wonderful place to live,” Sacramento real estate agent Chris Little said. “So it’s nice to see people recognizing it even if it took a pandemic for people to want to come here.”

Little has been a real estate agent in Sacramento for two decades and remembers Bay Area residents buying Sacramento homes as investments when the housing market crashed a decade ago. This time is different.

“They’re looking to buy as a place to live, a place to work, because many people are working from home,” Little said.

Realtor.com lists affordability and high-paying jobs as more reasons for Sacramento’s top spot.

“It’s a really easy place to live,” Gary Van Wagner said.

This hot housing market. Could it turn Sacramento into more people’s home away from home?

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