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In America's younger days, "boom town" was used to describe a location showing a rapid expansion of residents in pursuit of the local valuable resource, like gold, timber or oil.
What constitutes a boom town in 2016? In absence of a modern gold rush, the indicators are less obvious, and the attracting industry is likely technology or a service rather than a product or precious resource. This ranking of booming ZIP codes, provided by Realtor.com, was based on job growth, household formation and housing starts.
Each of the following 10 ZIP codes has seen one to five times the average job growth of the top 100 counties in the country, one to seven times the average growth of households and one to six times the average growth of housing starts. The continued growth in households over the next five years for each of these markets is projected to be 9 to 19 percent.
—By Colleen Kane, special to CNBC.com
Posted 2016 May 9
2016 Projections: 10,000 new housing starts, 12,000 new jobs.
Median house price: $275,800
The Atlantic Station community, centrally located in Georgia's capital city, was created from the former Atlantic Steel Mill. Once a neglected brownfield site, it was developed to be an energy efficient urban neighborhood, including many LEED-certified buildings. The resulting walkable midtown area has condominiums, townhomes, lofts, retail shops and restaurants, as well as 11 acres of public park space.
Over the next five years, households are projected to grow by 15.7 percent. In terms of jobs, Atlanta is home to media giants like CNN and Turner Broadcasting, as well as its legacy railroad industry, and IT provides a major source of local employment. A condo priced under the median at $254,900 in Atlantic Station is 1,263 square feet with new wood floors, granite counters, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
2016 projections: 6,000-plus new housing starts and more than 38,000 more jobs.
Median house price: $700,000
Right in the Windy City's downtown area is The Loop, a central business district consisting of cultural institutions like the Art Institute, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Cultural Center, bars and restaurants concentrated in the West Loop, as well as the beaches of Lake Michigan, Grant Park and the Chicago Riverwalk.
Some local employers that you may have heard of include Google, Uber and Twitter. There's also work in finance (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) aviation (United, Boeing) and universities like Northwestern and Loyola. This median-priced high rise apartment is 1,342 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows offering park, lake and city views. Households in 60603 are expected to grow by 18.9 percent over the next five years.
2016 projections: More than 8,000 housing starts and 18,000 additional jobs.
Median house price: $1,340,000
In New York City's most populous borough of Brooklyn, the once-industrial urban wasteland of Williamsburg has come to epitomize a gentrification success story (for those who can afford it). It's now populated with galleries and music venues, shops, restaurants and bars, luxury lofts and condos and sidewalks packed with tourists.
Over the next few years, the number of households is projected to rise by 9.2 percent. Residents may be employed in greater Brooklyn and easily accessed Manhattan, in industries such as finance, tech, media, construction and services. This local condo, priced around the ZIP code's median at $1.295 million, is 1,175 square feet with two bedrooms, two baths and views of the Williamsburg Bridge and Manhattan.
2016 projections: More than 10,000 new housing starts and 12,000 added jobs.
Median house price: $325,457
This thriving ZIP code about 30 minutes from Raleigh encompasses the suburban subdivisions of Rolesville, Carlton Pointe and Cedar Lakes. It has a mild climate, well-rated schools, and wealth of commutable employment as its main draws.
It's half an hour to the more than 150 companies headquartered in Research Triangle Park, and the nearby universities of North Carolina State, Duke and University of North Carolina provide more employment opportunities. A newly built house priced at just about the median of homes in this ZIP ($327,500) is nearly 2,800 square feet with four bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms and a two-story foyer. The number of local households is expected to expand by 12.1 percent over the next five years.
2016 projections: More than 13,000 new housing starts and 21,000 new jobs.
Median house price: $675,000
This downtown Seattle ZIP code has experienced a 12 percent population boom since 2010, and over the next five years it's expected to expand households by another 11.9 percent. It's also the location of Seattle's largest retail zone, and its largest neighborhood of Belltown, is a hip walkable area of restaurants, shopping, galleries and warehouses.
Potential employers of new residents include Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, which all have headquarters nearby, as well as the Art Institute of Seattle, Antioch University and other educational institutions. This corner unit apartment, which is priced at the median for this ZIP code, has 1,522 square feet of space with two bedrooms and two baths, and offers views of the Space Needle, Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.
2016 projections: More than 14,000 new housing starts and 23,000 new jobs.
Median house price: $289,450
The master planned community Mountain's Edge, which makes up most of 89179, has maintained outstanding sales since 2004. Part of its appeal is attributed to its community parks, trails and its numerous schools, shopping centers and office space.
This ZIP code is 15 miles from the Strip, with all the service industry and tourism employment that entails.
This local house, priced a hair above the median at $290,000, is 1,836 square feet with an open plan, wood and tile floors, three bedrooms and two full baths. In the next five years, the number of households is forecast to increase by 19.4 percent.
2016 projections: 13,000 new housing starts and an increase of 44,000 jobs.
Median house price: $449,250
This bustling ZIP encompasses Miami's downtown, midtown and Seaport areas, which have become more lively by night with a recent influx of development and residents. The forthcoming Miami Worldcenter development will feature outdoor "high street" style retail shopping, as well as a hotel, convention center and restaurants.
Local industries walkable for residents include finance, culture and the arts, media and entertainment. This apartment in a condo tower, priced just over the local median at $450,000, is 989-square-feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and marble floors throughout, and comes fully furnished and decorated. The number of households in this ZIP is expected to climb by 14.9 percent in the next five years.
2016 projections: 16,000 new housing starts and 40,000 jobs created.
Median house price: $937,000
This thriving ZIP of condos, lofts, and townhome residences includes downtown, uptown, the Farmers Market neighborhood, and more. The Dallas Trinity River Project of the early aughts brought in parks (including the 10,000-acre Great Trinity Forest) biking and hiking trails, as well as nature centers like the Audubon Center. Those outdoor recreational opportunities, paired the area's walkability to workplaces, shopping, and dining, helped attract new residents including millennials. Another appealing feature of the area: the Arts District has the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Theater Center, among numerous other cultural institutions.
One local employer is Baylor University Medical Center, and major employers abound in Dallas, with AT&T, Dean Foods, and Texas Instruments, as well as many other corporate headquarters. This 1,726-square-foot apartment in the Azure tower, priced near the zip code's median at $925,000, has two bedrooms, two and a half baths, floor-to-ceiling windows, a gas fireplace, and a covered terrace. Households in 75201 are predicted to increase by 14.9 percent over the coming five years.
2016 projections: More than 22,000 new housing starts and 65,000 new jobs.
Median house price: $596,500
This central Los Angeles ZIP code including the neighborhoods of Elysian Park, Mission Junction and Chinatown, has recently seen an uptick in wealthy residents. It has the Museum of Contemporary Art, several parks and both the Little Tokyo and Los Angeles Plaza historic districts. It also has the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Many residents are employed in finance, media, and entertainment. This 1,348-square-foot condo in the Promenade West building, priced just over the local median at $599,000, has two bedrooms, two baths, hardwood floors and a terrace with automatic awnings. The number of households in 90012 is set to increase by 8.8 percent over the next five years.
2016 projections: 25,000 new housing starts and more than 53,000 new jobs.
Median house price: $319,900
Gilbert is about 30 miles from downtown Phoenix and offers a snowbird-friendly suburban haven of dry climate with golf courses and country clubs, while year-round residents stay for the top-rated school district. The 2010 census showed that the town's population expanded dramatically over the three decades: from 5,717 in 1980 to 208,453 in 2010.
Local employers include GoDaddy and PetSmart, and other top employers are those award-winning public schools as well as health care. This 2,340-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath house, priced slightly under the local median at $315,000, has a private, landscaped back yard with covered patio and built-in barbecue. Over the next five years, the number of households in 85297 is predicted to increase by 15.9 percent.