Baton Rouge lags in hot housing market report 

Less expensive cities with strong local economies climbed The Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index in the first quarter of this year, another sign that many homebuyers are giving priority to affordability.

According to The Wall Street Journal, fast-rising housing prices have pushed buyers from expensive coastal cities into cheaper housing markets in recent years. The migration is poised to continue as home prices set new highs and rising mortgage-interest rates increase borrowing costs for homebuyers, economists say.   

The index identifies the top metro areas for homebuyers seeking an appreciating housing market and lifestyle amenities.

Baton Rouge was ranked No. 262 out of 300 metro areas on the index. Most Louisiana cities listed were ranked below Baton Rouge, but New Orleans and Monroe were listed as hotter real estate markets, coming in at 246 and 215 respectively.  

The Rapid City, South Dakota, metro area of about 145,000 people near the Wyoming border was the top-ranked market for the quarter. It was followed by Santa Cruz, California; North Port, Florida; Santa Rosa, California; and Naples, Florida. The top 20 cities in the ranking have an average population of about 600,000. See the ranking.