Small-town charm gets national attention.

Home sales are vigorous in Franklin County, but the market is downright sizzling in Hilliard, which Realtor.com recently named No. 10 on its annual Hottest ZIP Codes in America listing for 2017.

It's the first Central Ohio city to make the national real estate website's top ten since the organization created the annual list two years ago. The group compared real estate sales and online views in 32,000 ZIP codes to compile its list.

The average view per listing in Hilliard was up 56 percent over last year.

Realtor.com offered enthusiastic praise for the Columbus suburb's 43026 ZIP code, pointing out that homes in Hilliard offer a per-square-foot value not found in other cities, and noting the community's excellent school system.

“It also provides residents a mix of small-town historical charm, museums and local eateries,” according to Realtor.com. “On top of that, it's a quick trip to Columbus, which is home to Ohio State University, multiple Fortune 500 Companies and the newly opened Scioto Mile, a sprawling park in the heart of the city.”

Danielle Hale, the organization's chief economist, says property sells quickly in Hilliard when compared with surrounding communities.

Homes are typically on the market for 25 days and sell 15, 21 and 45 days quicker than in Franklin County, metropolitan Columbus and national real estate markets respectively, she says.

“Our focus is on millennials in their peak household ownership years from about 25 to 34,” Hale says. “That is a really important bellwether for the housing market. Homes sold about 37 percent more quickly there than they did last year.”

In Hilliard, millennials hold 41 percent of new mortgages and have a 59 percent home-ownership rate, overall. The median list price of houses in the community is just over $259,000, an increase of 24.8 percent from last year.

“The median income in Hilliard is just under $83,000 compared with $57,500 in the U.S. as a whole, which enables buyers to afford more expensive homes,” Hale says.

Key factors examined include a home's relative affordability (the median price of homes in these markets was $360,000), high millennial ownership rates, strong job markets and high salaries.

The hottest ZIP code in the listing was Watauga, Texas, an inner suburb of Fort Worth.

Good Schools, parks and an easy commute

After representing homeowners for nine years as a Hilliard Realtor, it was no shock to Rhiannon Ferrari that the community was tagged as one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.

For one thing, the suburb is one of the largest and still growing suburbs in Franklin County and it offers abundant housing options.

“There are a lot more houses available to choose from, people are driven by the price point and the schools, and with its location, it's an easy commute to Downtown Columbus,” Ferrari says.

The speed for home sales has definitely risen even though prices have also been climbing, she says. Generally, pricing ranges from $200,000 to $600,000 in the community.

Asking prices were 22 percent higher than Franklin County, 15 percent higher than the Columbus metropolitan area, and 3 percent lower than the U.S., according to Realtor.com.

“Prices have skyrocketed, but homes are usually on the market for no more than 30 days. Some are sold as soon as two weeks after they go up,” Ferrari says. “That's really picked up in the last 18 months.”

While Realtor.com examined several factors making markets hot, good schools are really important for the young homebuyers attracted to Hilliard, she says. The district typically ranks high every year. And the community offers other perks for millennial buyers, too.

“There are lots of restaurants, shopping, community centers and parks,” Ferrari says. In short, the buyers outnumber the sellers within this market.