home buyersRealtor.com released its latest “Hotness Index” and once again Bay Area real estate markets dominate the rankings. The San Francisco-Oakland metroplex was rated the hottest real estate market in the country in January, and ranking second was the nearby San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area.

Realtor.com’s “Hotness Index” identifies where houses are selling most quickly, as well as which markets are generating the most listing views on realtor.com.

It would figure San Francisco-Oakland and its surrounding areas would lead the way. A severe lack of homes for sale and sky-high demand in the immediate Bay Area has pushed home buyers outward. In San Francisco-Oakland, the median age of inventory in January was just 47 days. That was second to San Jose-Sunnyvale, where the median age of inventory was 45 days.

Other Northern California markets to rank in the top 10 were Vallejo (No. 3), Sacramento (No. 6), Yuba City (No. 7), Stockton (No. 9), Fresno (No. 10). That’s a surprising list (Yuba City?), but it appears to be a result of home buyers expanding their search areas as affordability dwindles in major metros.

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com, touched on the subject with the San Jose Mercury News.

“Buyers who are challenged by affordability are starting to look to the outlying areas,” Smoke said. “The average down payment in 2016 in San Francisco and San Jose was $150,000 or more. The average down payment in Fresno and Yuba City was under $28,000. That’s quite a bit of difference in terms of what it takes to become a homeowner.”

He also added the median price of homes in such outlying areas can be 50 percent less or even two-thirds less than in major metro areas.