Cutting out the competition: The nation’s least competitive home buyers

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Youngstown takes the crown

If you want an easy time snagging that dream home, you might want to consider Youngstown, Ohio. According to a LendingTree study cited in Builder Magazine, the Midwestern city is home to the least competitive home buyers in the nation.

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Not-so-stiff competition

The study ranked the 100 biggest cities in the country according to buyer competitiveness. The rankings factored in prequalification rates, the share of buyers with credit scores above 680 and average down payments for each city.

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In Youngstown, only 44 percent of buyers apply for their mortgage before shopping for a home and just 36 percent have credit scores over 680. The average down payment in the city is 11 percent.

Other low-competition cities, according to the data, were McAllen, Texas, and Scranton, Pennsylvania. In McAllen, only 35 percent of buyers have a prime credit score, while 39 percent in Scranton do.

Inventory levels aside, in these markets, raising your credit score, getting prequalified for your mortgage or upping your down payment may give you an edge over other buyers.

“We’ve been hearing for years about competitive housing markets, but with low levels of housing inventory and rising home prices, almost any market can be competitive when it comes to home buying,” the study reads. “What it really comes down to is the competition among homebuyers and how potential buyers stack up against one another.”

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California cities among most competitive

California dominated the list of most competitive cities, claiming six of the top 10 spots. San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Ventura, Los Angeles and Sacramento all made the list.

Moving out: San Diego draws the most buyers from other metros

In San Francisco and San Jose, 60 percent of home buyers applied for their mortgage before home shopping. The average down payment in both cities was 19 percent – the highest of any region on the list.

Western cities filled out the rest of the top 10, with Denver, Seattle, Honolulu and Portland, Oregon making the cut.

Get today’s mortgage rates

Finding low-competition markets, getting prequalified and shopping around for the best mortgage rate can all help you get a good deal on your home. See what rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Aug 15th, 2020)