Where homebuying is hardest: The nation’s most competitive housing markets

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

West Coast buyers have it worst

Hoping to buy a home on the West Coast? Then you might have a hard go of it. According to a new analysis, the region is home to all but one of the nation’s 10 most competitive housing markets.

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Where competition is heating up

According to analysis from Redfin, nine out of the nation’s 10 most competitive housing markets are on the West Coast.

Fremont and San Jose, California, as well as Seattle, tied for the top spot. California’s Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento also made the top 10, as well as Tacoma, Washington; Denver; and Aurora, Colorado. The only non-West Coast city to make the list was Boston.

All 10 cities fall into what Redfin calls the “Most Competitive” range, with bidding wars, multiple offers and waived contingencies the norm in the area.

Building permits offer hope for buyers out West

Why the West wins

According to Taylor Marr, a senior economist at Redfin, local job markets are likely to blame for the high level of competition.

“Many of the most competitive cities are tech hubs that have attracted an influx of people moving to the area for jobs, unmatched by the creation of new homes,” Marr said. “This has led to intense competition and rising home prices. In San Francisco, Seattle and Denver, homes have become so expensive that many people are moving elsewhere in search of more affordable and less competitive housing markets.”

The competition is causing homes to sell faster, without contingencies and, often way above listing price. Shoshana Godwin, a Seattle agent for Redfin, said homes in her area are generally under contract in just five days.

“That actually feels to us like a long time, but when you put it into perspective with the market nationally and historically, Seattle remains very competitive,” Godwin said. “Last week, I wrote an offer on a home that had five other offers, escalating up to $150,000 above the asking price.”

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The least competitive housing markets

Fortunately, competition isn’t high everywhere. Redfin’s analysis also revealed the nation’s least competitive markets, with New Orleans claiming the No. 1 spot.

El Paso, Texas, took No. 2, while Pittsburgh and Miami tied for third. Other low-competition markets include Newark, New Jersey; Scottsdale, Arizona; Boise, Idaho; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Norfolk, Virginia; and Cincinnati.

Homebuying competition drops; now’s the time to buy a house

Get today’s mortgage rates

Considering buying a home in one of the nation’s least competitive housing markets? Then shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Apr 16th, 2021)