Homebuying can be hard: The country’s most competitive places to buy a house

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Stiff competition

Home price appreciation might be waning, but that doesn’t mean buying a house is easy — at least not everywhere. According to a new analysis, homebuying is still a competitive sport — particularly on the West Coast.

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Where homebuying is hardest

According to a new analysis from LendingTree, Denver is the single-most competitive home buying market in the nation.

The analysis takes into account each market’s average down payment percentage, the share of buyers with good or excellent credit and the percentage of buyers who rate-shop for their mortgage before finding a home.

In Denver, 67 percent of buyers shop around for their mortgage before finding a house, and more than half of all buyers have good or excellent credit, meaning above a 680. The average down payment for the area is 16 percent.

Los Angeles and Portland came in at No. 2 and 3 for most competitive markets. Both have high average down payments, lots of mortgage shoppers and a large share of buyers with above-average credit.

West Coast cities account for most of the remaining top 10 most competitive metros, with Las Vegas and San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, California, all making the list. The only non-Western cities to rank in the top 10 were Boston and St. Louis.

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Cutting out the competition

Birmingham, Alabama, is the country’s least competitive market, according to the analysis.

Though most buyers shop around for a mortgage before finding a home, only a small portion have good or excellent credit. The average down payment in the area is just 12 percent.

Down payments get more affordable, especially in these states

Other low-competition markets include Virginia Beach, Virginia; Pittsburgh; New Orleans; Salt Lake City; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Memphis, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; and San Diego, California.

Survey says: Housing market competition finally thinning out

Get today’s mortgage rates

Regardless of how competitive your market is, shopping around for your mortgage rate can help you save cash now and over the life of your loan. Shop around and see what rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Jul 8th, 2020)