Seattle, San Jose and Fremont, Calif., are the Most Competitive U.S. Housing Markets

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Seattle, San Jose and Fremont, Calif., are the Most Competitive U.S. Housing Markets

Newly Launched Redfin Compete Score™ Helps People Understand What it Takes to Buy a Home Based on Competitiveness in Cities and Neighborhoods

Fremont and San Jose, Calif. and Seattle are the most competitive U.S. cities for homebuyers. This is according to a ranking based on Redfin Compete Score, a newly launched feature that rates housing competition in cities and neighborhoods to help buyers understand what it takes to win a home and to help sellers create a smart listing strategy. Like Redfin’s Walk Score, Compete Score ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the most competitive.

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Compete Score can be found at the top of an area’s Home Values page as well as in the neighborhood section on all individual home listings in that area. Below are the 10 most competitive large cities with populations of at least 200,000:


Most Competitive Cities in the U.S.

Rank City Redfin Compete Score
1 Fremont, CA 100
1 San Jose, CA 100
1 Seattle, WA 100
2 Oakland, CA 97
3 Aurora, CO 96
3 San Francisco, CA 96
4 Tacoma, WA 95
5 Denver, CO 92
5 Boston, MA 92
6 Sacramento, CA 91

 

Because Redfin has a customer database that is used by every agent for every customer at every step of buying or selling a home, Compete Score is calculated using data that no other brokerage or website has. Compete Score is calculated using Redfin proprietary data, including the number of competing offers and number of waived contingencies for homes sold by Redfin, as well as data from multiple listing services (MLSs), including the sale-to-list price ratio and number of days on market. Compete Score data will be updated monthly, and the latest data can be found and downloaded in the Redfin Data Center. We’ll use Compete Score to track competition over time to compare competition in different neighborhoods and cities.

“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,” said Taylor Marr, senior economist at Redfin. “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.”   

“Even with the recent–and much needed–surge of inventory, desirable homes are under contract in five to seven days,” said Shoshana Godwin, a Redfin agent in Seattle. “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. Last week, I wrote an offer on a home that had five other offers, escalating up to $150,000 above the asking price.”

Those seeking reprieve from the hottest housing markets may want to consider or at least daydream about moving to one of the least competitive cities. The 10 least competitive large cities are listed below:

Least Competitive Cities in the U.S.

Rank City Redfin Compete Score
1 New Orleans, LA 43
2 El Paso, TX 44
3 Pittsburgh, PA 47
3 Miami, FL 47
4 Newark, NJ 52
5 Scottsdale, AZ 54
6 Boise, ID 57
6 Baton Rouge, LA 57
6 Norfolk, VA 57
7 Cincinnati, OH 58

“I often work with people who are relocating to New Orleans, having been priced out of coastal markets like Seattle and San Francisco,” said Caren Morgan, a Redfin agent in New Orleans. “They’re relieved to find we have a healthy, relatively affordable housing supply and that homes typically remain on the market for about two months before going under contract. That said, bidding wars aren’t uncommon, especially in the hottest parts of the city, but we typically see two or three competing offers, and they rarely go much above the asking price.”

Looking just at neighborhoods with at least 25 home sales in the past three months, more than 100 neighborhoods nationwide have a Compete Score of 97 or higher, and six have a Compete Score of 100. The vast majority are in the Seattle and San Francisco Bay areas, with the exception of three in Boston–East Arlington (100), Jamaica Central-South Sumner (98) and Arlington Center (98).  Below are the six most competitive neighborhoods, all with Compete Score ratings of 100.

Most Competitive Neighborhoods in the U.S.

Rank Neighborhood City Redfin Compete Score
1 West Murphy Sunnyvale, CA 100
1 Phinney Ridge Seattle, WA 100
1 East Arlington Arlington, MA 100
1 Northeast Spring Glen Renton, WA 100
1 Licton Springs Seattle, WA 100
1 North College Park Seattle, WA 100

“Homes I’ve recently sold in East Arlington have received eight to 10 bids, with the winning offer significantly higher than the asking price and all contingencies waived,” said Joseph Pollack, a Redfin agent in Boston. “Even if a buyer is not paying all cash, they are making their offers as competitive as possible by waiving the mortgage and appraisal contingencies. Sellers are not only looking for top dollar; they’re looking for offers that minimize any risk that the deal could fall through.”

Among neighborhoods that had at least 25 home sales in the past three months, 65 neighborhoods nationwide have a Compete Score of 10 or lower. Most of the least competitive neighborhoods can be found in South Florida and Hawaii. Outside of those tropical locations, the nation’s least competitive neighborhoods include destinations like the French Quarter in New Orleans (4), South of Broad (8) in Charleston and Arcadian Shores (8) in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as Lower Chelsea (6) in Atlantic City and Downtown Ocean City (8), N.J.

Least Competitive Neighborhoods in the U.S.

Rank Neighborhood City Redfin Compete Score
1 Koloa Ahupua`a Poipu, HI 1
1 Ibis West Palm Beach, FL 1
2 Bayshore Miami Beach, FL 3
2 Boca West Boca Raton, FL 3
3 Downtown Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 4
3 Rio Vista Fort Lauderdale, FL 4
3 Ka’u Hawaiian Ocean View, HI 4
3 Koloa Lawai, HI 4
3 Village of Key Biscayne Key Biscayne, FL 4
3 Surfside Surfside, FL 4
3 Miami Riverwalk Miami, FL 4
3 Downtown Miami, FL 4
3 Central Business District Miami, FL 4
3 French Quarter New Orleans, LA 4
3 Southside Slopes Pittsburgh, PA 4

“It’s no coincidence that many of the least competitive areas happen to be luxury neighborhoods,” said Marr. “Since there’s a small pool of prospective buyers for high-priced homes, they tend to stay on the market longer and sell for less relative to their asking price than median-priced homes. It’s also unsurprising to see South Florida neighborhoods so prominent on the least-competitive list, as the supply of luxury homes has been relatively ample.”

Curious about the level of competition in your area? Search for your city or neighborhood in the charts below. For the most up-to-date information, search for your desired area on Redfin.com and the Compete Score for that area will appear at the top of the Home Values page.

 

METHODOLOGY

Compete Score rates how difficult it is to win a home in an area. Using a combination of proprietary Redfin data and data from the multiple listing services (MLS), Compete Score is primarily calculated based on four inputs: number of competing offers, waived contingencies, sale to list ratio, and number of days on market. Click here to learn more about how Compete Score works.

The rankings for most and least competitive cities in the U.S. include cities with populations of at least 200,000 for which Redfin has Compete Score data. The rankings for most and least competitive neighborhoods include neighborhoods with at least 25 sales in the last three months for which Redfin has Compete Score data.

We offer a Compete Score for almost all cities and neighborhoods where Redfin offers service and that had at least 25 homes sold within the last 12 months. We chose this threshold to maintain our accuracy levels. We also exclude areas where MLS rules prohibit us from displaying the sold price, since we are unable to use it to calculate Compete Score. *One exception is that we do not have the Compete Score in New York City due to the prevalence of listings that are not listed in the MLS.

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