Only 1 in 8 Redfin Offers Faced Competition in January, Down From More than Half a Year Earlier

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Just 13 percent of offers written by Redfin agents on behalf of their home-buying customers last month faced a bidding war, little changed from December’s record low, and down from 53 percent in January 2018.

Two of last spring’s most competitive markets—Seattle and San Francisco—kicked off 2019 with fewer than one in five offers facing competition, down from seven or eight out of 10 a year earlier.

Bidding Wars Have Nearly Vanished

“Buyers have heard that the market has slowed, so now they’re trying to get all of their ‘wants,’ not just their ‘needs,’” said Palo Alto Redfin agent Kalena Masching. “They’re waiting until they find a home that can check more boxes—for instance three bedrooms instead of two or a higher rated school. In general they are being more judicious as they think through their purchase. Meanwhile, many sellers have not yet recognized that the market has shifted.”

So why is 2019 shaping up to be so much less competitive for homebuyers than any recent year? It all comes down to supply and demand. The number of homes for sale is increasing just as the number of buyers is falling off, resulting in fewer homebuyers competing for each home. As of December the number of homes for sale was up 5 percent from a year earlier, while the number of homes sold was down 11 percent.


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Portland, Denver and San Diego were the most competitive housing markets in January, but none was all that competitive, especially when compared with last year’s bidding war rates. Each saw less than one out of five Redfin offers face a bidding war, down from more than half a year earlier.

The least competitive housing markets in January were Miami (3%), Dallas (6%), and Houston (6%). Even in these markets, more than a third of Redfin offers were facing competition a year ago.

The rate of bidding wars was down dramatically in every market that Redfin agents serve, with the biggest percentage-point declines coming in the San Francisco Bay Area (-64 points), Los Angeles (-57 points), and Seattle (-54 points). The smallest declines were in Austin (-11 points), Raleigh (-13 points), and Chicago (-29 points).

Rank Metro Area Share of Redfin Offers that Faced Competition (Jan. 2019) Share of Redfin Offers that Faced Competition (Jan. 2018) Share of Redfin Offers that Faced Competition (Dec. 2018)
1 Portland, OR 19% 53% 8%
2 Denver, CO 19% 54% 17%
3 San Diego, CA 18% 63% 16%
4 San Francisco, CA 18% 82% 20%
5 Raleigh, NC 18% 31% 0%
6 Los Angeles, CA 16% 73% 14%
7 Seattle, WA 15% 69% 14%
8 Boston, MA 14% 53% 18%
9 Phoenix, AZ 14% 43% 12%
10 Austin, TX 14% 25% 5%
11 Atlanta, GA 12% 41% 6%
12 Sacramento, CA 11% 58% 4%
13 Philadelphia, PA 10% 44% 18%
14 Washington, D.C. 10% 48% 7%
15 Chicago, IL 10% 39% 12%
16 Houston, TX 6% 40% 11%
17 Dallas, TX 6% 39% 10%
18 Miami, FL 3% 37% 9%

The table above indicates the bidding war rates for each of the largest metro areas Redfin agents serve.

Published on February 11th, 2019
Updated on July 15th, 2019

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tim-ellisredfin-com

Senior Data Journalist / Real Estate Analyst

Tim Ellis has been analyzing the real estate market since 2005, and worked at Redfin as a housing market analyst from 2010 through 2013 and again starting in 2018. In his free time, he runs the independently-operated Seattle-area real estate website Seattle Bubble, and produces the improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our Why Redfin page.

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