Bidding Wars Plummet to an Eight-Year Low, but Buyers Still Face Competition Most of the Time in These Zip Codes

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Despite a cooling market, bidding wars remain the norm in hot California, Boston and D.C. zip codes

Thirty-two percent of offers written by Redfin agents on behalf of their home-buying customers in November faced competition (one or more competing bids), down from 45 percent a year earlier, marking an all-time low since Redfin began tracking this data in 2011. But homebuyers in coastal markets should wait before breathing a sigh of relief. Some zip codes in the markets that are cooling the fastest are still hotbeds for bidding wars. Topping the list are 94602 (Oakmore, Glenview and Lincoln Highlands) in Oakland, Calif., 20009 (U Street Corridor, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and Shaw) in Washington, D.C., and 92870 (Placentia) in Orange County, Calif., all with 85 percent or more of Redfin offers facing competition.

Zip codes where 70 percent or more of homebuyer offers written by Redfin agents faced competition over the past three months

Rank Zip Code Metro Area City / Neighborhoods Share of Redfin Offers that Faced Competition (Sept. – Nov. 2018) Share of Redfin Offers that Faced Competition (Jan. – Aug. 2018) Share of Redfin Offers that Faced Competition (Sept. – Nov. 2017)
1 94602 Oakland, CA Oakmore, Glenview, Lincoln Highlands 90% 93% 100%
2 20009 Washington, D.C. Adams Morgan, Cardozo 85% 70% 67%
2 92870 Orange County, CA Placentia 85% 69% 67%
3 94110 San Francisco, CA Mission District 80% 83% N/A*
3 20904 Washington, D.C. Silver Spring, MD 80% 63% 83%
3 01890 Boston, MA Winchester 80% 63% N/A*
4 02476 Boston, MA Arlington Heights 79% 94% N/A*
4 02148 Boston, MA Malden 79% 88% 100%
5 95630 Sacramento, CA Folsom 73% 64% 44%
5 95035 San Jose, CA Milpitas 73% 76% 78%
6 01801 Boston, MA Woburn 70% 69% N/A*

*Some zip codes did not have a large enough volume of Redfin offers from Sept. – Nov. 2017 to calculate a reliable bidding war rate.

“There aren’t many homes for sale in and around the city of Boston right now,” said Redfin agent Luke Welling. “Bidding wars are still the norm in Arlington Heights, Malden, and the Somerville and Cambridge areas. Proximity to Boston and the local universities, coupled with highly rated schools in the surrounding towns make these neighborhoods sought-after destinations for many homebuyers. Buyers still need to make offers well over asking price to win a home.”

One previously red-hot market is notably absent from the list: Seattle. The only Seattle zip code where more than half of Redfin offers faced competition in the last three months was 98115, which encompasses the Seattle neighborhoods of Maple Leaf, Wedgwood, and View Ridge.

Bidding War Rate Falls to Eight-Year Low

During the spring selling season earlier this year three out of four offers in Seattle faced competition. As of November only about one of every four offers in the Seattle area faced competition, one of the lowest rates among Redfin’s largest markets.

Here is the list of bidding war rates for each of the largest metro areas Redfin agents serve.

Metro Area Share of Redfin Offers that Faced Competition (Nov. 2018) Share of Redfin Offers that Faced Competition (Nov. 2017)
Sacramento, CA 45.5% 51.4%
San Francisco, CA 45.3% 75.1%
Los Angeles, CA 38.3% 68.0%
San Diego, CA 37.7% 57.5%
Boston, MA 37.3% 44.0%
Washington, D.C. 37.0% 37.6%
Philadelphia, PA 36.5% 30.0%
Portland, OR 33.7% 33.3%
Denver, CO 27.2% 42.2%
Dallas, TX 26.2% 35.8%
Chicago, IL 25.2% 28.0%
Phoenix, AZ 24.7% 25.4%
Seattle, WA 24.5% 58.2%
Atlanta, GA 23.1% 23.7%
Houston, TX 21.1% 29.2%
Austin, TX 20.6% 29.8%
Raleigh, NC 20.0% 40.0%
Miami, FL 19.4% 31.4%

Philadelphia was the only metro areas where buyers faced significantly more competition in November 2018 than in November 2017. Philadelphia is one of the markets where inventory is shrinking and homes are selling faster and for more money.

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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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