15 Most Competitive Housing Markets in the U.S.

The housing market has been showing some signs of slowing, but conditions are still competitive in many areas of the country.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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The housing market has been showing some signs of slowing, but conditions are still competitive in many areas of the country.

In some cities, placing the winning bid on a house you want to buy can be difficult. You may be competing against a large pool of buyers in a market with little inventory. That can mean having to spend more than you had wished, which is not a good way to avoid going into debt.

Using data from national real estate brokerage firm Redfin, we've compiled a list of the most competitive housing markets in the country. Scores are on a scale of 1 to 100.

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Fremont, California

Sundry Photography/Adobe Fremont and Union City from Garin Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park

Compete score: 99

How competitive is Fremont? About 85% of homes are selling above list price, with purchase prices coming in at an average of 9% over list.

Housing prices may be squeezing some buyers in this market, as the median home sales price has risen to just over $1.5 million.

San Jose, California

Shane/Adobe  San Jose view from San Pedro Square Public Parking

Compete score: 95

In March, the median price for a home in San Jose was almost $1.4 million, and over 76% of homes sold above the listing price.

That's almost 35% up from last year, and homes are now taking five days less to sell than they did at this time in 2023.

Chula Vista, California

Unwind/Adobe sunny day in Chula Vista, California, USA

Compete score: 88

Just south of San Diego is Chula Vista, where homes are on the market for an average of 12 days.

The median home price in June was an expensive $850,000, which makes it even tougher for younger homebuyers to afford a home in an already competitive market.

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Richmond, Virginia

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Richmond Virginia USA Neighborhoods

Compete score: 86

The capital of Virginia has seen an increase in residents after a significant dip beginning in the 1970s. That may be one factor for its high compete score.

Richmond also has homes on the market for an average of only around 13 days, and more than 43% of homes are being sold over the asking price.

Omaha, Nebraska

Jacob/Adobe Downtown Omaha, Nebraska in Autumn

Compete score: 85

Omaha homebuyers may enjoy the fact that the median home price was $266,500, which is lower than other cities on this list. But that’s still up sharply over the past five years.

The average home stays on the market for 12 days, which is a bit longer than earlier in the year.

San Diego, California

f11photo/Adobe downtown San Diego skyline in California USA

Compete score: 86

San Diego is not cheap for homebuyers, with a median price of $931,500 in March.

Despite such high prices, just over 49% of homes in the city sold above the asking price in March, with the average home sitting on the market for 14 days

Modesto, California

Matt Gush/Adobe 99 Freeway and urban downtown core of Modesto California

Compete score: 84

The median home price in Modesto in March was $450,000, up almost 10% from a year earlier.

Those homes are only staying on the market for an average of 20 days, making it tough to compete with other potential homebuyers.

Tacoma, Washington

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Tacoma Washington USA with Mt. Rainier

Compete score: 83

As with other cities in Washington, the competition for homes has been fierce in Tacoma. The median home price in March was $475,000.

Homes are usually on sale for around 10 days, and multiple offers with waived contingencies show how tough it is to make a purchase here.

Seattle, Washington

espiegle/Adobe Seattle skyline and Mt Rainier on a clear day

Compete score: 85

Seattle is struggling to keep up with the demand for housing, with the typical house staying on the market for a median of 10 days in March. That's actually two days less compared to the same month a year ago.

Many homes are getting multiple offers, even with an $847,500 median home price.

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Spokane, Washington

Jeremy/Adobe Spokane Falls and City Skyline Summer Evening

Compete score: 72

Located in eastern Washington state, Spokane has seen its population grow during recent decades. That has led to a tightening housing market, which has created challenges for potential homeowners.

The average home is on the market for 23 days compared to 18 days last year. The median home price was less than $350,000 in March 2023. It currently stands at $373,900.

Sacramento, California

belyay/Adobe Sacramento Walks, California shots

Compete score: 86

Those shopping for a home in Sacramento may have caught a bit of a break: Homes were on the market for a median of nine days during the summer, up two days from the same time last year.

However, over half of all homes were selling above market price, with the typical home in Sacramento now selling for around $500,000.

Denver, Colorado

Matt/Adobe Union Station Denver Colorado

Compete score: 75

Denver's population has been growing for several decades, which may be straining the housing market. The median number of days on the market in March was 14.

With the average home selling for almost 35% over market price, potential homebuyers may be competing for a house and losing out to the highest bidder.

Lincoln, Nebraska

Christopher Boswell/Adobe fall color orange tree leaves Nebraska State Capital Lincoln

Compete score: 68

The typical home in Lincoln is on the market for a median of 23 days, which actually is up 14 days from last year.

Even with a median price of $280,000, more than 39% of homes sold over the asking price in March. That's up just a touch from the previous year, when 38% of homes sold over the listing.

Aurora, Colorado

Jacob/Adobe Denver Suburb of Aurora Colorado

Compete score: 75

The Denver suburb is on the east side of the city and is likely benefiting from the Denver area’s growth. Understanding the market can help you get ahead financially if you're buying or selling soon.

The average home is on the market for 18 days and receives multiple offers that waive contingencies.

The median home price is $475,000, and around 33% of homes sold over the asking price in March.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Sean/Adobe sunrise at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Compete score: 58

Home prices in Colorado Springs are only 5% higher compared to a year ago. The typical home sells for a median price of $440,000 and hot homes go pending in around 14 days.

Bottom line

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe new house

It can be tough to get your bid for a home accepted in a tight housing market, especially in the most competitive housing markets in the U.S. That is bad news if you are hoping to avoid the financial stress of a bidding war.

Check your budget before you start your homebuying process, and consider getting approved for a loan before you start looking. Doing so can give you an edge over other buyers.

It might also help to look for ways to earn a little extra money so you will have more cash available if you need it to land your dream home.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.