10 Most Competitive Real Estate Markets

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthill/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthill/

Throughout the nation, home buyers are increasingly finding themselves in bidding wars. Much to the relief of many home sellers, the dark days ushered in during the 2008 crash seem to be in the past and a bright future is ahead for home sales. In December alone, renowned real estate and technology firm Redfin reported that the number of buyers faced with bidding wars was 52 percent. While this is down from the year’s high in April — at 73.3 percent — it is still a welcome number for home sellers, particularly during a time of year when a seasonal drop in home sales is a normal occurrence.

While markets across the nation are seeing high levels of competition among buyers to seal the deal on a home, there are some areas that are particularly competitive — and some markets are dramatically outperforming the rest of the nation. Let’s take a look at ten of them.

Chicago

A lively city that is just slightly less populous than Los Angeles, Chicago is one of the few cooler climates on this list of competitive markets. However, with its vast history, amazing architecture, and quaint neighborhoods, it’s easy to see why homebuyers love the area.

Business Insider recently touted all the reasons why Chicago is the best city for young professionals in America, highlighting the city’s lower cost of living (compared to New York and San Francisco) as well as the logical layout and clean streets. The cost of living did get a little more expensive this year, though, with the median sales price increasing 20.2 percent from October of 2013 to January of 2014. Finance, technology, transportation, and telecommunications industries all have a heavy presence as well, drawing jobseekers to the Windy City.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ddebold/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ddebold/

San Jose

The third largest city in California, San Jose holds the distinction of being the largest city within Silicon Valley. Composed of hills and valleys and close to San Francisco Bay, San Jose is a picturesque area with plenty of cultural activities, great restaurants, and outdoor entertainment options. Movoto also reports that San Jose was voted by Forbes as the 7th safest city in the United States.

All of this makes it is easy to see why so many want to buy in this part of the Bay Area. As Trulia indicates, the median sales price rose 18.6 percent from October of 2013 to January of 2014, making home sellers very happy.

San Diego

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/buelna/

San Diego

The eighth largest city in the United States, San Diego is a coastal city in California with a population of approximately 1.3 million people as reported by the recent Census.

Adjacent to Mexico, San Diego offers gorgeous warm weather, which is a sure draw for many buyers. The clean and beautiful seaside city also boasts many industries that provide job opportunities for homebuyers looking for careers in healthcare, biotechnology, and the U.S. Navy. Finally, the deep-water harbor also provides many opportunities for jobs both directly and indirectly. This all helps to explain why median sales prices for home sales increased 14.1 percent from October of 2013 to January of 2014.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidcjones/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthill/

New York City

Could any list of hot real estate markets ever be complete without including New York City? The median sales price increase of 13.5 percent from October of 2013 to January of 2014 shows that buyers are still willing to pay a premium to live in the Big Apple.

As the home of Wall Street, Central Park, Broadway, a thriving film industry, and some of the best restaurants and culture in the world, there’s no question that New York City provides plenty for its residents to enjoy. Of course, as New York Magazine points out, the law of supply and demand means that the housing market is always going to be hot in this city that remains the top place to live for so many.

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alainpicard/

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alainpicard/

San Francisco

Known for the iconic pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is another city in the Bay Area that is attracting buyers. Already the second most densely populated major city in the United States, it has a population of nearly 826,000 people.

The city’s cable cars, steep hills and temperate climate — along with a variety of historic landmarks and parks — combine to make San Francisco a top tourist destination for visitors worldwide. However, it’s the job market close by Silicon Valley that is a magnet for informational technology workers and that brings many buyers to the area. It doesn’t hurt that a 2008 survey revealed that this city had the second highest quality of living in the entire United States.

Home sellers have also seen median sales price increases of 12.6 percent from October of 2013 to January of 2014, which has certainly improved their quality of living.

Washington DC

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/derfussi/

Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital, Washington D.C., is situated in a central location on the United States’ east coast, making it an ideal place to live for those who want to be able to travel quickly and efficiently to surrounding major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

With a strong public transportation system, a multitude of higher education institutions, and jobs in politics, technology, healthcare, and media all within Washington D.C. or in nearby surrounding suburban areas, the district offers accessibility and opportunity for those who can afford the price tag (D.C. is number six on Kiplinger’s list of the most expensive U.S. cities.) It didn’t get any cheaper this year, as the median sales price for homes increased 10.2 percent from October 13 to January 14.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

This celebrity filled city, also in California, is another place to find rolling hills and majestic mountains as backdrops to urban buildings and highways. Recognized as one of the United States’ most diverse counties, Los Angeles attracts a wide variety of residents.

While many come to take their shot in Hollywood, Los Angeles also attracts buyers who are involved in numerous other industries in the area including fashion, technology, media, business, medicine, and research. Its climate is another reason for its status as a sought out destination, with Weather Base reporting that there are only 35 days of measurable precipitation each year and pleasant temperatures throughout the year. The real estate market has definitely been getting hotter, with the median sales price up 9.9 percent from October 13 to January 14.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/runneralan/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/runneralan/

Boston

Also known as Beantown, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the entire United States. With events like the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunker Hill in Boston’s past, this city as a residence is a historian’s dream come true.

Boston is home to a large number of colleges and universities and is a leader in medicine and other innovation. Financial services and government jobs are also among the careers that make up a large portion of the job market in Boston, providing plenty of opportunity for home buyers. Listed as one of the top 30 most economically powerful cities in the world, it is no wonder Boston’s home market is as competitive as it is, with its 9.9 percent increase in median sales price.

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/-skipper-/

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/-skipper-/

Seattle

Another coastal city, Seattle is on the west coast in the state of Washington. Known as the home base of Starbucks and for having a lively music scene and history, Seattle is a beautiful area with rolling hills, lush forests, and many bodies of water.

Seattle is a top draw for home buyers not just because of its beauty, but also for its job market. Seattle is home to four of the companies on the Fortune 500 list of the country’s largest corporations: Starbucks, Nordstrom, Expeditors International of Washington, and Amazon.com. Other well-known companies can also be found in this rainy city, including Costco, Microsoft, Weyerhaueser, Nintendo of America, Expedia, T-Mobile, and Providence Health and Services.

The abundance of opportunity makes it easy to see why Seattle has become a highly desirable location for potential home buyers and why the median sales price increased 9.5 percent between October of 2013 and January of 2014.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/

Portland

Located in Oregon, Portland is becoming an increasingly popular city. As one of the greenest cities in the world, this environmentally-friendly town boasts effective and efficient public transportation. While the city does not sit on the Pacific Ocean, the Willamette River does run through its center, creating beautiful waterfront properties for business and residents alike. The city has also been rated as one of the ten best cities in which to retire by CBS MoneyWatch.

With a bustling entertainment scene, an exploding food scene, and a microbrewery revolution underway, this city calls to those seeking a vibrant and cultural urban environment. Also home to employers such as Intel, StanCorp Financial, McCormick and Schmick’s, Banfield Pet Hospital, Leatherman, LaCrosse Footwear, and many more, the economy and potential job availability is an attraction for homebuyers as well. For home sellers, the 8.8 percent increase in median sales prices from October 13 to January 14 means their investment in the Portland area real estate market has paid off.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

More from The Cheat Sheet