The Top Markets for Sellers in the United States

by JRO on December 15, 2013

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In 2008 it seemed like many real estate markets were in a race to the bottom. A November 2008 article published by CNN reported significant year-over-year declines in many major markets across the country. According to the article, “the worst hit market of the 20 metro areas covered was Miami, where the median home fell a whopping 15.1 percent in value. San Diego prices also fell steeply, down 13.4 percent. Las Vegas was off 13.2 percent and Detroit by 13 percent.” The three largest US cities also reported losses: New York down 4.8 percent; LA down 11.9 percent; and Chicago down 3.9 percent.

Editor’s note – you can also view our guide to some of the top attorneys for property in America here.

It’s hard to imagine that consumers are eager to purchase homes these days, but there seem to be a number of good seller’s markets emerging. A steady stream of good news about the recovery has seemingly aided consumer confidence and has people out looking for property. A lot of the overbuilt inventory of new homes seems to be dwindling, and many of the markets that got hit with the worst losses have seen steady recovery. We haven’t reached the levels of the “pre-bubble” era, but some markets are gaining momentum. Let’s take a look at the hottest seller’s markets in the country.


In an article published by Forbes Magazine there seems to be one overarching point: within the large-scale, generally slow real estate recovery in the US there are many “mini-boom” markets with high demand and fast-moving homes. It just so happens that the majority of these markets are located in Northern California.

Atop the list is Oakland. The average listing price of homes in the area is $419,000 with an average of only 14 days on the market. Some credit the tight supply in the area: investors are buying homes and renting them rather than flipping them. Nearly 20 percent of the Oakland market is rentals.

Next is the state capital, Sacramento. Homes there are only on the market for an average of three weeks with a median price of $279,000. A flood of first-time buyers have entered the market, which has subsequently bumped up demand for bigger, more expensive second homes. This demand has pushed prices up roughly 40 percent over a 12-month period.

Stockton, California, homes are on the market an average of 23 days with a median price of $185,000. Note that Stockton ranked among the worst hit by the housing bust, so the standard of comparison for growth is skewed. Nevertheless, housing prices have increased nearly 16 percent over the last 12 months, and foreclosures have decreased significantly.

An hour southwest of Stockton is San Jose, where the success of Silicon Valley has driven up home prices. Homes are usually listed only for about 25 days, and they sell for an average of $600,000. Prices have climbed nearly 30 percent over the past twelve months, thanks to one of the smallest inventories of unsold homes in the country.

The Others

Denver’s home prices have climbed roughly 8 percent over the last 12 months, and the average home is on the market for only 28 days. To add to the appeal for home sellers, the “active listing level” is the lowest it has been in the area since 1998. Seattle saw median increases of 12.9 percent and a 45-day listing period. And finally, Phoenix has gained a massive 32.2 percent in median home prices and has also seen listing periods decrease to a mere 48 days.

One thing seems certain: if you’re looking for seller’s markets, you definitely need to head west.


Douglas Bucket is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Virginia who focuses primarily on real estate and investment. Douglas encourages curious readers who’d like to learn more about the complex world of real estate to visit Avenue Realty – A Real Estate Brokerage in VA.

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