The recovering housing market is shaping out region-by-region and city-by-city with both buyers and sellers as both haves-and-haves-not.
When Zillow looked at buyers' markets vs. sellers' markets it found wide geographic variations with buyers ruling the roost in some markets and sellers at the top of the pecking order in others.
It's a real mixed bag.
"As most housing markets continue to improve nationwide, the relative position of buyers and sellers continues to vary considerably by geography," said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.
Humphries adds, "In some markets, buyers are finding themselves in strong bargaining positions relative to sellers, confidently offering less than the asking price on a home they had months to consider. In other areas, it's sellers that are squarely in the driver's seat with their homes selling within days of listing, often after bidding wars that increase the sale price above the asking price."
Zillow's index, which indexes the relative bargaining power of a buyer or seller within a given market, comes up with these general findings:
What's the difference?
Zillow defined a sellers' market as one in which home sellers are in a position of power relative to homebuyers. Homes are on the market for a shorter time, price cuts occur less frequently and homes are sold at prices very close to, or greater than, the listing price.
Zillow defined a buyers' market as one where homebuyers are in a position of power relative to home sellers. Homes languish for sale longer, price cuts occur more frequently and homes are generally sold for less than the listing price.
The index considers the sale-to-list price ratio, the percentage of homes that have been subject to a price cut and the time on market as measured as days on Zillow.
Check Zillow for scatter plots that illustrate the relationship between these measures.
The measures are converted into percentile rank, averaged together and divided by 10 to generate an index ranging from 0 (the strongest sellers' market) to 10 (the strongest buyers' market).
At the metro level, percentiles are computed according to all other metropolitan regions, allowing the comparison between the major metros across the U.S. Zillow excludes short sales and foreclosures.
So where are these markets according to Zillow?
Top 10 Sellers' Markets
- San Jose, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Phoenix, AZ
- Riverside, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Washington, D.C.
- Chicago, IL
- Cleveland, OH
- Philadelphia, PA
- Cincinnati, OH
- New York, NY
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Baltimore, MD
- St. Louis, MO
- Columbus, OH
- Charlotte, NC
"Many of the strongest sellers' markets are in areas that were hardest hit by the housing bust, places like California, Nevada and Arizona, which may seem counter-intuitive. But much of that strength is driven by investor interest, as many distressed and non-distressed homes are purchased and transformed into rentals," Humphries said.
"This investor activity is contributing to very low inventory levels, which increases demand and helps drive up prices, particularly for less expensive homes in these markets," he added.