As the spring home shopping season heats up, buyers and sellers nationwide can expect very different experiences when it comes to negotiating power. Zillow took a look at recent data to determine markets where sellers have the power and those where buyers are in control. Our analysis shows many home sellers are thriving in the Bay Area, San Antonio and Los Angeles metro areas, where price cuts are sparse and homes often sell at or near their asking price.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Cleveland, Philadelphia and Tampa metros are buyers’ markets, with homes taking longer to sell, less competition in the marketplace and more room for bargaining on prices.

In this analysis, a sellers’ market is not necessarily one where home values are rising, but rather one in which 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) their last listing price. In buyers’ markets, homes for sale stay on the market longer, price cuts occur more frequently and homes are sold for less relative to their listing price.

“The real estate data in markets on both coasts are telling markedly different stories. Relatively strong job markets in the West are helping spur robust demand, which is being met with limited supply, causing rapid home value appreciation and giving sellers an edge. In the East, housing markets are appreciating a bit more slowly, and homes are staying on the market longer, which helps give buyers the upper hand,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.

He added, “In general, buyers in sellers’ markets this spring can expect tight inventory, increased competition and a greater sense of urgency. Sellers in buyers’ markets may need to be prepared to lower their asking price, or to wait longer for the perfect buyer to come along. As we put the housing recession further in the rear-view mirror, the broad-based dynamics that applied during those days, when all markets were reacting similarly to nationwide economic conditions, are fading. Real estate has always been local, and as the spring market gains momentum, this old adage will only become more pronounced.”

To read more about Zillow’s Buyer Seller Index click here.

To dive into our recently released February Real Estate Market Reports, visit Zillow Research.


  • Walter E Atkinson

    too bad zillow doesn’t take the sold off their site

  • Mark Adler

    Look at zip 32164 and 32137 Lot’s of homes under 100K for the soon to be retired this is a good thing We love it here ours is 139K in appraised value

  • RFScalf

    NYC a buyer’s market? That’s just unbelievable. A dozen places in Florida ought to be ahead of New York I’d think.

  • gary Snyder

    Thinkg of selling my condo in Denver, and moving to Florida.

  • Seattleite4


  • Guest

    Did you mean 92164? Florida or Ca? The

  • Capistranoboy

    I don’t believe anything Zillow publishes. One month my house was worth $231K, and the next month is was worth $162K. My tax appraisal is (typically 20% under actual value) $202k. Houston is one of the hottest markets in the nation and it is not even mentioned in either list.

  • Seattleite4

    Did you mean 92164? The zips won’t come up. Ca or Florida?

  • spatin

    Why in the world would anyone want to buy a house in Denver? I think these numbers are skewed to favor certain areas.

  • adam222green

    I’m not following you — the filters can show or hide “sold” — do you mean it’s information that you suggest some market participants would like to disappear?

  • Milliken Steeler

    I don’t know. I work in Denver and live in northern Colorado. I would rather commute than live there.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Houston and Austin I believe correct? I was out there a little over a year ago and could not believe how cheap the housing was versus the wealth there.

    Not anymore, people found out about you. lol

  • oliverwoods

    If it’s 92164, change the 1 to a 5 or 6, or even add three more zeros.

  • mikemazzla

    Is a top ten buyers market? have you seen the prices in NY? at least in the city and surrounding suburbs…

  • mikemazzla

    yeah but you are also living in huntsville or madison

  • lana

    I think by Denver they meant Denver metropolitan area, not just the city itself

  • Kelly McMahon

    I’m confused – why wouldn’t you want to live in Denver?! If you have never actually lived in the city you wouldn’t have any reason to know this, but, the evolving culture in Denver is fantastic. Restaurants, breweries, distilleries, museums, sports – its all great. The location (as far as proximity to all things outdoors) is unrivaled. I’ve lived here for many years (and have lived in several other large, med and small cities as well) and Denver ranks really high. And judging by the mass amounts of people from all over moving here I would say some folks agree with me! :)

  • MLew

    Denver home prices have been steadily rising for the past 5 years and there are constant bidding wars. I had friends place offers on 28 homes before they got one. Great economy and urbanization is the global trend, so what little affordable urban property remains is a hot commodity.

  • Susan

    I live in Central NJ, and even 1 hr from NYC, prices are crazy (compared to most other parts of the country, at least).

  • Dave

    Then I guess it’s NOT one of the hottest markets in the nation.

  • Susan

    Agreed. I paid less for 2 homes in FL (one lakefront) than I did for a small ranch with a very small lot in the NYC region.

  • Roger D. Baskette Jr.

    I agree with Capostranoboy, I bought my house in 2009 in a very nice neighborhood and paid $420K, All the houses in the community are $400k and up. Zillow values my house at $187k. That is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t believe anything Zillow publishes either.

  • Boris Crazyrussian

    He is right!! The woodlands is one of the hottest markets(north of Houston)

  • Warren Taylor

    All forget the No state income tax places property taxes are more than 2 times other places. So the “cheap” Texas has property taxes way higher than even California.

  • Mark Martinez

    NYC (or any) numbers are relative to historical trends not the rest of the country.

  • Mark Martinez

    Not sure where you are located but Denver is very much a sellers market inventory is low and has been for a while, buyers are flooding in and the state is in the middle of a natural gas boom. Just look at the housing price numbers over the past 12 months – I am honestly surprised it is not higher on the list.

  • Denis

    No way they are higher than in NJ:)

  • Denis

    I don’t really see the prices coming down….

  • lulu

    They may be because Florida’s bay prices are lower than NYC’s and a buyer market is really depending on the amount of houses available for sale. If there are to many houses for sale, the buyer has more options to choose from and has the power to negotiate to get a lower price. I really do believe the statement in this report is true and the housing supply is higher than demand in these areas. People are getting tired of urbanization and sell their houses.

  • Warren Taylor

    i never said higher than NJ i was born there that is why i left, pay beaches, toll road’s pay pay pay and always broke

  • 1961 Fan

    A hot Market: On Tuesday (4/08/14) in San Diego on the coast 83o, inland it will be 92o, for April that is HOTT.

  • Denis

    Yep, $16 to cross a bridge or tunnel.

  • Guest

    I do agree with you!!!! Zillow is not appropriate guideless when it comes to house values….generalize too much!!!!

  • HowmaNoid

    It’s all relative. You can’t buy a garage for $200K in San Francisco. (NOT kidding)

  • Andrea

    I live in San Francisco. The 1625 sq ft Victorian house built in 1908 across the street from us was listed at $1,795,000 and sold for $2,505,000 on March 26th. That is a hot market. MLS #417945.

  • PulSamsara

    Zillow is horribly inaccurate and often rigged for advantage.

    ZERO credibility. ZERO.

  • proudrat

    Don’t forget about legal pot!

  • ashley parish

    since this year I have to disagree. I used to think Zillow had many inaccuracies and trailed the market, this year I have been amazed at how Zillow has homed in on accurate pricing in my neighbourhood (so cal). Ive talked to friends in the business (realtors / title) and they said they’ve seen the same thing. dont know about other states, but here they’d be 95+ % spot on.

  • Amy Hall

    True, and half the time, the listing is old, sold, not available, and way off when it comes to prices in California.

  • nhop

    Our house was recently appraised, for refinancing purposes, and the appraisal came in $53,000 higher than the current Zillow estimate.

  • B W

    No its hot! Went there in 1985 on July 4th to play golf….. too damn hot for me!!!!

  • Hoosier Native

    Real estate is local. This article says Philadelphia area where I live is a buyers market due to more days on the market and less competition. Well that depends. First: the competition – which one? Fewer buyers competing or fewer houses for sale? Second: more days on the market – in which area? All metro areas are composed of many smaller real estate areas. Some are very desirable and houses sell rapidly. Other areas are less desirable and houses sit. So bottom line is Real Estate IS Local!

  • James keen

    Zillow’s “Zestimate”s in our area are grossly inaccurate! Our neighborhood is just south of Washington, DC which Zillow says in one of the 10 hottest areas in the country. MSN has listed Calvert County as one of the “top richest” counties in the country. The unemployment rate is very low due to, primarily, proximity to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station which employs 20,000+ military, civilian, and contractors. Business is booming, and new shopping areas and restaurants continue to be built. Our town, Solomons, is a quaint waterfront community next to the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay.
    With that said… My new construction house appraised for $685k the day I closed on it in April of 2006 before the housing market tanked. At the height of the recession, a very conservative appraisal on our house came in at $485k, which was about $80k less that original cost. Now, with the market ostensibly taking off, Zillow shows our “Zestimate” as $333k. Other on-line estimates that I have found are much higher and realistic.

  • adam222green

    That z-number is not exactly a bank appraisal (which is not to say the bank appraiser is anyone but a clueless twit with a history of negligence bordering on corruption and conspiracy to commit fraud.)
    I find the zillow number makes sense so long as the parameters of the property are sensible — if the public records are wrong, the zillow number will be wrong; sometimes laughably off the mark, but then, that’s so obvious, it’s harmless. I find if you just “eyeball” the map and survey the prices, especially of recent sales, you’re really close to the number. At least over the last 12 months.
    I’ve been shopping intensely for a house in San Francisco and Woodside, near Silicon Valley — two areas infamously sought after and often attracting the kind of over-bidding that was the hallmark of the “exuberance” of the late 90’s tech industry and new money millionaires soon to meet their comeuppance.
    In simple terms, if the house sold during the boom of the pre-’08-crash market, zillow will make a good guestimate on its 2014 price. If the house sold post 2009, it can’t reflect how institutional and small real estate speculators scooped up dozens (hundreds … thousands?) of distressed properties and flipped them in the last two years for often 100% price increases, sometimes after converting to condos and multi-family or making significant renovations to revive homes that were often in wretched condition.
    The unfortunate and hopefully unintended consequence is the number of wildly over the market asking prices when I think sellers and agents “aim high” (to put it nicely) and then wait for a sucker or an overseas buyer (all too common lately) to come along and pay with a currency not crippled by the decade of devaluation that has turned the USD into ditchwater. Overseas buyers and optimistic speculators have lead to numerous unoccupied homes that languish on the market, popping up from time to time with different asking prices. It has also lead to an extraordinary correction in the rental market which renters somehow blame on a handful of higher (but no higher than a city bus driver) tech workers.

  • flash G

    Absolutely insane to say New York is a buyers market. The burbs around NYC are crazy and NYC itself has reached an all time high with prices and inventory levels are at an all time low. That in no way creates a buyers market when a one bedroom is priced at 2MM+ in Manhattan. Stupid

  • flash G

    NYC has absolutely no inventory. The avg new development price ppsf was over $2,500 in Q4 of 2013. For suburban dwellers, $5MM for a 2,000 sq ft house. Brooklyn 1b are at 1MM, Manhattan 2MM. The Hamptons are setting new records on LI. The tri state is up double digits and all have surpassed pre crash. From Hackensack to Ho-Ho-Kus, Scarsdale to Rochester and Coventry to Darien. NY a buyers market? Maybe in Poughkeepsie, but I will bet not even there!

  • teddie77

    Public records have nothing to do with what a house is worth (can be sold for )

  • teddie77

    same kind of stats for San Antonio, Zil is lower than what they’re actually selling for, even though Zil is high

  • teddie77

    We is San Antonio are the same as NJ in prop tax rates (but tax rate are done by county and Bexar County (SA) is as high as NJ. Example: $312k home taxes are $7500. a yr.

  • teddie77

    U didn’t mention where it ‘s located. And are the houses in ur neigh. selling for that?

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