Is it a seller's market? Got to these five cities, and it's pretty clear: It sure is. In these markets, home prices are on a steady track upward, inventory is falling, and that's making it tough for buyers to win bidding wars. Hey, that's great for sellers. They can get higher bids on their homes, and with fewer houses on the market there's less competition for buyers.
Nationally, the trend has been in favor of sellers. Single-family-home sales shot up 9.1 percent in January from a year prior, median home sale prices rose 12.3 percent to $173,600, and inventory was down 16.5 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median number of days that homes were on the market in January was also down 9 percent to 108 days. In the top five cities to sell a home, these trends were even stronger.
MarketWatch analyzed NAR's data to come up with the list of five best cities for home sellers. The publication found better-than-average conditions for sellers in these markets, including impressive price gains, low inventories and a healthy pool of buyers. Though sellers still aren't getting offers as high as they would a few years ago, they're faring better than the national average. Click through the gallery below to see the best cities for home sellers.
Top 5 Cities to Sell a Home
5 Best Cities to Sell a Home Right Now
Median list price: $224,900
A steady job market has kept demand for homes healthy in Iowa City, MarketWatch said. Iowa's low unemployment rate of 3.6 percent in December means more people can afford to buy. Inventory has been dropping rapidly in Iowa City, dropping 10 percent in January from a month prior. The number of homes for sale in every price range has been decreasing for the last 18 months, MarketWatch reported. That means sellers have their pick of buyers looking for homes.
Median list price: $349,000 Median days homes are on the market: 56
Homes listed in Seattle spend about half the time on the market than they do nationally, and competition among buyers is helping to bid up home prices. There were less than 4,000 homes for sale in Seattle in January, MarketWatch reported, driving homebuyers to act fast on purchases.
Median list price: $429,900 Median days homes are on the market: 29 (December)
In Washington, D.C., a monthly mortgage payment can cost less than local rental prices, so first-time homebuyers are taking advantage of that. There's also an influx of foreign buyers and investors snapping up homes. All of this means there's a lot of opportunity for sellers, MarketWatch said. It also doesn't hurt that inventory in the metro area is at a record low -- which means it's definitely a seller's market.
Median list price: $209,500 Median days homes are on the market: 58
Home values are getting warmer in the hot-weather town of Phoenix. The median list price is up 23.6 percent from a year ago, and many underwater homeowners are coming out of negative equity. That's making it easier for them to sell. There's also quite a but of buyer interest coming from an unlikely source: people who sold their homes in short sales and are now using the money to buy once again, MarketWatch said.
Median list price: $729,000 Median days homes are on the market: 58
Sellers in San Francisco have a pretty good problem on their hands: who to sell their homes to. Competition is fierce, with many sellers fielding more than 10 offers apiece on their properties, according to MarketWatch. The median days that a home sits on the market in San Francisco is below the national figure of 108. And a boom in tech jobs is bringing in scads of new workers who are looking to buy homes.