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Seattle and Tacoma among most competitive real estate markets in the US, report finds

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Homes are going quickly—and above asking

A collection of houses on a hillside Harold Hollingsworth/Flickr

Both Seattle and Tacoma were among the top five most competitive markets in the U.S. during March, according to a new report by real-estate listing site and brokerage Redfin.

57 percent of homes in the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes both King and Snohomish County, went above asking, Redfin’s report found, making it the fourth most competitive out of the metros they serve.

Even when homes don’t go above asking, there’s still competition. 91 percent of homes in the Seattle metro area had more than one offer.

Tacoma was fifth highest, with 44 percent of homes going above asking.

Seattle tied with Denver for fastest market, too: The typical home in both cities was listed for just eight days before going under contract.

That’s pretty fast—nationwide, it takes about 49 days for a home to go under contract—but it’s been part of Seattle’s market for a long time. Redfin found that Seattle homes are selling at the exact same pace as this time last year.

Tacoma’s market is slower than Seattle, but above the rest of the country. The typical home was listed for 22 days in March, down from 30 this time last year.

Earlier this month, an Estately report found that 61 percent of homes in the Seattle city limits and 44 percent of homes in Tacoma went above asking in March—paired Northwest Multiple Listing Service data showing an exceedingly low inventory.

Redfin’s report is consistent with both of these. Inventory was down 31 percent in the Seattle metro in March, and 23 percent in Tacoma.

The takeaway here: People are moving to the area in droves, but like a game of real estate musical chairs, there’s not enough homes to go around.

"Seattle has a lot of well-qualified buyers thanks to the growing tech industry and a shortage of homes for sale to meet demand," said Redfin agent Kyle Moss in a statement.

He says understanding how much you’re willing to pay is a key first step in a market like Seattle.

For some, that’s going to top out and what they’re able to pay—and it’s not an impossible market if you shell out a decent amount of cash.

Unsurprisingly given the bidding wars, median sale prices in the Seattle metro jumped up 14.5 percent year over year to $484,925, the report found. For Tacoma, they jumped 12 percent to $296,250.