Top Ten Most Competitive Bay Area Cities in 2020

craftsman home in Berkeley

The Bay Area remained a competitive place to buy a home in 2020. Curious to see what cities showed the most competition, we looked at MLS data (through the second week of December 2020) for sale-to-list price ratio for single family homes in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. 

Sale-to-list price ratio, the percentage of the list price that a home actually sold for, indicates how strongly buyers want to live in an area as it measures their willingness to pay more than list price. A ratio over 100% tends to indicate that more than one buyer is offering on the same home, driving up the ratio.

How were home prices affected in these competitive cities? The median sale price across all counties was $1,100,000 in 2020, up 10.6% from $995,000 in 2019. 

Of the ten most competitive cities, two saw an increase greater than that 10.6% median: Oakland and Piedmont.

Within these competitive areas, where are buyers likely to see the best return on their investments? While median sale price speaks to the value of the homes sold across the area, if we want to understand how the value of a particular home may change, average price per square foot is a more precise measure. 

The average price per square foot across the top cities was $689 in 2020, down 5.1% from $726 in 2019. 

All of the most competitive neighborhoods saw an increase above this average.

Another number to notice is the number of homes sold in an area.The total number sold across all counties for 2020 was 35,388 homes, down 4.8% from 37,160 in 2019. 

All of the top ten cities saw larger decreases in volume than the overall change of -4.8% for 2020. 

See month-by-month Bay Area market data and insights

Check out how what Bay Area homebuyers wanted changed in 2020


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