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LendingTree: Denver has most competitive housing market in U.S.

Downtown Denver. File photo.

Looking for a home in Denver? Be prepared for fierce competition.

According to an analysis from LendingTree, the Mile High City has the most competitive home buying market among major metro areas in the U.S.

The online loan company ordered the 50 largest metropolitan areas based on an average of the city’s rank in three categories:

  • Share of buyers shopping for a mortgage before identifying the house they want.
  • Average down payment percentage.
  • Percentage of buyers who have good or excellent credit (above 680).

These criteria were chosen because most Americans need good credit to secure a loan, and enough cash to be able to make a substantial down payment. A more competitive buyer has higher credit and the ability to put down larger down payments.

Overall, Denver had the most competitive buyers in the country, followed by Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon.

On the other end of the spectrum, Birmingham, Ala., Virginia Beach, Va., and Pittsburgh have the least competitive buyers in the country. Living in a less competitive market can be beneficial for buyers as it means that the path to homeownership is less challenging than it is in other parts of the country. For example, in these three areas, only 43 percent of mortgage shoppers had prime credit, compared to an average of 49 percent across the 50 largest metros in the U.S.

The most competitive buyers live out west. Of the top 10 most competitive cities, only two, St. Louis and Boston, were not in a western U.S. state. High-paying tech jobs, common in places like Oregon, San Francisco and Seattle, likely help fuel market competitiveness in some western cities.

In the 10 most competitive metros, 57 percent of buyers have good or excellent credit. Across the 50 largest metros in the country, that number is only 49 percent.

The average down payment percent in the top 10 most competitive metros is 16 percent, two points higher than the average down payment percent found across all the cities looked at in the study. As the housing market cools, this number may fall somewhat, as sellers and lenders accommodate more potential buyers.

And 63 percent of buyers in the 10 most competitive metros shopped around for a mortgage before settling on a house. Shopping around for a mortgage can not only help buyers save money — it can also help them become pre-approved for a mortgage, which makes it easier to purchase a home.

Metropolitan areas with the most competitive buyers in the U.S.
Denver
Buyers who shopped around for a mortgage before settling on a house: 67%
Buyers with good or excellent credit: 56%
Average down payment: 16%
Los Angeles
Buyers who shopped around for a mortgage before settling on a house: 64%
Buyers with good or excellent credit: 55%
Average down payment: 17%
Portland, Ore.
Buyers who shopped around for a mortgage before settling on a house: 65%
Buyers with good or excellent credit: 57%
Average down payment: 15%
Top 10 most competitive housing markets
1) Denver
2) Los Angeles
3) Portland, Ore.
4) San Francisco
5) San Jose, Calif.
6) St. Louis
7) Las Vegas
8) Seattle
9) Sacramento, Calif.
10) Boston

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