Homebuyers Gaining Ground In California

In 20 of the 35 largest U.S. metros, market conditions favor buyers more than they did a year ago, according to the Zillow®Buyer-Seller Index out Thursday.

California markets have seen the biggest shift toward buyers since last January, led by San Jose, which has seen the most significant swing. San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Denver round out the top five markets where buyers will have an easier time navigating the market than they would have in recent years.

Even though San Jose and San Francisco have cooled exceptionally, they are still the hottest markets compared with others around the country, markets where listings see few price cuts, homes don't stay on the market for long, and sale-to-list price ratios are higher. In these two Bay Area markets, home prices are so prohibitive, the typical buyer must put more than a 20% down to keep mortgage payments at or below 30% of monthly household income.

San Jose buyers would need a 49% down payment, or $614,100, nearly three times as much as the national median home value. Buyers in San Francisco (43%), Los Angeles (43%) and San Diego (31%) would also need to put down more than 20%.

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