Last month, 55.9 percent of offers written by the Seattle-based brokerage’s agents faced competition from other buyers, a decline from 58.3 percent in September. Bidding wars have been on a downward slope since peaking at 79 percent in February.
October was also the third consecutive month to see a drop in competition compared to the same month last year, Redfin said.
Even with the decline, though, competition last month was higher than expected, given the effects of the government shutdown on consumer confidence.
“While many Americans paused their home-buying and selling plans during the shutdown, overall demand in October was more robust than expected, with home tours and offers rebounding once the government reopened,” said Redfin analyst Rachel Musiker. “This unexpectedly strong demand paired with dwindling inventory likely kept competition from falling even further in October.”
Out of the 22 markets reporting, Boston saw the biggest drop in competition, with 61.3 percent of offers facing bidding wars—down from 70.1 percent in September. San Diego, meanwhile, experienced the biggest increase in bidding wars, with 63.0 percent of offers competing against multiple bids compared to 56.1 percent the month prior.
For the most competitive areas, interested buyers still have to adopt aggressive tactics, including offering all cash. Mia Simon, a Redfin agent operating in Silicon Valley, tells a story of a bidder vying for a home priced just above $1.4 million:
“There were only three other offers, but they were all above $1.8 million. Although my client’s offer was not the highest overall, it was the highest of the all-cash offers,” Simon said.
“Today’s Silicon Valley home buyers realize that they long missed out on the bottom of the market, but many believe that home prices will rise even more in 2014, so they will do whatever it takes to get a home under contract before the spring,” she added.
At the same time, the less competitive markets are seeing a shift in the buyer/seller dynamic. For example, in Washington, D.C.—where 44.0 percent of Redfin offers went against other bids in October—sellers are working harder to gain attention.
“I’ve recently received a few phone calls from agents whose listings I have shown to my clients,” said agent Philip Gvinter, who works in the nation’s capital. “They’re trying to gauge my clients’ interest in the home, and some simply ask what it will take to get my client to write an offer. It’s been more than a year and a half since I’ve received a call like that.”