Sellers in many of America’s largest metro areas have been getting higher-than-expected offers in recent months, according to a study from Redfin.

The typical home in Oakland sold for nearly 11 percent above asking price in the first half of 2021, an increase that led the nation’s 59 most populous metros, the Seattle-based brokerage found in a June 23 report.

Austin, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Denver each saw home sale prices exceed asking prices by anywhere from 5 to 9 percent, Redfin said.

In the Seattle metro area, 580 homes sold for at least $300,000 above asking price since the start of January. Only 16 Seattle-area homes reached this threshold in the metro area during the same period the previous year. The trend pushed the city’s median home price to a record $737,800 in May, up 26.1 percent from last year.

“I’ve never seen anything like this housing market,” Redfin agent Scott Petrich said in a June 23 news release. “It’s fueled by employees of local tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft and companies with big offices in the area like Google and Facebook. […] Most of those people have the money to compete with other buyers and drive up prices.”

In Austin and Denver, the trend represents a reversal from the same period the previous year, Redfin found. Both metro areas saw the typical home go for less than the asking price in the first half of 2020. 

Dozens of other metro areas of various sizes — from Portland, Oregon, to Raleigh, North Carolina — followed a similar pattern. Metro areas with sale prices that were lower than asking price in 2020 ended up with higher-than-asked-for prices in 2021.

Redfin attributed part of this difference to the homebuying slowdown in May of 2020, shortly after the early days of the coronavirus pandemic introduced a great deal of uncertainty into the market.

Soon after this slowdown, the market began to heat up as buyers got into bidding wars over a relatively small supply of homes.

A breakdown of the year-to-year differences in 30 selected metros can be found in the Redfin report.

Email Daniel Houston

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