Five of the Country’s Most Competitive Zip Codes Are in Boston

Buying News Allston-Brighton Back Bay Beacon Hill Boston Jamaica Plain South End
Pictured: The Jamaicaway in Jamaica Plain, which was the highest-ranked Boston neighborhood on Redfin’s list.
Pictured: The Jamaicaway in Jamaica Plain, which was the highest-ranked Boston neighborhood on Redfin’s list. The Boston Globe

What do Allston-Brighton, the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Jamaica Plain, and the South End have in common?

All five Hub neighborhoods landed on a national list of the 30 most competitive zip codes in the country for home buyers.

Jamaica Plain got the highest ranking of any local neighborhood in the Redfin survey, weighing in at number four.

Three hot and hip San Francisco neighborhoods stood between JP and the top spot on Redfin’s most competitive list: the Sunset District, Castro, and Bernal Heights.

Allston-Brighton was another surprise, coming in at number 10, above the South End (number 13), and Back Bay and Beacon Hill, listed at number 18 as one neighborhood.

A number of neighborhoods in the red hot Cambridge and Somerville could have also landed on Redfin’s national list, but were ruled out due to an anemically low number of sales in those inventory-starved markets, making it hard to get an accurate reading, noted Troy Martin, a senior Redfin data analyst.

There was plenty to say about JP. “In 2014, buyers had to waive mortgage and inspection contingencies just to get their foot in the door of this trendy neighborhood with a plethora of yoga and pilates studios and fair-trade coffee shops,’’ said Katie Gustafson, a Redfin agent in Boston, of the neighborhood.

So what makes these local neighborhoods so hard for buyers to get a foothold in? For starters, there was a large number of sales involving competition from multiple buyers.

Nearly three-quarters of all homes sold in JP last year fielded multiple offers, with an average of three bids per home. Sixty percent of homes in the neighborhood sold for over the asking price, with nearly 14 percent involving all-cash offers, Redfin reports.

Those numbers were fairly similar for the South End and Back Bay/Beacon Hill, with more than 60 percent of homes in all three neighborhoods subject to bidding wars, with each property attracting three bids, on average.

And a large percentage of all cash buyers raised the competition to a whole new level in Allston-Brighton and the Back Bay. More than half of all the sales in Allston-Brighton, wedged between Harvard and Boston University, were all-cash transactions. Some of these deals, in turn, involved foreign buyers either snapping up condos for their student children or as an investment property, Redfin notes.

More than 41 percent of sales in the Back Bay were also all-cash deals, the survey finds.

That said, there simply weren’t enough sales to rate Somerville and Cambridge hot spots like Davis and Porter Squares. Redfin requires data on at least 30 sales involving its agents in a particular neighborhood to accurately assess how competitive it is.

Still, if the listing had been of cities as opposed to neighborhoods, Cambridge would have been in the top tier, ranking as the most competitive city in the Boston area, with 71 percent of homes sold having received multiple offers and more than 62 percent fetching more than the asking price.

And 02139 ranked as the most competitive zip code in the Boston area, covering Central Square, East Cambridge, and Cambridgeport.