The Toughest Cities In America For People Looking To Sell Their Home

After an economic slowdown in 2020, the housing market began picking up. Many people began thinking about selling their homes, but how successful will they be? In some cities, sellers will struggle. From large capitals like Honolulu to a small city in southern Connecticut, these are the most difficult cities in America to sell houses.

New York City, New York

An aerial photo shows the buildings in Manhattan, New York City.
Sam Trotman/Unsplash
Sam Trotman/Unsplash

Since New York City is so popular, many people assume that it would be easy to sell a home there. But that is not the case. Because of the rising house prices and lack of jobs, not many people are purchasing homes in the city.

On average, homeowners must wait for 125 days to sell in New York City. In 2019, there were 220 houses on the market, with 12% dropping their prices after a while. Since a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan costs $710,000, few people can afford a house there.

Honolulu, Hawaii

An aerial view shows the buildings, beach, and mountain of Honolulu, Hawaii.
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Rolf Schulten/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Who wouldn’t want a home in Hawaii? A lot of people, apparently. Located on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii’s state capital of Honolulu is unforgiving for home sellers. On Zillow, houses stay on the market for 92 days on average. Perhaps that has to do with the median home value of over $1,000,000.

Why won’t people buy homes there? According to Manage Casa, condos are becoming more desirable in Hawaii. As a result, home prices are dropping, and over 8,000 houses were up for sale in 2019.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The yellow bridge overhand of Federal Street, Pittsburgh leads into the city.
Jaime Casap/Unsplash
Jaime Casap/Unsplash

Pittsburgh suffers from the same issues as other major cities: steep prices and a struggling job market. On average, a listed house will remain on the market for 91 days. According to Norada Real Estate, that listing time continues to increase.

In 2020, over 8,000 homes remained on the market, and 14% had to lower their prices to sell. However, once the pandemic started, house purchases increased, according to the Pittsburgh City Paper. But it remains fairly expensive.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Jeremy Drey/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images
Jeremy Drey/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Although Bridgeport, Connecticut had a promising seller’s market in 2019, it has been declining ever since. According to Zillow, today, it takes around 90 days to sell a home in Bridgeport. One in four homeowners has underwater mortgages here, far higher than the national average.

As a result, many residents prefer to rent. Most listings start around $191,500, but over 14% end up dropping their prices. According to GOBankingRates, the rate of foreclosure is also higher than the national average. Yikes!

Chicago, Illinois

Tourists look at a metal sculpture in the middle of Chicago, IL.
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Sawyer Bengtson/Unsplash

One of the most famous U.S. cities is struggling economically, just like the rest of Illinois. This reflects in its housing market. Chicago homes stay on the market for 83 days on average, and around 19% of sellers end up lowering their listing prices.

The worst area to sell in is Chicago’s suburb Aurora. It has a terribly high number of home price drops, foreclosures, and underwater mortgages. All of these are greater than the national average.

Akron, Ohio

Houses are on Dayton St. in Akron, Ohio.
Dustin Franz for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Dustin Franz for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Akron is a city in Ohio with stunning buildings and a lot of history. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for buyers. Generally, sellers have to wait at least 87 days to sell a house in Akron. Almost 14% of them end up lowering their listing price by $10,000.

Although Ohio is more affordable compared to other states, Akron house prices are steep for residents. As of 2021, a house costs $316,000 there. Residents seem to be moving northeast for better prices, says 19 News.

Allentown, Pennsylvania

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Janie Osborne/Getty Images
Janie Osborne/Getty Images

Pennsylvania has also watched its residents leave. According to FOX 58 Wolf, thousands of people moved out of the state in 2020, and 39% of them were homeowners. In cities like Allentown, this left residents who could not afford to purchase a home.

In 2020, over 2,000 homes were for sale, and most of them would remain on the market for 38 days. Sellers would also lower their prices by $57,000, with the median sales price being around $213,000.

Miami Beach, Florida

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Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Although Miami Beach, Florida is a popular tourism spot, it does not have a competitive housing market. Houses remain on the market for 126 days on average. The costs are also gradually increasing. In 2019, the median listing price was $495,583, and by 2021, it increased to $553,000.

But things might look up soon. According to Forbes, more people are moving to southern Florida as the pandemic restrictions lift. Perhaps the market will become more competitive in the future.

Ventura, California

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Ray Chavez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images
Ray Chavez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Ventura is a coastal city between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Although it sits on the coast, selling a home there is not easy. In 2020, there were 1,646 houses on the market, and 12% end up lowering their prices. They often stay on the market for a month.

California homes have been suffering. In 2020, over 135,000 people left the state due to higher prices and fewer jobs during the COVID pandemic. It’s not looking good for the Ventura residents who want to sell their homes.

Albany, Georgia

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SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Ever since the financial crash of 2008, Albany’s real estate market has been struggling to recover. This Georgia city has over 450 houses on the market, and most remain there for 115 days. Over half of the 74,000 residents prefer to rent.

Around 43% of homes in Albany were built between 1970 and 1999. Meanwhile, the rental properties are newer and more desirable. This results in one in 4,323 homes being foreclosed, which is triple the national average, according to Inman.

Detroit, Michigan

The city of Detroit is seen from a bird's eye view.
Doug Zuba/Unsplash
Doug Zuba/Unsplash

Detroit is Michigan’s largest and most populous city. Despite this, homes tend to stay on the market for a long while. The average time is 68 days, in which time a house might receive an offer.

Although there are around 2,000 houses for sale in Detroit, there are many more rental properties at a lower cost. This results in 14.65% of sellers lowering their prices. Many remove $55,000 from the listing before it finally sells.

Fort Myers, Florida

A top-down photo shows houses in a neighborhood of Fort Myers, FL.
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Ameer Basheer/Unsplash

Fort Myers, Florida is ideal for people to vacation in the southwest corner of the state. But home sellers might struggle there. On average, houses won’t sell for 92 days, or 111 days according to Zillow. Although 3,588 houses went up for sale in 2019, only 541 sold.

Like many other cities in Florida, Fort Myers is rapidly improving. According to Realtor, it is becoming a seller’s market in 2021 as people move out of neighboring states.

Hartford, Connecticut

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Jim Lane/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jim Lane/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, has many historic buildings and schools. According to Reid Real Estate Group, houses there will stay on the market for around 135 days. And as of 2020, there were 4,042 homes still waiting to be bought!

Heightening prices are one reason for the difficult market. Although many properties are listed at around $335,000, they end up selling for $255,000. Over 13% end up lowering prices to get sold; perhaps residents prefer to rent.

Portsmouth, Virginia

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SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Portsmouth, a city in northern Virginia, has the opposite issue that other cities have. Instead of having too many renters, it has too many homeowners! Over 52% of the population there already owns a home, meaning that few people are looking to buy.

Even worse, Portsmouth has the highest foreclosure rate in the state, and the number of underwater mortgages are double the national average. Although the average home price is $285,587, most sold for $202,000 in 2020.

Paterson, New Jersey

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Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Paterson, which sits on the northern edge of New Jersey, has a thriving rental market. But its houses remain on the market for 146 days, and 8.6% end up dropping their prices. Over 74% of the residents in Paterson rent.

Compared to other American cities, Paterson has decent housing prices, most of which are between $218,000 and $328,000. But demand is low. Single-family houses only make up 16% of the homes in Paterson, compared to over 80% being apartment complexes.

Buffalo, New York

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Matt Stone/ MediaNews Group/Boston Herald
Matt Stone/ MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

In 2020, over 70,000 people left the state of New York. This means more trouble for sellers. In Buffalo, the state’s second-largest city, houses remain on the market for 80 days on average. Although there is a housing shortage, there are also fewer people willing to buy.

According to Buffalo News, this results in an odd combination of increased housing prices and fewer sales. While the median cost is at an all-time high of $177,000, sales have decreased by over 6%.

McAllen, Texas

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Stewart F. House/Getty Images
Stewart F. House/Getty Images

McAllen is one of the biggest cities in southern Texas. In 2020, Texas had more people moving in than any other state. But McAllen seems to be forgotten about. According to Movoto, houses are listed for 58 days on average, despite there only being around 280 for sale.

This could be due to increasing prices. In 2020, the median listing price was $216,00. By June 2021, this rose to $280,000. At least 9.8% of sellers end up decreasing their prices out of impatience.

Stamford, Connecticut

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Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin

Stamford, which sits on Long Island Sound in Connecticut, has over 4,000 homes for sale on average. Although sellers can find buyers, they might have to drastically lower their price. According to GOBankingRates, most sellers in 2020 listed their homes for around $805,000. Meanwhile, most sales were only $486,000.

At least 11% of sellers have to lower their listing prices, often drastically. The houses remained up for sale for an average of 77 days. Fortunately, this rate has lowered to 41 days in 2021.

Louisville, Kentucky

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Paul Chinn/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Paul Chinn/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

While some states have booming house markets post-pandemic, Kentucky does not have the same luck, especially for its major cities like Louisville. In June 2021, a HousingIQ survey found that homes are expected to stay on the market longer than before, at a minimum of 103 days.

There are several reasons for this. One is the rising prices; Louisville homes have jumped from $205,000 to $266,000 in the past few years. According to Spectrum News 1, most residents are buying houses in southern Kentucky. That leaves Louisville to struggle in the north.

Anaheim, California

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Bob Grieser/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Bob Grieser/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

You might recognize Anaheim for its Angels stadium and California Disneyland. Despite the attractions, few people can afford a house there. According to Manage Casa, housing prices continue to skyrocket while home ownership is lowering. The median sale price for a home is around $720,000, a new national high.

While selling decreases, rents increase. The reason is because of California’s extreme wage gap and familial wealth, according to KPCC. Most young people who want to buy a house in Anaheim borrow money from their family.