A survey listing the nation’s top buyer’s and seller’s markets contains good news for military owners looking to part with property out West, and those service members, particularly sailors, hoping to buy a home on the East Coast.

Troops seeking to do the reverse may be in for a longer haul.

The Owners.com report, outlined by USA Today, judges more than prices in determining the market rankings. Other factors include the time properties spend on the market and how many houses are available in a given area. Still, the main factor is the average difference between list price and sale price for homes listed over a 12-month span ending Oct. 31.

The Seattle area ranks third on the top-seller list, behind San Francisco and San Jose. Homes went for about $5,500 above listing price, per the survey, and were on the market for an average of 64 days, compared with a national average of 96 days.

The market in King County, which includes downtown Seattle, is “out of control,” said Cassandra Rowley, a Realtor based in nearby Silverdale who spent six years as an enlisted sailor.

“A lot of people are getting priced out, so they move over here to the [Olympic] peninsula, which is an hour away on the ferry,” said Rowley, who works frequently with military families and first-time buyers. “It’s very convenient, and it’s super-affordable. So people are spending $400,000 here and getting five times the house they would over there.”

It’s also good news for military families who may be heading out of town and seeking renters. If they’re leaving a Navy installation in the Pacific Northwest to head east, they may be in even more luck.

Virginia Beach, Virginia, ranks second on the top-buyer list, behind only Chicago. Next comes Philadelphia, followed by Jacksonville, Florida, whose naval air station boasts 10,000 Defense Department personnel and about 34,000 family members.

Families heading to those areas may have their pick of the market, per the survey: Homes in Virginia Beach went for nearly $12,000 less than listing price and were on the market for an average of 104 days, while Jacksonville-area homes were $15,229 below list and on the market for 102 days. Those figures point to a large inventory for buyers ... but potential problems for motivated military sellers.

San Antonio sits eighth on the top-buyer list; the Texas city and Virginia Beach were 1-2 in this year’s Military Times Best Places to Live list of big cities.

Prepping for a move to one of these locations, or somewhere else? Get started in our VA Loan Center.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

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