SAN FRANCISCO-Those who follow @GlobeStcom on Twitter and @GlobeStLIVE may have seen a post teasing the announcement, but GlobeSt.com has learned that San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento top Zillow‘s ranking of “seller’s markets.” Potential home sellers in many Western metro areas, including the Bay Area, Las Vegas and Phoenix, are well-positioned to take advantage of locally strong demand and are likely to have the upper hand in negotiations when selling their homes, according to the latest Seattle-based Zillow ranking of national buyers’ and sellers’ markets.

Zillow analyzed data on actual sales prices compared to asking prices, the number of days listings spent on Zillow and the percentage of homes on the market with a price cut, and ranked the 30 largest metro areas in the country to determine whether buyers or sellers have more negotiating power in a given market. In this analysis, a sellers’ market is not necessarily one where home values are rising, but rather one in which homes are on the market for a shorter time, price cuts occur less frequently and homes are sold at prices very close to (or greater than) their last listing price, says a prepared statement.

“As most housing markets continue to improve nationwide, the relative position of buyers and sellers continues to vary considerably by geography,” says Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries. “In some markets, buyers are finding themselves in strong bargaining positions relative to sellers, confidently offering less than the asking price on a home they had months to consider. In other areas, it’s sellers that are squarely in the driver’s seat with their homes selling within days of listing, often after bidding wars that increase the sale price above the asking price.”

According to Humphries, “Many of the strongest sellers’ markets are in areas that were hardest hit by the housing bust, places like California, Nevada and Arizona, which may seem counter-intuitive. But much of that strength is driven by investor interest, as many distressed and non-distressed homes are purchased and transformed into rentals. This investor activity is contributing to very low inventory levels, which increases demand and helps drive up prices, particularly for less expensive homes in these markets.”