Home sales and prices still climbing around Puget Sound, but brokers expect slowdown
NWMLS Reports (Nov. 4, 2016) – Home sales around Western Washington outgained new listings again in October, fueling competition for scarce inventory and pushing prices higher. Some seasonal slowdown is still expected – and the Nov. 8 elections may be in play as well, according to brokers at Northwest Multiple Listing Service who commented on last month’s activity.
MLS members reported 9,950 pending sales during October, but they added only 7,591 new listings, the lowest number since January. A year-over-year comparison of pending sales shows there were 633 more mutually accepted offers last month than twelve months ago for a gain of 6.8 percent.
Closed sales improved even more, rising from the year-ago total of 7,769 completed transactions to last month’s volume of 8,554 (up 10.1 percent).
“While the stock market remains somewhat skittish regarding the upcoming presidential election, this feeling clearly has not transferred to the housing market,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “Unfortunately for buyers who were hoping to have more homes to choose from this fall, listings in October fell to levels we haven’t seen since the 1990s – and at this point, we probably won’t see any sizable increase in inventory until the spring at the earliest,” he added.
Active listings dropped more than 13 percent compared to a year ago, with further shrinkage expected. At month end there were 15,690 single family homes and condominiums offered for sale in the MLS system, which encompasses 23 counties. That’s 2,378 fewer than the year-ago total of 18,068, and 2,446 fewer than September. All but two counties (Clallam and Ferry) reported year-over-year decreases in inventory.
Overall, there was only 1.8 months of supply. King County had slightly more than one month (1.1), with several areas within that county reporting less than a month’s supply. In Snohomish County, where inventory plunged more than 20 percent from a year ago, there was with 1.3 months.
“The further we move into November, the more we’ll start feeling the typical seasonal drop when new listings coming on the market decline by 50 percent on a monthly basis compared to spring and summer months,” suggested J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. Buyers are still out there, he emphasized. “We’re heading into winter with a repeat of last year’s conditions: low inventory, a backlog of buyers, and historically low interest rates.” On the heels of the “best October on record” Scott predicts “a strong winter market where the inventory remains tight throughout the season.”
View the full press release
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 member offices includes more than 25,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.
Click on each report below to view an overview of the regional data:
© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.