Western Washington real estate brokers see early signs of “a more balanced market”
NWMLS Reports (August 4, 2016) – NWMLS Reports (Aug.4, 2016) – Home prices are still rising but the supply of homes is improving, prompting brokers to suggest some relief is in sight for would-be buyers. “We might actually be starting to move very slowly back toward a more balanced market,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, in commenting on July’s figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The MLS report summarizing last month’s activity shows active listings (including single family homes and condominiums) are at the highest level since September 2015 and the volume of new listings added to inventory topped the 12,000 marked for the third consecutive month.
With inventory shortages apparently easing in some areas, once-sidelined and frustrated house-hunters may be resuming their search, based on the latest statistics. Pending sales for the 23-county service area rose nearly 4 percent compared to a year ago, setting a new high for volume during July.
Member brokers reported 11,657 pending sales system-wide last month, a slight drop from June when they notched 11,995 mutually accepted offers. Despite that dip, the four-county Puget Sound region had its best-ever volume of pending sales for July (8,545), eclipsing last year’s record number (8,248).
“We are experiencing a record breaking market,” exclaimed J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott, Inc. “Last month was the best July in history in the Puget Sound real estate market. We’re in a frenzy hot market with a large backlog of buyers.” He credits improving inventory with spurring sales. “That additional inventory gave us the boost to not only be able to claim an all-time, best ever July, but to also position the last three months as the best in history for [pending] sales activity in the Puget Sound region.”
Some brokers, including MLS director Frank Wilson, expect the robust activity will slow in August as families focus on vacations and back-to-school preparations.
Brokers added 12,178 new listings to the selection during July, which compares to 11,198 additions during the same month a year ago for an improvement of nearly 8.8 percent. At month end, there were 18,287 active listings for sale versus the year-ago figure of 21,069. That represents a year-over-year drop of “only”
13.2 percent; it’s been hovering in the minus-20 ranges for most months since spring 2015.
King, Snohomish and Pierce counties still have less than two months of supply, with double-digit increases in prices compared to a year ago, prompting some buyers to expand their search to outlying areas.
The median price for last month’s 9,466 closed sales of single family homes and condos (combined) was
$350,000. That reflects a jump of 9.6 percent from a year ago when it was $319,250. Within the 23 counties in the report, the median price ranged from $57,950 in Ferry County to $505,000 in King County.
For single family homes (excluding condos), the area-wide median selling price was $358,150, a 9.2 percent gain from a year. King County had the highest median price for single family homes at $555,000. That’s a 14.4 percent year-over-year increase.
Condo prices for July surged 17.3 percent from a year ago, from $260,000 to $305,000. Inventory shortages persist, with less than 1.3 months of supply area wide, and less than a month (0.90) in King County.
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 North