June 2016 Seattle Area Housing Report

Market showing signs of adjusting, but buyers still see double-edged sword

NWMLS Reports (July 6, 2016) – Home sales around Western Washington continued at a torrid pace during June, but a 10 percent year-over-year increase in new listings has some brokers with Northwest Multiple Listing Service suggesting a little relief may be emerging.

In the meantime, “We have a long way to go to catch up with the demand,” stated Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain. Citing reports of projected job growth in the region (pegged at 70,000 new employees) but only 8,000 new residential units in the same forecast, he said this imbalance is rippling to outlying counties. Inventory is now shrinking at a greater rate in some of the outlying counties than in the tri-county area of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Pending sales in some of these areas sales are rising at a faster clip, noted Grady, a past chairman of the MLS board. “It’s as if the splash in the center of Seattle’s pond is finally making ripples to the outlying counties,” he concluded.

Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott, Inc., described the market as “frenzy hot” in June, but suggested there was a “short breath of fresh air for homebuyers.” He credits the combination of more inventory coming on the market and lower interest rates with bringing some “welcome relief to the backlog of buyers who have been waiting to purchase a home.”




In the short term, activity continues at a brisk pace, and now Brexit (Britain’s vote to exit the European Union) may contribute to an uptick in home sales, according to some brokers and industry-watchers.

“Demand for U.S. real estate could rise,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®. He attributes uncertainty before the Brexit vote as the likely reason the Federal Reserve decided not to raise interest rates in June and said the U.S. could face an influx of foreign buyers looking to pull out of the U.K.

Windermere president O B Jacobi agreed the U.S. housing market could end up benefitting from Brexit. “Uncertain economic times almost always lead to a ‘flight to safety,’ which means global capital pouring into the United States bond market at an aggressive rate. This ultimately drives down mortgage rates and makes it cheaper for home buyers to borrow money,” he stated.

On the flip side, Jacobi acknowledged in markets like Seattle this could also cause housing affordability to take another hit. “Lower interest rates will likely draw more buyers into the market, compounding already competitive conditions, and driving up home prices even further,” he noted.

“While the world is watching Brexit, oil prices and political theatrics, the average American still needs to transfer, take a new job, receive orders to a new duty station, move to a smaller or one-level home, or purchase a bigger home to accommodate growing family needs,” Wilson remarked, adding, “We continue to see good traffic at open houses, multiple offers on correctly priced homes, and people excited about the next phase of life that a new home brings.”

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.


View the full June 2016 Report by neighborhood

Individual Reports

West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
North Seattle
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Renton Highlands


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Seattle Metro
King County
Mercer Island

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by  NWMLS.