“The real estate market is going absolutely gangbusters,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “The remarkably low number of homes for sale can be blamed for the drop in sales,” he emphasized, adding, “The uptick in interest rates at the end of last year has clearly done nothing to slow things down.”

Inventory fell nearly 25 percent from the volume of active listings being offered a year ago. At the end of April, MLS brokers reported 10,679 homes and condos for sale across a 23-county area, which compares to the year-ago selection of 14,235 listings.

Viewed another way, there is only about 1.5 months of supply (about six weeks), which compares to twelve months ago when supply totaled about 1.85 months. (In general, four-to-six months is considered a balanced market.) There has not been more than two months of supply since September 2016.

MLS members continue to struggle to keep pace with demand. Brokers added 10,648 new listings to their database last month, down from 11,939 during April 2016, and they reported 10,514 pending sales. That total was down 893 transactions for a drop of year-over-year drop of 7.8 percent.

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April 28th Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Wow, just WOW! Buyers embraced the market in force following last week’s flood of new listings. Prepared to waive everything and give sellers added perks as icing on the cake in hopes of being the lucky bid winner of the home of their dreams, buyers are making some incredulous choices.
Good news for sellers as it pushes the real estate market to new highs. Not so good news for buyers who aren’t willing to give their blood to compete. As for Realtors, we prefer a more balanced market where everyone wins.

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Listing supply dwindled with little new listing activity in the Seattle area this Spring Break week. The rain dance worked though! Look for many new listings to come on beginning next week as we enter the peak of the listing season. Photographers, home stagers and other pros tell us they are helping prepare more listings for market in the next two weeks than they’ve seen all year. This will be most welcome news for home buyers everywhere.

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The communities of Richmond Beach-Shoreline and Lake Forest Park-Kenmore were on fire in Q1. Their Median Sale Prices were up 18.9% and 24.7%, respectively, over Q1 2016. Representing an affordable region north of Seattle with many local amenities and a reasonable commute, it’s no wonder this area has been favored by local home buyers. Accessible to downtown without tolls, these neighborhoods are also an attractive alternative to communities located further out on the Eastside. North Seattle, while still a very popular region, showed the smallest gain—but of note is that it falls on the heels of exponential growth in 2016 and some moderation in its gains are a good sign of a healthy real estate market.

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News of substantial expected mortgage interest rate increases in 2017 may motivate buyers further to purchase while rates are low. Every 1% increase in interest rates equates to about a 10% reduction in purchasing price for the same monthly payment. So if you purchased a $600,000 home at 3.5% interest it would be about the same monthly payment as a $540,000 home at 4.5% interest.

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Increased pending sales have further diminished the supply of homes for sale-leaving slim pickings for buyers-especially at price points below $1 million in core metro neighborhoods of Seattle and all of Bellevue. Word on the street among local realtors is that many new listings are coming to market next week. While very welcome news to the ravished home shoppers out there, it falls desperately short of the inventory needed in the market to keep us from teetering into the abyss of an unsustainable seller’s market.

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Pondering a remodel? Did you know some projects actually pay for themselves when it’s time to sell? Remodeling Magazine just released its 30th annual Cost vs. Value report, which provides a detailed analysis into how much popular remodeling projects cost—and the value they add to your home—in various regions across the county. Thanks to our robust housing market, the Pacific Region beat the national average for recoup on every single project.

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