Brokers report brisk activity as we head deeper into December. Indeed, with inventory levels at incredibly low numbers, many sellers decided to take advantage of a rare busy late fall market and we saw a flurry of listings come to market between Nov. 1st and 18th. Buyers jumped on the new inventory creating a very busy November for pending sales.
With all the added inventory (and more) snatched out of the active listing pool, December pickings are few and far between. With fewer buyers searching for homes in December, diligent buyers can use this time to potentially negotiate more favorable pricing on the homes remaining on the market. This can also be a great time of year for buyers with less competitive offer terms (ie. aren’t paying all cash, pre-inspecting or giving up their first born) to compete in ultra-competitive segments.
PENDING SALES STILL UP DESPITE MARKET UNCERTAINTY
Proposed tax changes that could affect homeowners and the typical fall slowdown has done little to stem the pending sales activity in the red-hot Seattle-Eastside market. While every neighborhood and price point is its own little island, a quick look through October’s activity shows most segments still favoring sellers as we head into November.
As smoke and ash blanketed parts of Washington state, one real estate broker noted, “Even in a fire there are some cooler spots, and seasonally, the housing market is in a cooler spot.” The latest numbers from Northwest Multiple Listing Service show there are both cooler spots and hot spots, with the demand for housing and prices showing few signs of being extinguished.
SUMMER DOLDRUMS FOR HOME SALES “NOT HAPPENING” AROUND WESTERN WASHINGTON KIRKLAND, Washington (Aug. 7, 2017) – New figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service indicate home sales and prices, like July’s temperatures, sizzled. Prices area-wide rose slightly more than 9 percent from a year ago, but several counties near job centers saw larger price increases, including King County where the median price jumped 18.6 percent. The latest report confirmed what most buyers and brokers know: inventory shortages persist even though MLS members added slightly more new listings last month than the same period a year ago.
KIRKLAND, Washington (July 6, 2017) – For frustrated house hunters, there’s hope: the volume of new listings added to inventory during June (13,658) was the highest total for any single month since May 2008 (14,176 new listings), according to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
“This time of year, we see more new listings coming on the market than pending sales, and June didn’t disappoint,” stated J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott.
Noting the pace of sales is slowing and the number of multiple offers is moderating, broker Gary O’Leyar suggested a summer breather is under way (as anticipated), which could yield “the season for a successful purchase” for weary shoppers. O’Leyar, the designated broker/owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, said this mid-summer real estate market “seems to be following a fairly typical seasonal cycle” even though inventory is significantly lower than a year ago.
KIRKLAND, Washington (June 6, 2017) – Would-be buyers who have been shut out of the real estate market should test the “real estate waters” during the summer months suggests one industry leader.
“Summer might provide some competitive relief for weary buyers,” said Gary O’Leyar, owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, pointing to some of the newly-released statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service as indicators.
Noting that the trend of multiple offers is still prevalent in the Seattle market, O’Leyar stressed that’s not always the case in areas outside the immediate Seattle area. In fact, he added, the market may “cool off” a bit during summer months as weary buyers find vacations and recreational pursuits more alluring than being in competitive bidding situations.
“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.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service brokers expected an uptick in the number of new listings during March, and that expectation was met with a significant gain – up more than 50 percent from February. Members added 10,321 new listings last month, but they also reported an even greater number of pending sales (10,447), leaving inventory near historic lows.
Home buyers are in a spring mood, but sellers are still hibernating, suggested one broker while commenting about the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Figures for February and feedback from brokers indicate record-low inventory is spurring multiple offers, rising prices, fewer sales, and frustrated house-hunters.
Western Washington’s “high velocity” market continued during January with the number of pending sales (7,745) outgaining the number of new listings (6,507), according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Like many other months of 2016, December was frustrating for buyers across Washington state as they encountered depleted inventory and rising prices. Post-election hikes in interest rates – with more on the horizon — added to would-be homeowners’ worries.
Pending sales of homes hit an all-time high for the month of November according to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The report covering 23 counties around Washington state also shows the number of new listings added during the month plunged to the lowest level in 11 months, prompting MLS leaders to predict a busy winter for residential real estate as buyers compete for the smallest inventory since March.
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.
It’s still a seller’s market, but some leaders from Northwest Multiple Listing Service think the imbalance may be easing in some areas, pointing to a slower pace of sales and moderating prices. Others aren’t convinced, citing mixed indicators.
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.
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.
Just as expected, the month of May had an uptick in new listings (12,272), but just as many buyers (12,275) made offers on homes during the month to keep inventory depleted, according to the latest figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
April brought extreme price increases and bidding wars on the hottest properties and price ranges throughout the Seattle region. Some of those recorded sale prices are simply jaw-dropping. Those homes closest to core locations with neighborhood amenities and walkability are continuing to command the highest buyer interest. More sellers, seeing opportunity on the horizon, have begun to list their properties for sale. This flow of new inventory has given buyers new options and, as a result, buyers are passing on less desirable homes (requiring significant work, in a challenging location, or overpriced) in favor of those that offer more of what they want (turn-key, protected location/non-busy road, and well-priced).
March was a month of competitive bidding wars if there ever was one. All but West Bellevue had average sale prices coming in at well above listed prices, 1-3% higher to be exact. And, if you were thinking about buying in the Ballard-Greenlake area, prepare to pay about 8% above the listed sale price according to the latest data released for the Month of March. Not far behind were South Seattle at 6%, North Seattle at 5%, and West Seattle at 4% above their respective average list prices. Oh and to be sure, there are no bargain prices in West Bellevue to be had—it’s just that at an average sale price of $1.8 million one can find a little wiggle room.
Depleted inventory is contributing to “overwhelming” traffic at open houses, shifts in strategies for both buyers and sellers, and escalating prices, according to officials with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.