August 2020 Housing Update for Western Washington

The Goelzer Home Team
The Goelzer Home Team
Published on August 21, 2020

The Summary

  • Inventory levels remain near their lowest levels in the past decade, now at 1.04 months of inventory on average, with many counties well below a month of available homes.
  • Median home prices throughout the Puget Sound Region rose 13.6% year over year.
  • Homes priced below or at market value are seeing multiple offers. Those homes priced aggressively, above market, remain on the market for much longer, often receiving lower prices or remain unsold.
  • Win-Win. Low inventory levels continue to push prices upward for sellers while historically low interest rates are allowing buyers more purchasing power/affordability of higher-priced homes.
  • If you are thinking of moving, now’s a great time… just be patient, pre-approved, and be prepared to sell your home first. Buyers making contingent offers who are competing with buyers ready to move (no home to sell) are at a slight disadvantage.
  • If you are thinking of selling, we’d love to help. Doing the right things up front can increase your overall net proceeds and ease the process of selling significantly. Give us a call!

The Details

The Northwest MLS report for July, which covers 23 counties in Washington state, shows brokers added 12,514 new listings during July, up from the year-ago total of 11,193 for a gain of 11.8%.

Pending sales jumped nearly 14%, while inventory remained well below year-ago levels (down about 39%). Measured by months of inventory, the system-wide supply slipped to about a month (1.04 months).

MLS member-brokers reported 9,840 closed sales during July, up slightly more than 3% from a year ago and the highest volume since June 2018 when they notched 10,072 completed transactions.

MLS member-brokers reported 9,840 closed sales during July, up slightly more than 3% from a year ago and the highest volume since June 2018 when they notched 10,072 completed transactions. Overall prices on those sales, which include single family homes and condominiums, jumped 12.8% from twelve months ago, rising from $429,900 to $484,995. Prices on single family homes (excluding condos) surged 13.6% (to $499,950), while year-over-year (YOY) condo prices rose about 8.6% (to $380,000).

An unprecedented eight counties in the NWMLS report had less than one month’s supply of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of July. They included Clark, Cowlitz, Island, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston.

We continue to see buyers looking outside major city centers and accepting potentially longer commutes; although not an issue currently due to many companies continuing to allow employees to work from home.

Economist Gardner suggested the double-digit home price growth in Pierce County “might point to the theory that there’s a COVID-induced flight from more urban markets,” adding, “This also supports my forecast that home prices in Pierce County in 2020 will rise a significant 10.6% compared to 2019.”

Median prices area-wide rose 12.8% from a year ago, with only two counties (Jefferson and Pacific) reporting small declines. Fourteen of the 23 counties in the report had double-digit price increases.

Gardner predicts 2020 home prices will rise by 5.4% in King County and 5.8% in Snohomish County compared to 2019 due to the continued shortage of homes for sale and market demand. King County continues to have the highest median price for homes and condos at $670,000 (up 7.2% from a year ago), but a look at that county’s 29 map areas covered in the report shows price changes ranging from an increase of 21.6% in North Seattle to a 17.4% decrease in the Bellevue area west of I405.

And that’s the latest housing market update. Let us know how we can help you achieve your real estate Wants, Needs, and Dreams!

*Information and statistics compiled and reported by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

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