December 2021 Housing Update for the Puget Sound

The Goelzer Home Team
Published on December 16, 2021

Summary

  • Prices Continue To Increase, But Not As Fast: While prices have increased significantly year-over-year, the overall market is tending to slow a bit. This doesn’t mean home prices have stopped going up. It just means that the rate of the price increases is slowing down a bit.
  • Even Less Inventory: We’re down to about 2 weeks of inventory throughout the Puget Sound Region, with even less in Pierce, King, Thurston, Clark, and Snohomish counties.
  • Interest Rates Will Be Increasing in 2022: Low interest rates are still available but based on the recent news from the Federal Reserve, it is looking like interest rates will be increasing multiple times throughout 2022. Buyers, be prepared, as this may have an impact on your borrowing limits.
  • Good News Sellers… Buyer’s Remain Active: If you are thinking of selling, it’s a great time. Demand for homes remains high for move-in-ready homes. In addition, it’s looking like the upcoming state capital gains increase will not include the sale of real property… good news.
  • Buyers Need To Remain Competitive: Have that pre-approval from your lender/mortgage broker complete prior to starting your search. And when making your offer, put together the cleanest offer possible. There are lots of options here, so be sure to ask your real estate broker the best approach for you and the home you are making your offer on.

Details

Historically soggy weather and the onset of holidays did not deter thousands of buyers and sellers during November, based on the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Numbers for new listings, pending sales, and closed sales were comparable to year-ago totals, while prices rose a little more than 15%.

Northwest MLS figures show 8,571 pending sales across 26 counties last month, nearly matching the year-ago total of 8,584 mutually accepted offers. The 8,976 closed sales marked a slight improvement on twelve months ago when MLS members tallied 8,875 completed transactions (up 1.14%).

Twenty of the 26 counties in the NWMLS report added more new listings during November than a year ago, but with demand outstripping supply, inventory was meager in many areas.

Area-wide, there were 4,621 active listings of single-family homes and condominiums at month-end, down nearly 29% from a year ago when there were 6,505 listings. The selection at month-end amounted to about two weeks of supply (0.51 months). Five counties had even less supply: Snohomish (0.24 months), Thurston (0.35) King (0.38 months), Clark (0.39), and Pierce (0.44 months).

The Northwest MLS report shows prices within Seattle are essentially the same as a year ago: $765,000 for November’s closed sales, compared to the year-ago figure of $760,000. Elsewhere, for example, for the Eastside and Southeast King County map areas, prices jumped more than 26% from a year ago.

Brokers in Kitsap County described the market there as “fast-moving” with buyers vying for the limited inventory (slightly more than two weeks of supply).

MLS figures show the median price in Kitsap County, at $500,000, is about two-thirds of the median price in King County ($740,000).

Looking at other areas, James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington, believes “the normal seasonal effects have taken hold,” but pointed to Skagit and Whatcom counties, and other areas along the I-5 corridor as areas where the “main price action” is still occurring.

“The return to these suburban areas seems to continue unabated as first-time buyers seek value and those seeking a more relaxed lifestyle are taking advantage of low interest rates,” said Young. He singled out Skagit and Whatcom counties for their large price increases, at 21.2% and 26.5%, respectively. “This may be in part due to the border reopening and possible pent-up demand from Canadian buyers.”

Note also that there have been recent adjustments in Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) limits for conforming loans (mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac), which included a record 18% jump in most markets, but also an increase from $776,250 to $891,250 in the higher-cost tri-county area encompassing King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. 

Whether buying, selling, or investing, be sure to leverage the experience and expertise of our trusted real estate team, The Goelzer Home Team. Let us know how we can help you achieve your real estate Wants, Needs, and Dreams!

Data

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

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