September 2020 Housing Update for the Puget Sound

The Goelzer Home Team
The Goelzer Home Team
Published on September 28, 2020

The Summary

  • Inventory levels remain near their lowest levels in the past two decades, now below 1 month (0.97) of inventory on average.
  • Pending sales have surged nearly 25% from a year ago, rising from 10,602 mutually accepted offers to last month’s total of 13,224.
  • Throughout the Puget Sound Region, year-over-year (YOY) prices have jumped 17%.
  • Buyers should come prepared with a pre-approval, or better yet, be fully underwritten by their lender.
  • Buyers winning offers are often including pre-inspections or waiving inspections, coming in with non-contingent offers (their previous home is already sold or pending) and supporting potential low appraisals via increased down-payment (if needed).
  • Sellers still want to have their home in top condition; as move-in ready as possible, including clean curb appeal, appropriate staging and priced right.
  • On average, we are seeing longer closing times on transactions due to a combination of refinances and new purchases in the lending, appraisal, and underwriting processes.
  • If you are thinking of selling, now is a perfect time. Doing the right things up front can save you time, money, increase your overall net proceeds, and ease the process of selling significantly. This is what we do best. Give us a call!

The Details

Due to continued low interest rates, homebuyers have more buying power, but this is coupled with more competition for minimal levels of housing inventory.

The August report from Northwest MLS, which covers 23 counties, shows pending sales surged nearly 25% from a year ago, rising from 10,602 mutually accepted offers to last month’s total of 13,224. Within the four-county Puget Sound region encompassing King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, brokers reported 9,179 pending sales. A review of MLS records dating to January 2002 shows that volume was surpassed only once, in May 2017 when brokers notched 9,188 pending sales.

Brokers added 11,943 new listings to inventory during August, down from July, when they listed 12,514 homes and condominiums, but up from the 10,488 properties they listed during the same month a year ago.

At the end of August, the Northwest MLS database included 9,591 total active listings, down almost 43% from a year ago when the selection totaled 16,697 listings. With pending sales (13,224) outpacing new listings (11,943), the months of inventory continues to shrink. Area-wide there is less than one month of inventory (0.97). Nine counties had under a month’s supply. Four-to-six months is a common indicator of a balanced market, according to industry experts.

With an insufficient supply, prices are appreciating at double-digit rates in most counties in the NWMLS report. Systemwide, for last month’s closed sales, prices increased nearly 14% compared with a year ago. Member-brokers reported 9,847 closed sales, up more than 4.8% from a year ago. That volume was the highest since June 2018 when there were 10,072 completed transactions. In the four-county Puget Sound region year-over-year (YOY) prices jumped 17%, from $500,000 to $585,000. Commenting on prices, James Young, director at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, noted prices all along the I-5 corridor and the Puget Sound increased by double digits.

NWMLS reports show San Juan County experienced the most notable spike at 43.6%. Island County prices increased nearly 22% from twelve months ago. Also noteworthy was Jefferson County where YOY prices jumped 27.9%.

Based on current low inventory levels and continued low interest rates, the real estate market looks to continue to be strong for the foreseeable future, into 2021.

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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