February 2021 Housing Update for the Puget Sound

The Goelzer Home Team
The Goelzer Home Team
Published on February 25, 2021

Summary

  • More of the same… Low interest rates, coupled with extremely low inventory levels, continue to fuel competition for available homes, driving prices higher throughout the Puget Sound region.
  • The median closed price for residential homes and condos increased 14.3% from January 2020 year-over-year (YOY).
  • There is less than 0.75 months of inventory available throughout the region (King County at 0.92 months, Pierce County at 0.51 months, Mason and Kitsap at 0.62 and 0.61 respectively). At the current rate of sales, it would only take about 3 weeks to sell every home that is currently active in the NWMLS inventory.
  • There is currently 51% less inventory available for sale than this same time last year.
  • The good news… In January, there were 5.5% more NEW listings added than the same time last year.
  • Open Houses are becoming possible again as more counties move into phase 2 of COVID recovery.
  • Sellers… be cautious of companies or individuals promising cash and quick closes. In return, you most likely will be leaving behind a lot of your hard-earned home equity. When in doubt, please call us!

Details

Homebuyers who have been precluded from entering Puget Sound’s competitive market may want to consider condominiums as an option, according to industry experts who commented on the latest housing statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

Of 4,432 active listings in the MLS system at the end of January, about one of every four offerings (1,051 units, or around 23.7%) was a condo, with the remaining 76% (3,381 listings) being a single-family home. 

In King County, where 76% of available condo inventory is located, NWMLS data show prices range from $149,000 to $14,895,000, with a median asking price of $525,495. The median price for condos that sold in King County last month was $399,975; system-wide the median sales price was $359,950. 

Single family homes (excluding condos) had an area-wide median sales price of $509,950. That is $150,000 more than condos (nearly 42% higher). 

The NWMLS report covering 26 counties, shows a YOY increase in new listings of single-family homes and condos (up about 5.5%) and a jump of more than 16% in closed sales, rising from 5,074 transactions to 5,896. The median price for last month’s sales ($483,250) surged 14.3% from the year-ago figure of $422,750. Pending sales grew slightly from last year (less than 1%) but were up 7.4% from December. 

James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington, said the search for value in outer areas has continued unabated, despite further lockdowns in January. “It is difficult to think of the last time when nearly every Western Washington county with the exception of Clallam, King and Jefferson had double-digit percentage price growth,” he remarked. 

This year’s “extraordinarily low inventory” (down 43% overall) suggests continued price growth into the spring as demand remains high and interest rates remain low, according to Young. “It is somewhat of a ‘prisoner’s dilemma’ for the housing market in Western Washington,” Young commented. “Those who own do not want to sell because there is little inventory to buy. They will stay put. Those who want to buy (and get on the housing ladder) cannot get into the market because there is little available for sale.” 

Kitsap County, where inventory is down 42% from a year ago, is experiencing pent-up demand from buyers that want to move there or convert from being a renter. As a result, prices continue to creep up, rising more than 10% from a year ago.

Open Houses are becoming possible again. With the major counties moving into Phase 2, open houses are approved to resume with up to 10 visitors, socially distanced (including the broker).

Let us know how we can help you achieve Your real estate WantsNeeds, and Dreams!

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

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