March 2021 Housing Update for the Puget Sound

The Goelzer Home Team
The Goelzer Home Team
Published on March 20, 2021

Summary

  • The overall housing market continues to be competitive with limited inventory and interest rates continuing to hover around 3%.
  • Median closed price for residential homes and condos increased 15% from February 2020 (YoY)
  • For residential housing (excludes condos), there is only a 0.67-month supply of inventory available throughout the region. Including condos, it increases to about three weeks of supply.
  • Open houses are back as more counties move to Phase 3 of COVID recovery. Remember, it’s up to the seller whether an open house is held or not – it’s your call. 
  • Sellers should be cautious of companies or individuals promising cash and quick closes. In return, you most likely will be leaving behind a lot of your home equity to these opportunistic buyers and/or companies. If you want to ensure it is You who gets the best return on your sale, please give us a call.
  • As spring arrives, more homes will be coming on the market for buyers. Have faith, be ready, be pre-approved (or underwritten), and be well informed of the options and strategies available to have the best chance of finding and closing on your new home. Need an expert? Just give us a call.

Details

Housing activity during February remained hot around much of Washington state despite significant accumulation of lowland snow over the Valentine’s Day weekend, according to the latest statistical report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

Northwest MLS figures show brokers added a similar number of new listings of single-family homes and condos last month (7,418) as a year ago (7,786), for a difference of 368 properties (down 4.7%). For residential units (excluding condos), there was a 6.8% year-over-year (YOY) drop. Total active listings of single-family homes declined nearly 44% from a year ago. The selection of single-family homes fell more than 51% while condo inventory rose 7.9%. 

“A decline in listing volume this year should not surprise anyone,” remarked James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington. 

There are only about three weeks of supply (0.74 months) of inventory in the MLS database, which covers 26 counties. For residential only (excluding condos), the shortage is more pronounced at only 0.67 months’ supply. Condominium shoppers will find somewhat more selection, with inventory up 7.93% from a year ago, and more than a month of supply (1.12 months).

Nearly six of every 10 pending sales of condos took place in King County last month, according to the Northwest MLS report. Pending activity nearly match the year ago totals for that county (716 versus 720). Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) were up sharply in several Seattle neighborhoods, including Queen Anne (48.8%), West Seattle (42.1%), and Ballard/Green Lake (32.5%). Even the Downtown/Belltown area registered an uptick (4.8%). 

For the tri-county area encompassing King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, the MLS report shows there were 4,896 pending sales in January and 5,232 sales in February for a month-to-month gain of 6.9%. 

Freddie Mac reported an average rate of 3.02% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the week ending March 4. That’s up five basis points from the previous week, and the first time since July 2020 that the benchmark mortgage rate climbed above 3%. Despite rates edging up and inclement weather during much of February, eight counties in the Northwest MLS report showed year-over-year gains in pending sales: Adams, Douglas, Grant, Kitsap, Lewis, Pacific, San Juan, and Walla Walla. 

System-wide, there were 7,724 pending sales in February, a YOY drop of 7.5%, but compared to January when brokers reported 7,394 sales, the pending volume increased 4.5%. 

Of the 30 neighborhood areas the MLS tracks within King County, thirteen of them showed year-over-year increases in pending sales. 

Northwest MLS member-brokers reported 5,812 closed sales during February for a 10.4% increase over the year-ago total of 5,265 closings. The median price on last month’s completed sales jumped more than 15% from a year ago, increasing from $445,000 to $512,000. Twenty of the 26 counties in the report showed double-digit YOY price gains. 

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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