November 2020 Housing Update for Puget Sound

The Goelzer Home Team
The Goelzer Home Team
Published on November 24, 2020

Summary

  • Interest rates remain at all-time lows and it’s still a great time to buy if you can find the right home. If you’d to be alerted when a home that matches your criteria hits the market, please let us know.
  • If you are staying put, we recommend looking into your refinancing options as a way of saving money on your monthly mortgage or paying your mortgage off sooner… and sometimes both! Let us know if we can introduce you to a few great lenders.
  • Inventory continues to be a challenge, averaging less than one month throughout the Puget Sound region. Kitsap county had just above 2 weeks of inventory in October.
  • Despite the limited inventory, buyers are still looking for move-in ready homes, priced at market value. If you would like a referral to finish up any of your home improvement projects, please let us know. We work with a lot of fantastic vendors who can help.
  • The median home price (including single family and condos) is up 19% year over year.
  • COVID restrictions are in place, limiting showings to no more than 5 people in a house at the same time (all wearing masks). Open houses are once again prohibited.

Details

The Northwest MLS report recapping October activity showed a 40% drop in active listings compared to the same month a year ago, an increase of 16% in pending sales (mutually accepted offers), and a year-over-year (YOY) jump of nearly 30% in closed sales. The median price of single-family homes and condominiums that sold last month was $500,000, up 19% from the same period a year ago, according to the MLS summary, which encompasses 23 counties, mostly in Western and Central Washington. 

Interest rates continue to be super attractive, well below 3% for certain loan types.

NWMLS members added 10,428 new listings to the supply during the month, improving on the year-ago total of 8,394 for a gain of 24%. In keeping with the pattern of previous months, October’s 11,039 pending sales surpassed the number of new listings. 

The MLS reported 7,934 pending sales for the four-county region. A comparison of October pending sales dating to 2002 shows the previous high of 7,740 occurred in 2017. 

Inventory continues to be the biggest challenge right now. In a balanced market, 4-6 months of inventory is the norm.  Currently in 14 counties, including the King / Pierce / Snohomish region, there is less than one month of supply…Just not enough houses to support the demand from buyers.

According to the latest MLS report, the median priced single family home (excluding condos) that sold in Snohomish County last month was about $165,000 (about 28.5%) less than the figure for King County ($579,972 vs. $745,000). 

Area-wide the median price for last month’s sales of single family homes (excluding condos) was $515,000, a 20.2% jump from a year ago. For single family homes and condos combined, prices rose by double digits in 21 of the 23 counties in the MLS market area. The highest median prices for homes and condos that sold last month were in San Juan County at $705,000 and in King County at $685,000. Those two counties also had the highest median prices for single family homes (excluding condos). In San Juan County the price was $753,250, while in King County it was $745,000. 

Last month, NWMLS brokers notched 1,004 sales priced at $1 million or more in the tri-county area of King, Kitsap, and Snohomish. That volume easily surpassed the previous high of 553 luxury sales in 2019. 

Buyers are beginning to leave larger cities as more and more jobs can be done remotely. Northwest MLS data show Kitsap county has only about two weeks of supply (0.57), with inventory plummeting more than 41% from a year ago. 

With such limited inventory, buyers must be prepared when entering the marketplace and ensure they are pre-approved or better yet, underwritten, with funds available to escalate or support low appraisals. 

Condo shoppers are less pressured in some parts of the market. System-wide, inventory is up about 5.4% compared to twelve months ago, aided in part by the addition of 1,589 new listings during the month – a healthy 37.6% YOY improvement. At month end there was about 1.5 months of supply.

Pending sales of condos jumped nearly 35%, while area-wide closings nearly doubled from a year ago, rising from 950 transactions to 1,414. Prices were up slightly more than 14%. The overall median price on last month’s sales was $395,000. In King County, which accounted for nearly six of every 10 sales (58.7%), the median price was $459,970, which reflects a 19.5% increase from this time a year ago.

Please let us know how we at The Goelzer Home Team can help you achieve your real estate Want’s, Need’s, and Dream’s!

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

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