- Seasonal Slowing: It’s that time of year in the northwest where we see slight changes in both inventory availability and buyer activity. This is due to the ending of summer breaks, back to school, job changes, and the start of fall sports/activities. As result, we have about 3 weeks of housing inventory right now, up from the 2 weeks of inventory we had during the peak summer sales season.
- Prices are Leveling Off: With additional inventory coming on the market and prices nearing ceilings, it’s looking like there’s a bit of an adjustment with fewer multiple offers and more price reductions than previous months. Homes are staying on the market just a bit longer as we head into the fall season.
- Interest Rates Continue to be Exceptional: Ongoing low interest rates continue to help buyers but uncertainty exists in how long the low interest rates will continue. Current rates can be found well below 3%… which is amazing.
- A Better Time to Buy… Right Now: With increased inventory and historically low interest rates, if you’re looking to move this year, now may be the time. Sellers are lowering prices and are negotiating on inspections. This is great news for buyers.
- When Selling, Price It Right: We are seeing more price reductions than anytime over the past few years. Prices month over month have decreased by about $10,000 on average. It’s key that if you’re selling your home right now, price it right the first time. Homes priced correctly are selling quickly and still often receiving multiple offers.
August typically brings a dip in housing activity and this year was no different, according to representatives from Northwest Multiple Listing Service when commenting on newly-released statistics. Figures comparing July to August show month-to-month drops in new listings, total inventory, pending sales, close sales, and median prices.
NWMLS statistics show the volume of new listings added during August, including single-family homes and condominiums, declined from both July (down 11.5%) and twelve months ago (down 4.2%). Total inventory for the 26 counties in the report also fell, shrinking about 6.6% from July and nearly 22.6% from a year ago. At month-end, there were 7,425 active listings, down from the year-ago total of 9,591.
Prices showed signs of moderating during August. The median price on the 10,571 sales that closed last month was $579,000, a drop of $10,000 from July. Prices did rise compared to 12 months ago, climbing from $490,000 for an increase of about 18.2%. That year-over-year (YOY) percentage change was the smallest since February when there was a bump-up of about 15%.
Northwest MLS figures show the median list price system-wide for single-family homes and condos combined, was unchanged, at $605,000, from July to August. The asking price fell from July to August in about half the counties in the report.
Northwest MLS figures indicate there was around three weeks of inventory (0.70 months) at the end of August. Clark, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston counties had only about three weeks of inventory, with Snohomish reporting the smallest supply (0.49 months), about two weeks.
Commenting on inventory, James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington, said gains in total active inventory in several counties were mostly consistent with patterns observed all year, notably in the suburbs, the seaside, and the Olympic Peninsula. “It is not just a return to the suburbs, it is a continued return to the country as people continue to work from home.”
Several counties experienced year-over-year increases in inventory, including Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grays Harbor, Island, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Okanogan, and Thurston.
In about half the counties, the number of new listings outgained the number of pending sales. For all counties combined, last month’s total number pending sales (12,238) surpassed the number of new listings (11,437), a margin of 801 units.
Condo closed sales were up more than 10% from a year ago, with King County sales jumping 19.9%.
Luxury home sales continue to exceed expectations. According to Northwest MLS statistics, nearly 15% of this year’s sales (through August) commanded prices of $1 million or more.
The year-to-date total of 10,237 sales that have fetched $1 million-plus eclipses the totals for all of 2020 when there were 8,898 such sales, as well as the entire year of 2019, when members notched a total of 6,711 sales over a million dollars.
Whether buying or selling, as competitive as the current housing market is, be sure to leverage the expertise of a trusted real estate team, The Goelzer Home Team.
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