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KIRKLAND, Washington (February 5, 2018) – “The Seattle area real estate market hasn’t skipped a beat with pent-up demand from buyers is stronger than ever,” remarked broker John Deely in reacting to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The Real Estate industry has been reporting that the greater Puget Sound region continues to have very strong market activity even during periods of typical seasonal slowdowns. 

It appears that there are homeowners who did their market research and listed their homes ahead of the spring selling season. This gave way to member brokers of Northwest MLS being able to add new listings of single-family homes and condominiums to the system-wide database last month. The result: the number of listings in King County outgained pending sales for the first time since September 2017. 

Some Quick Facts and Figures:

  • King, Kitsap, and Snohomish reported fewer pending sales than a year ago. In King County, where acute inventory shortages exist in many neighborhoods, pending sales dropped 7.5 percent and closings dropped 18.5 percent.
  • "The decline in sales last month can't be blamed on the holidays, weather, or football. It's simply due to the ongoing shortage of housing that continues to plague markets throughout Western Washington," said OB Jacobi, the president of Windermere Real Estate.
  • Condo inventory is especially tight in Snohomish County (0.8 months of supply) and King County (0.92 months).
  • With January's additions, the number of total active listings at month end stood at 8,037 homes and condos, down nearly 17.6 percent from a year ago when the selection totaled 9,750 listings. Measured by months of supply, there were only about 1.5 months overall, well below the 4-to-6 month level, many industry experts use as a gauge of a balanced market.
  • Within the four-county Puget Sound region, King County had the largest year-over-year gain in price range. Prices for homes and condos combined shot up 20.3 percent in that county, rising from $475,000 to $571,250. Pierce County reported a jump of 15 percent, followed by Snohomish County at about 12.2 percent and Kitsap County at nearly 3.5 percent.

*Source Info: NWMLS February Market Update


 


A Golden Opportunity For Sellers

"Sellers that have put their properties on the market early this year have less competition and are seeing multiple offers. Open houses are experiencing heavy traffic with hundreds of potential buyers attending," reported Deely.

There are reports of all types of listings getting multiple-offers plus a virtually sold out market in all price ranges close to job centers and in more affordable and mid-price ranges in surrounding counties. Those who have heeded the call to list earlier than the spring selling season found that they have received premium pricing because home buyers are pouncing on each new listing. 

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How is This Relevant to You as a Buyer?

While all the reports pertaining to price increases may paint a bleak picture especially if you are a first-time home buyer, it is best to consider the Pros and Cons of your current situation. Renting is an ugly cycle that you would want to get out of as soon as possible. "What it costs to rent small spaces astounds me," remarked Northwest MLS director Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Gig Harbor, who also cited recent reports that put Tacoma and Olympia on lists of top cities for increased rents during 2017.

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We have been educating people for most of last year regarding the current state of the market. One good thing on the horizon is that builders are trying to respond to the pent-up demand. We are now seeing a growing number of infill homes in the core areas. Builders are now doing small releases and setting offer review dates. Now, these rising prices might be a steep undertaking, however, it is best to understand that this real estate market is like buying your plane tickets or booking that hotel room for that vacation. The further you put it off, the higher the rates will be. 

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Final Note

While the month of March can't come soon enough for home buyers due to the expected number of new listings as the spring housing season comes into play, Northwest MLS figures show sales of luxury homes selling for $2 million or more are far outpacing year-ago activity. The luxury market is gaining positive momentum due to the wealth effect of the stock market, the strength of the U.S. economy, and homebuyers from the Pacific Rim, especially China. The promise that Real Estate Investors and homeowners can look forward to - according to the trends -  seeing positive returns for the year still holds so far. 

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