NWMLS: Housing Market Still Active, With Overall Direction “Positive”

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (Sept. 7, 2016) – Home sales in Western Washington continued to outpace
year-ago activity, but member-brokers at Northwest Multiple Listing Service say persistent inventory
shortages are constraining activity.

Despite a sparse selection in many areas, an expected summer slowdown, and “appraisal conundrums,”
Northwest MLS members notched 11,898 pending sales during August, eclipsing the same month a year
ago by 1,295 transactions for a 12.2 percent gain. There were 8,628 pending sales in the four-county
Puget Sound region — the best August for mutually accepted offers since 2005 when members tallied
8,874 sales.

Brokers added 11,411 new listings to the Northwest MLS database during August, but they presented
offers for even more buyers (11,898) to keep inventory below two months of supply. At month-end, there
were 18,336 active listings in the MLS system, a decrease of 11.6 percent from a year ago, resulting in
only 1.9 months of supply. (Four to six months is generally considered to be a “neutral” or balanced
market for buyers and sellers.)

“The market remains just as intense as July,” observed J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO at John L. Scott,
Inc. “The best opportunity for homebuyers to find a home will be in the next 60 days,” he suggested,
explaining the number of new listings coming on the market is likely to drop by 50 percent each month
between November and February. “We expect a repeat of conditions from last winter when every available
home that came on the market in areas with a shortage of inventory received quick action.”

“Buyers in the Seattle area are plentiful in all price ranges, but the entry-level housing demand continues
to be the highest,” reported John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain. As an
example, he said a recent open house for a condo listing in the South Lake Union area drew more than
100 visitors in a single day. Tech workers continue to dominate the primary buyer demographic, he said,
adding that a significant number of their parents are relocating here to purchase properties close to their
children.

Buyers in most of the 23 counties served by Northwest MLS can expect to pay more than they would
have twelve months ago, with most areas showing double-digit year-over-year price increases. System-
wide, the median price for last month’s 9,767 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums was
$350,000, up more than 11 percent from the year-ago figure of $315,000.

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