Tag Archives: Inventory

Balance “Finally returning” to Housing Market as Buyers Welcome More Choices, Moderating Prices

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (October 4, 2018) – Housing inventory continued to improve during September
while the pace of sales slowed in many counties served by Northwest Multiple Listing Service. “Balance is
finally returning to the market, and with it, slowing home price growth,” stated OB Jacobi, president of
Windermere Real Estate.

A new report from Northwest MLS shows double-digit increases in inventory in several of the 23 counties it
serves, led by a 78 percent year-over-year gain in King County. Despite improving selection in the central
Puget Sound region, a dozen counties reported drops in the number of active listings compared to last year.

System-wide, the month ended with 2.56 months of supply of single family homes and condos, well below
the 4-to-6 months analysts use as an indicator of a balanced market between sellers and buyers. The current
level is the highest since February 2015 when member-brokers reported 3.56 months of inventory. In King
County, supply exceeded two months for the first time since January 2015.

Condo inventory remains sparse, with only 0.34 months of supply area wide, despite improving inventory (up
nearly 70 percent from a year ago). The shortage is expected to ease as construction progresses on several
recently-announced high-rise projects.

Brokers added 10,458 new listings of single family homes and condos to the MLS database during
September, slightly more than the year-ago figure of 10,120. At month end, buyers could choose from 19,526
listings, a 22.9 percent improvement from twelve months ago when selection totaled 15,888 listings.

Commenting on the wider selection, Mike Grady said buyers “are at long last now seeing properties that stay
on the market longer.” Listings that are priced appropriately, “and not based on the feverish market we saw
just a few months ago are still selling quickly, and home prices are still showing 8 percent appreciation year-
over-year – more than double the rate of inflation,” added Grady, the president and COO of Coldwell Banker
Bain.

With improving inventory, some brokers suggest the market may be showing signs of pausing, if not
softening. A market shift may be under way, but they believe activity will stay strong.

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, encouraged would-be buyers to “put extra
focus on October,” which he described as the last great month for new listings until March 2019. “Over the
winter, new monthly resale listings will lower by approximately 50 percent compared to summer months.” He
also noted interest rates, currently in the upper 4 percent, are projected to rise in the coming months.

“This is a more traditional yearly market cycle taking the place of the unusually overheated real estate market
of the past several years,” said John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain.

Improving Supply Helps Slow Escalating Home Prices in Western Washington

SOURCE: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (September 7, 2018) – House-hunters in Western Washington can choose from
the largest supply of homes in three years, and they are facing fewer bidding wars, according to officials
from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

New statistics from the MLS show prices appear to be moderating (up about 6.7 percent overall), but
brokers say they are not bracing for a bubble, or even anticipating a quick shift to a buyers’ market.

“There have been incremental increases in listing inventory the past few months,” noted Gary O’Leyar, the
designated broker/owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, but, he added, “By no
means have inventory levels reached a point that is deemed to be a balanced market.”

Area-wide, the number of active listings of single family homes and condos (combined) rose 16.2 percent,
but 16 counties reported year-over-year drops in inventory; of those, nine had double-digit decreases from
twelve months ago. At month end there were 18,580 active listings, the highest level since September 2015
when buyers could choose from 19,724 listings. Compared to July, inventory was up nearly 11 percent.

The latest numbers from Northwest MLS show wide-ranging changes in the volume of active listings when
comparing the 23 counties in the report. In Clark County, inventory doubled from a year ago to lead the list
based on percentage gains. King County was runner-up with a 74.3 percent increase, rising from 3,329
active listings a year ago to 5,803 at the end of August.

System-wide there is about two months of supply, but less than that in the four-county Puget Sound region
– well below the “balanced market” range of four-to-six months.

Supply was replenished in part by the addition of 11,994 new listings during the month, up slightly from the
year-ago total of 11,781.

A slower pace of sales also contributed to the boost in supply. Brokers reported 10,109 mutually accepted
offers last month, a drop of 14.8 percent from a year ago when they tallied 11,867 pending sales.

“The Puget Sound residential housing market remains positive, though the market has transitioned from a
frenzied state to one of strong sales activity,” remarked J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott
Real Estate. “We are seeing stability in the affordable and mid-price ranges in all market areas,” he said,
citing “one of the best job growth markets in the nation” and favorable interest rates as contributing factors.

George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties, commented on buyers “still sitting on the
sidelines despite clear indicators.” He believes, “This is the best time in three years to be aggressive in the
marketplace” given rising inventory, a significant increase in the number of cancelled and expired listings,
and more incentives being offered by builders. “We are now seeing price reductions in new home
communities as builders try to move inventory of completed homes,” he noted.

Brokers report some good news for home buyers, but still expect Puget Sound’s “frantic market” to continue

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (May 7, 2018) – Home buyers may be cheered by an uptick in inventory, but the
improving supply is unlikely to reverse rising prices, suggest industry leaders from Northwest Multiple
Listing Service.

Commenting on just-released figures for April, which showed the highest level of active listings since
August, OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate said, “For the first time in a long time we had
good news for buyers.” Noting supply is still lower than year-ago levels (down 5.6 percent), it jumped 14
percent from March, which Jacobi said “is a pretty significant increase even for this time of year.”

Northwest MLS brokers added 11,271 new listings to inventory during April, a gain of 6.3 percent when
compared to March, and up nearly 5.9 percent versus a year ago. April’s pending sales (mutually accepted
offers) totaled 10,574, improving on the same month a year ago and the previous month.

At month end, the active listings selection included 10,079 single family homes and condos, eclipsing the
total of 8,825 listings at the end of March. The condo segment grew 10.9 percent from March.

Of the 23 counties in the Northwest MLS service area, only six of them reported year-over-year gains in
inventory compared to a year ago. King County was the only one in the Puget Sound region to notch a gain,
up 13.6 percent from a year ago.

Commenting on the uptick, Mike Grady, president and COO, Coldwell Banker Bain, remarked “We are
still WAY below a balanced market of five months of inventory, and this is even with interest rates ticking
slightly upward.”

Area-wide there is 1.3 months of supply, with 4-to-6 months used as a gauge of a balanced market. Three
counties – King, Kitsap, and Snohomish — reported less than a month of supply. The condo component
remains very tight with slightly more than three weeks (0.87 months) of supply.

Prices are still climbing at double-digit rates in most counties. Year-over-year prices for single family
homes and condos combined jumped about 15.3 percent overall, from $360,000 to $415,000. Within the
four-county Puget Sound region, King County notched the biggest gain at nearly 18.2 percent. Prices there
rose $100,000 from a year ago, from $550,000 to $650,000.

“There’s little reason to think we’ll be seeing a change in this frantic market anytime soon,” commented
Grady, citing double-digit appreciation in many of the most populous counties, expansion plans by Alaska
Airlines and Amazon, and other positive economic news as reasons for that expectation.

Home buyers still competing for sparse inventory in Western Washington, driving up prices – especially for sought-after condominiums

Source: NWMLS

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 report on January activity shows a slight
year-over-year gain in pending sales, a double-digit increase in prices, and continued shortages of
inventory.

Deely, the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle and a board member at Northwest
MLS, noted a shift in the ratio of pending sales to new listings in King County.
Member brokers added 6,805 new listings of single family homes and condominiums to the system-wide
database last month for a gain of about 4.6 percent from a year ago. During the same period, they reported
7,820 pending sales. In King County, the number of new listings outgained pending sales for the first time
since September:

 

“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.

For the MLS overall, last month’s 7,820 pending sales marked a slight increase compared to January 2017
when members reported 7,724 mutually accepted offers, a gain in of 1.24 percent. Not all areas reported
increases. Of 23 counties served by Northwest MLS, eight counties, including three in the Puget Sound
region (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.

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 was 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.

Holiday shoppers include homebuyers, but inventory is still a challenge

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (December 6, 2017) – “Normal seasonal slowdowns” are reported by some
real estate leaders with Northwest Multiple Listing Service, but other brokers say this holiday season is
still drawing crowds at open houses along with competitive bidding in some neighborhoods.
Both inventory and pending sales dipped to their lowest levels since April, while prices still increased by
double-digits in most of the 23 counties served by Northwest MLS.

MLS members reported 8,304 pending sales of single family homes and condos, a slight (1.6 percent)
gain over the year-ago figure of 8,173. Last month’s mutually accepted offers surpassed the number of
new listings (6,098) by 2,206 properties to keep supply tight.

“Until we see a balanced rate of 4-to-5 months of supply, instead of hovering around one month, we’re
not likely to see much change,” remarked George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties.
“However,” he added, “since we have seen these low inventory levels since 2013, maybe this is going to
be the new normal.”
Moorhead, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors, also said this time of year is actually one
of the best times to find a home. “There is less competition and sellers who list their homes at this time
are usually motivated to make their move. Some of the best pricing can be attained from December
through early February,” he indicated.

Buyers seem to be undeterred by winter weather, holiday festivities or other seasonal or – for the most
part — political distractions.

Gary O’Leyar, designated broker/owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, said
December “may well provide an unexpected holiday reprieve for our local, weary real estate shoppers.
Combined with the seasonal pace change and real estate industry pundits’ consternation over the effect of
the federal income tax bill working its way through Congress, buyers could be getting some relief.” He
urged potential sellers to take note as “This could be the signal they’ve been waiting for as a good time to
sell before the pending tax laws that affect real estate ownership take effect.”

For those who are both prepared and patient, OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, said the
holidays can actually be a great time to buy “because there is usually less competition and sellers are
motivated to close out the year with a sale.”

Shrinking inventory putting “stranglehold” on sales around Western Washington

Source: NWMLS

May 4, 2017
Shrinking inventory putting “stranglehold” on sales around Western Washington
as brokers continue grappling with challenges of multiple offers

KIRKLAND, Washington (May 4, 2017) – “Frustrating” is how brokers are summarizing the mood of
buyers, brokers – and industry professionals – during the current housing market frenzy. New statistics
from Northwest Multiple Listing Service show declines in inventory and sales, while prices continue their
upward trajectory, but those numbers only tell part of the story.

“The real estate market is going absolutely gangbusters,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere
Real Estate. “The remarkably low number of homes for sale can be blamed for the drop in sales,” he
emphasized, adding, “The uptick in interest rates at the end of last year has clearly done nothing to slow
things down.”

Inventory fell nearly 25 percent from the volume of active listings being offered a year ago. At the end of
April, MLS brokers reported 10,679 homes and condos for sale across a 23-county area, which compares
to the year-ago selection of 14,235 listings.

Viewed another way, there is only about 1.5 months of supply (about six weeks), which compares to
twelve months ago when supply totaled about 1.85 months. (In general, four-to-six months is considered
a balanced market.) There has not been more than two months of supply since September 2016.
MLS members continue to struggle to keep pace with demand. Brokers added 10,648 new listings to their
database last month, down from 11,939 during April 2016, and they reported 10,514 pending sales. That
total was down 893 transactions for a drop of year-over-year drop of 7.8 percent.

The near-match in new listings and pending sales meant little change in the number of total active listings,
although inventory edged up slightly from March, growing from 9,774 listings to 10,679.
“Without a doubt this is the most frustrating market for both buyers and sellers that we’ve experienced in
24 years of business,” stated George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties. He said the
frustration of low inventory is prompting sellers who haven’t been able to find their next home to look
into undertaking major remodels instead of moving, thereby putting even more pressure on buyers who
are struggling to find a home. Although buyers are being aggressive, Moorhead believes offer prices are
starting to plateau. “Educated buyers cannot justify many of the home prices,” he reported.

Prices area-wide shot up 10.4 percent from a year ago, from $325,990 to $360,000. The four-county
Puget Sound region, which accounted for more than 77 percent of last month’s 7,276 closed sales,
reported a price hike of nearly 14.7 percent, led by Snohomish County at 16.7 percent. In Snohomish
County, the median price for single family homes and condos (combined) eclipsed the $400,000 mark,
climbing to $416,668.

Home Prices on a 31-Month Hot Streak

Source: RISMedia

Home prices are on a hot streak, reaching a 31-month high in January in the recently released S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.

Prices fired up 5.9 percent year-over-year in the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, an increase from 5.7 percent the month prior. The Index’s 10-City Composite rose 5.1 percent, while its 20-City Composite rose 5.7 percent. The 10-City Composite eked out a 0.3 percent increase month-over-month; the 20-City Composite, 0.2 percent month-over-month.

Denver, Colo., Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash., once again led the tear, with Seattle showing the most gains at 11.3 percent year-over-year.

The trend could be disrupted if the Federal Reserve decides to raise the key interest rate three or four more times this year, which would result in a significant impact to mortgage rates, says S&P Dow Jones Indices Chairman and Managing Director David M. Blitzer. The Fed raised the rate in December 2015, December 2016, and, most recently, in March.

“Housing and home prices continue on a generally positive upward trend,” Blitzer said in a statement. “The recent action by the Federal Reserve raising the target for the Fed funds rate by a quarter percentage point is expected to add less than a quarter percentage point to mortgage rates in the near future,. Given the market’s current strength and the economy, the small increase in interest rates isn’t expected to dampen home-buying. If we see three or four additional increases this year, rising mortgage rates could become [a] concern.”

The story continues to center on inventory, which, according to Trulia, hit a new low at the beginning of the year, with starter home supply especially tight.

“Tight supplies and rising prices may be deterring some people from trading up to a larger house, further aggravating supplies because fewer people are selling their homes,” said Blitzer. “The prices also hurt affordability as higher prices and mortgage rates shrink the number of households that can afford to buy at current price levels. At some point, this process will force prices to level off and decline; however, we don’t appear to be there yet.”

What will end the upward spell? According to Bill Banfield, vice president at Quicken Loans, more new home construction is needed to release the pressure.

“Home prices continue to reach new heights, propelled by the lack of available housing,” said Banfield in a statement. “This is the narrative we have heard many times, and it is likely to continue until construction increases and provides more options both move-up and first-time buyers.”

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

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Housing Inventory Reaches Record Low, But Brokers Expect Spring Bounce

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, March 6, 2017) – Home buyers are in a spring mood, but sellers are still hibernating,
suggested one broker while commenting about the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing
Service. Figures for February and feedback from brokers indicate record-low inventory is spurring
multiple offers, rising prices, fewer sales, and frustrated house-hunters.

Year over-year pending sales (mutually accepted offers) declined for the first time since March 2016,
falling 8.9 percent. Eight counties, including King and Snohomish, reported double-digit drops in pending
sales as the volume of new listings couldn’t keep pace with demand.

During the past three months, brokers have added 17,572 new listings to inventory, down only 5.7 percent
when compared to the same three-month period of a year ago. During the latest December-to-February
timeframe, MLS members reported 22,393 pending sales, far outpacing the number of new listings.

“Our robust market has created extreme conditions, and we’re seeing frenzy hot activity on each new
listing coming on the market,” reported J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott. “We’re also
experiencing some of the lowest inventory levels on record,” he noted.

In fact, a check of Northwest MLS records dating to 2004 shows no other month when the number of
active listings dipped below the 10,000 mark – until last month.

At the end of February, there were 9,091 active listings in the Northwest MLS system, which
encompasses 23 counties. That represents a drop of nearly 25 percent from the year-ago total of 12,107.
“Home sellers and buyers are complaining equally about the current market’s low inventory,” remarked
MLS director George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties. “Sellers are frustrated when
they cannot find another home to match their current needs, or when a home goes off market so fast that
the option of a contingent sale is not even considered,” he stated.

Buyers have been grumbling about the market for the past two years, Moorhead said. “That mood has
escalated into a panic as other buyers up the ante – at times to a level that even causes real estate
professionals to shake their heads,” he remarked.

Brokers believe seasonality is a factor, with several saying they are expecting an uptick in listings.
“For buyers, hope springs eternal, but the sellers are still hibernating,” suggested John Deely, the
principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain. “We’ve been experiencing continued high buyer
demand as the spring market takes off early but sellers are on a more traditional schedule as listings
slowly ramp up,” he reported, adding, “Sellers that have come to market ahead of the traditional spring
market are reaping the benefits of less competition [from others who are selling] and a highly competitive
buyer pool.”

 

2016 Forecasted to Bring Modest Increase in Home Sales

Source: RISMedia

Following the housing market’s best year in nearly a decade, existing-home sales are forecasted to expand
in 2016 at a more moderate pace as pent-up buyer demand combats affordability pressures and meager economic growth,
according to National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a newly-released video on his 2016
housing market expectations.

In the NAR-published video, Yun discusses his expectations for the U.S. economy and housing market in 2016 and points
to pent-up demand, sustained job growth, and improving inventory conditions as his reasons for an expected gain (from 2015)
in new and existing home sales.

Despite his forecasted increase in sales, Yun cites rising mortgage rates, home prices still outpacing wages and shaky global
economic conditions as headwinds that will likely hold back a stronger pace of sales.

“This year the housing market may only squeak out 1 to 3 percent growth in sales because of slower economic expansion and rising
mortgage rates,” Yun says in the video. “Furthermore, the continued rise in home prices will occur due to the fact that we will
again encounter housing shortages in many markets because of the cunulative effect of homebuilders under producing for multiple
years. Once the spring buying season begins, we’ll begin to feel that again.”

Pent-up Demand Triggering Record Pace of Home Sales Around Western Washington

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (May 5, 2015) – Northwest Multiple Listing Service members notched a record high level of pending sales during April, surpassing the year-ago volume by nearly 1,800 transactions. Both closed sales and prices also surged last month as the spring market kicked into high gear.

Buyer confidence and buyer ability to purchase are fueling activity, suggested Ken Anderson, the managing broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympia Realty. “Long building pent-up demand is being unleashed,” he commented.

MLS members reported an 18.7 percent year-over-year increase in pending sales, with the volume of mutually accepted offers rising from 9,590 transactions to 11,384. For the four-county Puget Sound region members logged 8,671 pending sales to top the 8,000 mark for only the second time in the past 16 years.

Closed sales and prices also accelerated, according to Northwest MLS statistics. Across the 23 counties covered by the report there were 7,696 closed sales. That total represents a 24.3 percent increase from the year-ago volume of 6,190 closings. Within the four-county region, Pierce County experienced a jump of nearly 38 percent in closed sales compared to a year ago, followed by Snohomish County with a 35 percent increase, prompting one MLS director to comment, “That is super amazing.”

“We are still very clearly in the midst of a seller’s market and unless we see a significant increase in listings, it will remain that way for the foreseeable future,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. Jacobi and other brokers reiterated the dire need for listings.
Members added 11,495 new listings to inventory during April, but brisk sales kept supply tight and well below the level of a year ago. At the end of April, the MLS reported 18,132 listings of single family homes and condominiums in its database, a drop of more than 15 percent from the year-ago total of 21,390.

Compared to March, inventory at the end of April improved by 6.6 percent, but pending sales jumped 13.7 percent from the previous month.

“We’re in desperate need of inventory so I hope to see an increase in listings as we move further into the late spring/early summer,” stated Jacobi.

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, noted the record sales activity is lowering the months of supply of inventory and continuing the upward movement of pricing.
Northwest MLS figures show less than 2.4 months of supply at the end of April, down from the March figure of 2.5 months and down from a year ago when there was about 3.5 months of supply. Inventory is especially tight in King County, with 1.3 months of supply, and Snohomish County, with about 1.5 months. Many industry analysts use a range of four-to-six months as an indicator of a balanced market.