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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, sellers feel “looming pressure” but Western Washington market stays strong

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (March 6, 2018) – Interest rates are creeping up, inventory is still squeezed, and
some feared revised tax laws would have a chilling effect on home sales, but Northwest Multiple Listing
Service leaders say the local market remains competitive.

“It seemed like there would have been a chilling effect on the real estate market at the start of 2018 with the
newly revised tax laws limiting mortgage interest deductions,” suggested Gary O’Leyar, designated broker
and owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties. “Not only did the revisions not have
a chilling effect, if anything, the local market has been even hotter and more competitive than last year at
this time,” he added in commenting on new MLS numbers summarizing February activity.

Northwest MLS figures for last month show a slight year-over-year decrease (about 2.8 percent) in overall
pending sales, a likely consequence of inventory being down nearly 12.9 percent. Other key indicators of
the market – new listings, closed sales, and selling prices – all showed gains in February compared to 12
months ago.

The just-released report from Northwest MLS shows 7,980 pending sales last month, down from the
year-ago volume of 8,209 mutually accepted offers for single family homes and condos. Thirteen of the 23
counties in the report had more pending sales than at this time last year.

Closed sales outgained last year’s volume, 5,548 to 5,358, for an increase of nearly 3.6 percent. Median
prices on those sales surged almost 14.8 percent area-wide, rising from the year ago figure of $335,515 to
last month’s price of $385,000.

Among the four Puget Sound area counties, Snohomish had the largest year-over-year price increase at 18.8
percent. Its countywide median price for February’s sales spiked to $460,000 from $387,250, but that is
$130,000 below the $590,000 median price for transactions that closed in King County last month.
For single family homes (excluding condos), prices rose 13.7 percent overall, from $343,000 to $390,000.
Within King County, the median price was $649,950, with three areas (Mercer Island, Bellevue west of
I-405, and Kirkland-Bridle Trails) reporting median prices of more than $1 million for single family homes.
“As was the case the last two years, home values spiked in February, thanks to a cyclical low point in
supply,” commented Robert Wasser, owner/broker at Prospera Real Estate. Prices are now back around the
peak levels of last summer, and cyclically speaking, are headed for additional increases until summer
arrives,” commented Wasser, a board member at Northwest MLS.

Brokers added 7,284 new listings of single family homes and condos during February, an improvement of
nearly 6.4 percent from a year ago when they added 6,848 new listings. Like many months during 2017, last
month’s pending sales (7,980) outgained new listings (7,284), keeping inventory depleted in many areas.

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.

NWMLS 2017 Statistical Report on Pacific Northwest Real Estate Activity

Source: NWMLS

The NWMLS 2017 Annual Statistical Report is now available. Highlights include:

  • Closed Sales: Northwest MLS brokers reported 99,345 closed sales valued at more than $46.5 billion.
  • Median price: In 2017, the median price for closed sales of single family homes and condos system-wide was $370,000. By county, the median ranged from $133,000 in Ferry Co. to $562,000 in King Co.
  • New listings: MLS members added 114,297 new listings during the year, a slight gain (+1,040) over 2016.
  • Months of supply: Inventory, as measured by months of supply, was well below the level of a “balanced market” all year, with less than one month of supply near many urban job centers.
  • New construction: Newly-built homes accounted for about 19 percent of sales during 2017. The median price for new construction single family homes was $475,000; for new condos it was $552,900 (new condos in downtown Seattle fetched more than $1.2 million)
  • View the comprehensive 2017 Statistical Review & Highlights Report (39 pages)

Brokers may view NWMLS data one hour before it is published to the NWMLS website and released to subscribers or the media. Please do not share the report with the media until officially released by NWMLS.

 

Thank you,
Northwest Multiple Listing Service

11430 NE 120th St, Kirkland, WA 98034

425-820-9200

Seattle Leads an “Unstoppable” Housing Market

Source: RISMedia

Home prices grew in the latest S&P CoreLogic/Case-Shiller Indices, up 6.1 percent year-over-year in August, compared to 5.9 percent in July. The increase is against-grain in an economy gaining at a lesser pace, says S&P Dow Jones Indices Chairman of the Index Committee and Managing Director David M. Blitzer.

“Home price increases appear to be unstoppable,” Blitzer says. “Most prices across the rest of the economy are barely moving compared to housing. Over the last year the consumer price index rose 2.2 percent, driven largely by energy costs. Aside from oil, the only other major item with price gains close to housing was hospital services, which were up 4.6 percent. Wages climbed 3.6 percent in the year to August.”

Is there an end in sight? According to Blitzer, home prices have come back since the downturn—and then some—but how long they sustain their trajectory remains to be seen.

“The ongoing rise in home prices poses questions of why prices are climbing and whether they will continue to outpace most of the economy,” says Blitzer. “Currently, low mortgage rates, combined with an improving economy, are supporting home prices. Low interest rates raise the value of both real and financial long-lived assets.

“The price gains are not simply a rebound from the financial crisis,” Blitzer says. “Nationally and in nine of the 20 cities in the report, home prices have reached new all-time highs; however, home prices will not rise forever. Measures of affordability are beginning to slide, indicating that the pool of buyers is shrinking. The Federal Reserve is pushing short-term interest rates upward and mortgage rates are likely to follow over time, removing a key factor supporting rising home prices.”

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index’s 10-City Composite rose 5.3 percent year-over-year, up from 5.2 percent in July, while its 20-City Composite rose 5.9 percent year-over-year, up from 5.8 percent in July. Month-over-month, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite both rose, 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Of the 20 cities analyzed for the Index, Las Vegas, Nev., San Diego, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., came out on top, with prices up 8.6 percent year-over-year in Las Vegas, 7.8 percent in San Diego and 13.2 percent in Seattle.

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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.