Price Increases Continue in Seattle Amidst a Rare Increase in Inventory
The latest Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) press release showed some hope for Seattle-area homebuyers, as April 2018 displayed a slight—and rare—increase in inventory. In total, brokers added just over 11,000 listings to inventory in April, which was up 6.3 percent compared to March and “nearly 5.9 percent versus a year ago.” Though there were more homes on the market, 6 of the 23 counties covered by the NWMLS report showed year-over-year gains in inventory, while “King County was the only one in the Puget Sound region to notch a gain, up 13.6 percent from a year ago.”
Looking at data combining all areas, the market still favors sellers with an average of 1.3 months of supply. King, Kitsap, and Snohomish counties “reported less than a month of supply” and things were bleaker in the condominium market, which averaged “slightly more than three weeks (0.87 months) of supply.” Home price gains moved at double-digit rates in many counties to average 15.3 percent growth. Of the four Puget Sound counties, “King County notched the biggest gain at nearly 18.2 percent” where prices rose to $650,000—a $100,000 increase compared to the same time last year.
As Frank Wilson, NWMLS director notes, changing market conditions are causing shifts in buyer and seller behavior: “As King County buyers spill into Kitsap, they realize they have to be more strategic in their offers, and sellers are paying more attention to the details of an offer, and not always taking in the first offer presented,” he said.
While a bump in inventory didn’t ease the market much for buyers, it’s anticipated that rising interest rates coupled with additional supply gains will lessen competition and provide some relief for those looking to step into homeownership.