It’s safe to say that a lack of available homes for sale was a major theme in Seattle’s real estate market last year, and as Curbed Seattle reports, “so far this year, inventory has been even more sparse.” Recent data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) indicates that there was less than one month of inventory in February, compared with about one month at the same time last year.
Inventory has been an issue across the nation but is more pronounced in the Emerald City than in other areas, as recent reports reveal “the Seattle metro area is tied only with Denver for lowest housing inventory and has one of the fastest markets in the country, driving up competition and prices for would-be buyers.” Prices in Seattle continue to grow at double digit rates each year, which means many current homeowners are resisting selling because they are concerned about their prospects after the sale.
To be sure, NWMLS figures show that the only figure to decrease year-over-year in February 2018 was the number of pending sales (at 2.8 percent), which can be attributed to inventory being down by almost 13% compared to last year. As NWMLS reports, “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.”
Overall, supply is at about 1.4 months, but is less than one month in King and Snohomish counties. Condo supply is even tighter, with just 0.88 months, “and even less than that in King, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties.”
With the coming of spring and its additional hours of daylight, “many brokers expect inventory levels to improve,” which will be an indicator to look out for when March numbers come in.