There was good news for Seattle-area homebuyers in the latest Northwest Multiple Listing Service Press Release, as April 2018 data revealed a slight increase in inventory. In all, “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.” Despite more homes on the market, just 6 of the 23 counties covered reported year-over-year inventory gains, and “King County was the only one in the Puget Sound region to notch a gain, up 13.6 percent from a year ago.”
Area wide, the 1.3 months of supply is still well below a 4-to-6-month balanced market, and three counties (King, Kitsap and Snohomish) “reported less than a month of supply” while condo inventory “remains very tight with slightly more than three weeks (0.87 months) of supply.” Home price increases climbed at double-digit rates across many counties, at an average of 15.3 percent growth. Within the four counties surrounding Puget Sound, “King County notched the biggest gain at nearly 18.2 percent,” where prices rose by $100,000 to $650,000.
Frank Wilson, Northwest MLS director, said he is seeing shifts in buyer and seller behavior as the market shifts. “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.
Though inventory increases haven’t eased the market much for buyers, better conditions are expected ahead as rising interest rates—and additional inventory increases—will lessen competition.