Relief for Home Buyers during “Summer Slowdown”
In an early July Press Release, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) says frustrated house hunters may find reprieve during the “summer slowdown” typical of the Puget Sound region’s housing market. Many buyers are facing concerns regarding ever-increasing home prices and little inventory, as King County experienced just .84 months of inventory in June, yet the summer season promises some respite. While the number of single-family homes for sale in June was down 14% compared to June 2016, the 14,482 active listings represented a 16% increase compared to May 2017 as sales increased by “nearly 3.4 percent from a year ago.” An increase in new listings means fewer offers are made on many properties, which allows for “more choices and a little breathing room for the backlog of buyers who have been waiting to buy a home.”
Single family residences saw a combined price increase of about 10% compared to June 2016, up to $380,000, while King County’s jump was nearly 14%, up to $653,000. And though condos have traditionally served as a stepping stone for first time homebuyers, options are now sparse as “inventory is down 14 percent from a year ago” and condominiums only account for “about 8 percent of all active listings” with “less than a month’s supply.” Supply is impacting condo prices as well, and while they are still relatively more affordable than single-family homes, prices are also increasing as “last month’s closed sales of condos was $328,675, an increase of nearly 9.6 percent from a year ago.”
Given the strong economy, low interest rates, and a recent U.S. Census Bureau study that reveals “Seattle is gaining about 1,100 residents per week,” NWMLS director Scott Comey says he doesn’t anticipate much of a slowdown in Seattle’s housing market for some years to come. He recommends working with an expert agent to make sure you get prequalified (or even pre-underwritten) and that you are able to streamline the process as best as possible to maximize results.