Why is Seattle’s Home Inventory So Low?

In looking at data from last year’s home price growth and number of sales, one clear trend emerges: a lack of available homes for sale was a major theme in Seattle’s market. Curbed Seattle reports, “so far this year, inventory has been even more sparse,” as recent Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) data shows that there was less than 1 month of available inventory in February, down from just over one month last year.

Though the nation as a whole has felt the impact of lessening inventory, the issue is more pronounced in markets such as Seattle. Recent reports reveal that “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.” With double-digit price growth reported each year, it’s a definite seller’s market, which means many are resisting the temptation to sell their homes for fear of having to enter the tight market as buyers.

To be sure, the latest data released by NWMLS shows that the only figure that went down from February 2017 to February 2018 was the number of pending sales (at 2.8 percent), which may be attributed to the near 13% year-over-year decline in inventory. On the whole, single-family home prices rose 13.7 percent to $390,000 and supply declined to less than one month in both King and Snohomish counties.

As spring arrives and brings more hours of daylight, inventory is expected to improve, a figure we’ll be watching closely when March 2018 numbers are released.

For additional details, download the NWMLS February 2018 Statistical Data >>