Inventory Gains Help Ease Home Price Growth in Washington State
Those searching for homes in Western Washington are now choosing “from the largest supply of homes in three years,” this according to the latest press release published by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). As the report outlines, home price growth has slowed significantly, at 6.7 percent across all counties surveyed. This paired with inventory gains is alleviating some pressure on buyers in the market.
Inventory levels on a county-by-county basis vary and still lie far outside of a “balanced market” of 4 to 6 months (still a Sellers’ market): “area-wide, the number of active listings of single family homes and condos (combined) rose 16.2 percent” and at the end of August, “there were 18,580 active listings, the highest level since September 2015 when buyers could choose from 19,724 listings.” See article, WHAT TO MAKE OF SEATTLE’S MARKET COOLDOWN.
Though the number of homes for sale has surged by double-digit ranges in many counties, the median sales price of single family homes and condominiums in August 2018 across all counties was $405,000, up just under 6.9 percent compared to August 2017 (at $379,000). In fact, “all but one county reported price gains, including a dozen counties with double-digit increases; the exception (San Juan County) had only a small 1.7 percent decrease.”
Looking to King County, single family home prices reached a median of $669,000, up 2.9 percent compared to this same time last year, but as the NWMLS notes, “down from May when a countywide median price of $726,275 was reached, the highest so far this year.” Condominium prices likewise rose, at 8.1 percent across all areas and slightly higher, at 11.3 percent, in King County.
As NWMLS Director John Deely said in the statement, “sellers should be careful to avoid overpricing as savvy buyers are wary of properties pushing the upper end of the market. Properly priced properties will still see heavy activity in this market. Sellers of homes that linger on the market are reducing their prices to spur activity.”