In a Nutshell Takeaways:
Home prices rose significantly across Seattle this past month. I know, big surprise, right?
At its simplest explanation, the amount of active listings fell compared to last year while the amount of closed sales rose. A drop in supply and increase in demand is a pretty simple economic cocktail for rising prices.
Homes are selling fast… like, really fast. Homes being listed with offer review dates about a week out are common, particularly the closer you get to the core job centers of Seattle and the Eastside.
In this competitive market, many buyers are electing to waive some or all of their contingencies in an effort to stand out against other offers. Each buyer is different, and the ease and ability to waive particular contingencies to help be competitive can vary. Offer strategies will also vary from listing to listing, and it’s our job to talk through options and strategies with you… and to be conscientious of the protections that are necessary for you.
But it’s not all difficult news on the buyer protection front. There’s been a growing trend of sellers having their home inspected prior to listing and making that inspection report available to buyers. This affords buyers the option of seeing an inspection report prior to waiving an inspection contingency, fills in the gap when a buyer is unable to have their own pre-inspection performed prior to an offer review date, and/or saves buyers the $500 or so they’d spend on a pre-inspection.
In Seattle, the amount of active, available listings fell 11.3% compared to last year; closed sales rose 9.0%.
For all of King County, available listings fell 20.3% compared to last year; closed sales grew 2.9%.
In Seattle, the median selling price of single family homes in May came in at $720,000, which was a 2.9% increase compared to the month prior and 15.2% increase compared to the year prior.
For all of King County, the median selling price of single family homes came in at $632,250, which was a 1.2% increase compared to the month prior and 12.9% increase compared to the year prior.
The average days on market across the price range spectrum for single family homes in Seattle and Bellevue each came in at 13 days; that’s the lowest I’ve tracked since I began logging the days on market data in April of 2010.
On the Horizon:
If you’ve been reading my monthly updates, then you know that Greater Seattle and King County real estate market has been largely ‘much of the same’ over the last two years – an imbalance between supply and demand pushing prices higher, with supply levels hovering around or below one month of supply (well below the 4-6 month range analysts point to as a neutral market favoring neither buyer nor seller).
Meaning, looking back at what happened over the last couple summers could be a good indicator for what to expect this summer.
For single family homes in Seattle, the supply of homes trended upwards between July 1st and October 1st in 2016, and the median selling prices softened as much as 6.9% during this time frame. The trend was pretty similar for 2015 as well, though the change in median selling prices was less pronounced, topping out at a gap of 3.6%.
For King County, the increase in supply over the last two summers was similar to the city of Seattle - the biggest corresponding gap in median selling prices in the summer of 2016 was a drop of 6.2%, while 2015 saw a peak summer drop of 4%.
Putting it together, buyers may experience slightly less competitive offer conditions this summer, but we’re still presumably talking about supply levels around the one month mark, so competitive conditions can still be expected for buyers and sellers.
* Our local real estate data has been provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service and/or collected by Prospera Real Estate through ongoing searches of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s database.