The Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Home buyers have “window of opportunity” with shift to more balanced market
With more plentiful inventory, recently announced increases in lending limits, and moderating prices, prospective home buyers are finding more options around Western Washington, according to industry experts from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
“Moderating interest rates over the past few weeks could provide a window of opportunity for buyers this month, even if the Fed is widely expected to raise them again in December,” said Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain.
“We are continuing to see a balancing of the market,” Grady stated, citing moderating prices and increasing inventory as contributing factors in comments about the latest figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
House hunters have a much bigger selection than a year ago. Northwest MLS figures for the 23 counties in its report show the year-over-year volume of inventory rose from 11,193 homes and condos to 15,830. The increase in active listings represents a gain of more than 41 percent. Members added 6,399 new listings to inventory last month, up from 6,098 for the same month a year ago.
King County registered the biggest gains, with active inventory surging 135 percent from a year ago. The number of single family homes more than doubled from a year ago, rising from 1,879 to 4,020, while the condo selection more than tripled, jumping from 355 active listings twelve months ago to last month’s total of 1,221. Eight counties reported fewer listings than a year ago.
“Months of inventory is still slim compared to historical norms,” Grady emphasized. Using this metric, both King County and the Northwest MLS market area overall have 2.3 months of supply. While supply is improving, it’s still well below the 4-to-6 month level industry analysts use as a gauge of a balanced market.
The surge in supply is not yet reflected in sales during this typically slower holiday season. Pending sales for November were down 10.4 percent from a year ago. Thirteen of the 23 counties in the report registered drops in pending sales versus a year ago. Compared with October, mutually accepted offers fell 17.5 percent. That was less than the falloff in 2017, when the volume of pending sales from October to November shrunk by 21.5 percent. Closed sales declined about 15.3 percent from twelve months ago, with 13 counties reporting double-digit drops. Year-over-year prices still rose (up 4.2 percent overall). Ten counties had double-digit appreciation in their median sales price for single family homes and condos (combined).
The press release is for the Northwest. In Seattle, sales were down 19.96% year-over-year, and inventory was up 134.6% year-over-year. This is another market with inventory increasing sharply year-over-year, but months-of-supply in Seattle is still on the low side at 2.3 months.