Improving inventory, stabilizing prices, fewer short sales, and a healthy local economy are credited with keeping the real estate market “chugging along nicely” around western Washington, according to brokers with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS).
For single family homes (excluding condominiums), the median sales price was $280,000 area-wide, up about 4.1 percent. King County’s volume of closings dipped slightly compared to a year ago (down 2.9 percent), but prices increased more than 7.5 percent. The median selling price for single family homes that sold last month in King County was $414,000; a year ago it was $385,000.
With rising prices, the number of homeowners with negative equity continues to shrink, MLS Director, John Deely noted, citing data from the Case Schiller index. “Many sellers do not realize they have gained back substantial equity and that we are close to the peak values of the Seattle market,” said Deely, the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle.
Commenting on recent activity along with expectations of a holiday season slowdown, some brokers noted multiple and sometimes, unrealized advantages to buying and selling homes as the year winds down. Many brokers believe it will be more expensive to buy a home during 2014. Deely attributes the threat of interest rate hikes with spurring some activity in the midst of the holidays.
Inventory shortages in some areas are a challenge for buyers. Many sought-after Seattle neighborhoods are still experiencing high demand for listings with multiple offers. Most of the MLS map areas comprising Seattle show only around 1.5 months of supply – well below a balanced market of 4-6 months. Until inventory increases, we’ll just keep chugging along.
Article adapted from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.