Housing Market Robust Despite Record Rainfall, Government Shutdown

Posted: October 17th, 2013 by Brad

September tested the housing market’s resilience around Western Washington with fluctuating mortgage rates, record-setting rains, and persistent inventory shortages in some areas. By month’s end, however, both pending and closed sales outgained the same period a year ago, according to the latest figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Prices also increased compared to 12 months ago, but fell slightly from the previous month. Year-to-date figures through nine months show prices for homes and condominiums that have sold in the 21 counties served by the MLS are up 12 percent from a year ago.

With uncertainty about the duration of the government shutdown, brokers say the positive momentum could stall.

“On a macro level, we don’t expect this to have a significant impact on the housing market,” Northwest MLS director OB Jacobi said, while cautioning, “This will largely depend upon the length of the shutdown and its effect on consumer confidence.”

The shutdown was preceded by four weeks of falling mortgage rates, which brokers credit with boosting September sales. Improving inventory also helped spur activity. Brokers reported September’s inventory was up 2.1 percent compared to a year ago, marking this year’s first year-over-year gain for that measure.

MLS figures show King County has less than two months of supply (1.95 months). Snohomish County is slightly better at 2.32 months. System-wide, there is 3.32 months of supply, well below the level of 4-to-6-months that is generally accepted as an indication of a balanced market. A local housing market favoring home sellers continues for the time being.

NWREporter contributed to this report.

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