Where Have All The Sellers Gone?

Posted: February 12th, 2015 by Brad

In many areas of Seattle proper, available home inventory is down nearly 50 percent from a year ago, further perpetuating a market favoring sellers.

“The current inventory of homes available for sale has never been lower in my 22 years as a real estate broker,” lamented Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) director George Moorhead.

King County only has slightly less than a two months of supply of homes. Industry insiders tend to use a 4-to-6 month range as an indicator of a balanced market favoring neither buyers nor sellers.

Home buyers who shopped during 2014 often had lots of company – and competition. Brokers notched more than 102,000 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during 2014, while adding 107,722 new listings to inventory. Brokers said depleted inventory led to bidding wars for homes in the most desirable areas, and led to disappointment for indecisive or unprepared bidders.

Among other highlights in its annual compilation of statistics, Northwest MLS reported:

  • About 46 percent of last year’s single family home sales had three bedrooms.
  • The median price for a 3-bedroom home that sold in 2014 was $262,500, about 5 percent higher than the previous year’s figure of $250,000. A comparison by county shows the median price for this size home ranged from $143,500 in Pacific County to $410,000 in San Juan County.
  • More than three-fourths (75.2 percent) of condos that sold had two or fewer bedrooms.
  • Of the condo sales, about six of every 10 (61.9 percent) were located in King County, primarily in Seattle or on the Eastside.
  •  Last year’s sales included 8,177 newly built single family homes that sold for a median price of $374,000, and 607 condos that sold for a median price of $369,950.
  •  A comparison of median prices of single family homes shows more than half the counties served by Northwest MLS have improved on prices reported for 2005.
  • Prices vary widely among school districts. Homes that sold in school districts on Shaw Island and Mercer Island fetched median prices of $1 million or more.

For those considering a home sale, the current market climate is highly favorable.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service contributed to this and the following report.

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