Home Values Surge, Buyers Struggle

Posted: April 15th, 2015 by Brad

Low inventory has many Puget Sound home buyers swarming new listings and multiple offer environments are in some cases influencing buyer waivers of all contingencies. Sellers of conservatively priced homes, who may also have difficulty finding another place to live, are fetching top dollar.

The multiple offer market has become commonplace on well-priced new listings, observed John Deely, a member of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service board of directors. However, he cautioned, “Some sellers are pushing pricing boundaries and are not seeing the same action as their well-priced competition.”

Disgruntled buyers are dropping out of the market to wait out this cycle only to be replaced by a new wave, or buyers are looking to outlying areas where there is somewhat less competition.

According to March statistics provided by the Northwest MLS, buyers are flooding into the Seattle area housing market due to abundant job opportunities, low interest rates and skyrocketing rents. The median price for Seattle area single family homes and condominiums was $489,950, up 17.7 percent from $416,000 a year ago. The median single-family home in Seattle hit $535,000, up 18.8 percent from $450,000 in March of 2014.

The volume of new listings (10,505) added during the month increased 9.4 percent compared to a year ago, but fell short of satisfying demand in many areas. At month end, inventory in the MLS service area that encompasses 23 counties was down almost 14 percent, dropping from 19,736 listings to 17,007. Twelve counties reported double-digit declines from this time a year ago.

According to the Northwest MLS, about 2.5 months of inventory is available area-wide. In King County, there is slightly more than 1.3 months of supply and in Snohomish County supply stands at just under 1.7 months. Here’s how to interpret this data:
>6 Months Supply = Buyer’s Market
4-6 Months Supply = Balanced Market
<4 Months Supply = Seller’s Market

The market imbalance is played out with rising prices, an acute shortage of listings — particularly in areas close to job centers – and bidding wars. Northwest MLS figures show prices on last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condos jumped more than 6.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

If you’re considering selling your home, present market conditions in most areas couldn’t be more favorable. We’d love to help, call us for your complimentary no-obligation consultation (866) 766.7325
Northwest Multiple Listing Service contributed to this report.

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