Buyers Abundant, Homes Scarce

Posted: June 10th, 2015 by Brad

Home buyers are in “full sprint” mode while sellers are stalling, according to brokers from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Demand exists across the price spectrum, fueled by renters, high wage earners and investors. As a result, MLS members are juggling severe inventory shortages and multiple offers in many Seattle neighborhoods and beyond.

MLS figures for May show 18 percent drops in inventory compared to a year ago and double-digit gains in both sales and prices. Commenting on the numbers, Northwest MLS director Dick Beeson said “The crush between the lack of inventory and desperate buyers may soon generate the next TV reality show! The stressed market is exhausting everyone in its path, with no relief in sight.”

George Moorhead, another director with Northwest MLS, said multiple offers are commonplace for well-priced homes in desirable areas. “We are definitely feeling the squeeze on inventory levels with sellers holding off until they can find a home,” commented Moorhead, the designated broker and owner at Bentley Properties.

MLS figures for May show supply has dwindled to about 1.2 months in King County and 1.6 months in Snohomish County. Several neighborhoods near Seattle’s job centers have less than a month of supply. Here’s how to analyze this data:
>6 Months of Supply = Buyer’s Market
4-6 Months of Supply = Balanced Market
<4 Months of Supply = Seller’s Market

In King County, the median sales price for single family homes and condos (combined) was $434,000, an increase of 9 percent from twelve months ago when brokers reported a median sales price of $398,000. Prices on single family homes (excluding condos) that sold in King County jumped to $480,942, about the same as April ($480,000), but up nearly 8.8 percent from the year ago figure of $442,250.

Former chairman of the Northwest MLS board Mike Gain said he believes the supply challenges could be alleviated if more sellers put their home on the market. “Sellers may never see a better time to be a seller.”

Gain noted renters are re-entering the housing market as they find they are better off buying than continuing to pay rent. He said he expects historically low interest rates, a growing economy, improving consumer confidence and consumer finances will continue to fuel activity and push up the numbers. “Anyone who can buy a home today at today’s prices with today’s low interest rates should do it. In my opinion, prices and monthly payments will never be lower than they are today.”

Curious about current market conditions in your neighborhood or what you’re home is worth? Give us a call 866.766.7325.

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