Seasonal slowdown in some areas, but expect price hikes to continue in much of Washington.
The beginning of Fall presented homebuyers with a small increase in inventory. Most likely the last bump for the remainder of 2017 before the typical seasonal slowdown. Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) figures for September show inventory reached 1.7 mos of supply at the end of the month, matching the year-to-date high in February. That level is still well below the 4-to-6 months of supply that many industry analysts use as an indicator of a balanced market. In West Seattle, the available single-family hones for sale have been in a slow and steady decline since January 2017, with less than a month of inventory.
Strong job growth statewide is fueling demand for housing. Washington has added around 83,000 new jobs from August 2016 through August 2017 (not seasonally adjusted), according to the state Employment Security Department. With strong job growth and new homebuyers coming into the area, September was much like the rest of the year with pending sales surpassing the number of new listings, increasing prices. Year-over-year median prices for homes and condos surged 12% area-wide. Excluding condos, the system-wide median price for September's single family sales was $390,000. A look at the 23 counties in the report shows a wide range of median prices, from the lowest of $124,000 in Ferry County to the highest, at $625,000, in King County. The median price in West Seattle is $569,000, a 12.8% increase since last September. With this wide range of prices it can be confusing. Please keep this in mind when reading news articles. Looking at localized neighborhood data is more important then ever.
If you are wondering where your home value is today or if you are interested in market activity specific to your area, please let me know. I would be happy to connect and talk specifically to your home or purchasing plans.
IN MY OPINION: OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR BUYERS
In the past 4 months, I have seen some interesting trends in our market. I’m seeing a number of homes that would have sold with multiple offers if listed this past Spring now sitting past their review date. Yes, there is still significant buyer competition for homes with all the bells and whistles located in coveted neighborhoods. However, I’m seeing buyers being much more cautious about risking their time and money to make an offer if they feel the home will go in multiple offers. I think they are tired of the competition and all that goes with it. This is impactful for both buyers and sellers. Buyers have been searching for homes that are $50,000 less than their budget cap so that they can factor in paying over asking price when competing with other buyers. I am currently seeing some fantastic homes that could use minor updates, or homes that were priced at the higher end of the market, not receiving any offers on their offer review date. This is an enormous opportunity for buyers to find great homes within their budget.
For sellers, it is more important than ever to have a comprehensive marketing, pricing, and preparation strategy. For the past several years, the pricing strategy was to price a home at the low end of market value and it would adjust up with multiple offers. I’ve seen homeowners enter into the selling process thinking that they would get substantially more than their asking price for their home, only to be disappointed. My experience and market knowledge will guide through the potential pitfalls of this current market and lay the groundwork to optimize the sales price of your home. The good news is, that all homes are still riding the wave of appreciation.