The newest figures from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) show slight drops in both pending and closed sales, a likely consequence of persistent inventory shortages. But, could the local housing inventory numbers be shifting?
This month the NWMLS reported what may be considered good news for buyers. In a year-over-year comparison, May’s total number of active listings increased 3.8%, breaking a streak of 44 consecutive months of negative numbers. This uptick marked the first time the NWMLS reported a gain in the ‘Active Listings' statistic since August 2014. Across the entire NWMLS agents added 14,524 new listings during May, the first time that volume topped 14,000 since May 2008.
King County has more than a month's supply for the first time since September 2017, and only the third time since October 2016. For the NWMLS area overall, there is 1.44 months of supply. Only four counties of the 23 counties served by the Northwest MLS reported having more than four months supply. A four month supply is the minimum level most industry experts use as a gauge of a balanced market.
Agents and buyers will welcome the figures showing healthy gains in inventory. Experts agree that Seattle is not heading for a housing bubble. The driving factors of the past downturn are not present today, which include, easy credit and a large supply of available homes. We have a steady flow of people moving to the area, high wages and conservative lending standards.
Factors to watch over the next few months will be if inventory continues to grow will prices continue to rise and what will interest rates do?