Seattle Real Estate Market In A Minute Update | August 2019

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Northwest MLS brokers report mixed activity during July, as volume of closed sales reaches 12-month high!

July provided mixed messages on housing activity, noted one industry veteran when commenting on the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The newly released MLS figures show last month’s closed sales reached a 12-month high. Member-brokers also reported the number of new listings (11,193) nearly matched pending sales (11,139).

A closer look at new listing activity shows last month’s total was down from both the previous month (-6.7%) and the same month a year ago (-8.2%). The total number of active listings of single family homes and condos, at 16,787, was about the same as June’s inventory (16,680) and the selection of a year ago (16,773 listings). A comparison of the 23 counties in the Northwest MLS report shows about half the counties have more inventory than a year ago, and half have less.

System-wide there is 1.76 months of inventory, with King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Snohomish and Whatcom counties all reporting less than two months of supply.

Pending sales declined slightly from June (11,139 versus 11,573) but showed a 1.6 % gain on the year-ago total of 10,965 mutually accepted offers.

Closed sales were up from both the previous month and the same month a year ago. Northwest MLS brokers tallied 9,540 closed sales last month-the highest volume since June 2018 when they reported 10,072 completed transactions.

Year-over-year (YOY) prices rose nearly 3.6%, but declined about 2.9% from June. The area-wide median price for July’s completed transactions was $429,900; a year ago it was $415,000. Eighteen of the 23 counties in the latest report showed year-over-year price appreciation.

The median price of a single family home (excluding condos) that sold last month was $440,000, up 3.5% from twelve months ago. Only four counties reported year-over-year price drops, including King County where prices were down 2.7%. Condo prices also sagged compared to a year ago, but by less than one percent. The area-wide median price for condo sales that closed during July was $350,000.

MLS director John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle, described King County’s residential market as “balanced on a fulcrum between growth, stagnation, and decline.” New listings of single family homes (excluding condos) in King County dropped year-over-year and when compared to last month, he noted. Total active listings and pending sales both improved from a year ago, but slipped from June’s totals.

King County’s median sales price for single family homes and condos was down slightly (-0.64%); for single family homes only (excluding condos), the median price dropped 2.7%. “Increased listing inventory from prior months put pressure on pricing,” Deely suggested.

“Lower prices brought out the buyers, causing July sales activity to end with a bang,” exclaimed Dean Rebhuhn, the owner of Village Homes and Properties in Woodinville. Continuing low interest rates are also propelling activity, he suggested.

“Buyers are seeing increased selection at good prices. Well-priced homes continue to sell quickly in market hot spots, often resulting in multiple offers,” Rebhuhn reported, noting several parts of South King County are hot spots. He expects brisk activity through September.

“The lazy days of summer do not apply to home sales,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “Each summer, the highest numbers of homes go under contract per month. However it may feel slower because the greatest numbers of new listings also come on the market. This creates disbursed buyer energy,” he stated. Looking ahead, he expects “strong numbers” due to “interest rates in the upper threes, strong local job growth and sunny weather.”

Sean Reynolds

Sean Reynolds

The Owner and Designated Managing Broker of Summit Properties NW and Reynolds & Kline Appraisal.

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