March saw a further tightening of the Western Washington real estate market. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service released March housing market statistics earlier this week, and the gridlock during March was apparent. Inventory was down year-over-year over 25%. This sharp reduction of inventory reduced the amount of pending home sales area-wide for the NWMLS, dropping 4.5% compared to March 2015. Conversely, prices rose 9.4% area-wide; 12 counties reported double-digit price increases year-over-year.
King County experienced both double-digit decrease in inventory and increase in pricing for single family residences during March. Inventory county-wide dropped almost 11% and prices shot up over 20%. King County condo inventory stayed around the same but pricing escalated 15%.
In our local housing market, we’re still finding that would-be sellers are hesitant to list prior to finding their next homes. However, if they have to put in a contingent offer on their preferred homes, this reduces the power behind their offers. It is definitely a Catch-22 situation, with a majority of houses flying on the market as soon as they are listed, while we are in great need of new homes to sell to satisfy pent-up buyer demand.
There is some positive inventory news that popped up the first week of April. In some of the 16 micro-markets located in Seattle, Mercer Island and the Eastside, we saw some nice increases in inventory and the return to a balanced market at select price points. The neighborhoods that saw inventory growth the first week of April include Eastside South, East Lake Sammamish, Kirkland-Bridle Trails, Ballard-Greenlake and North Seattle. We saw a return to a balanced market (3-6 months of inventory) in the $2Million+ luxury price point in Central Seattle, West Bellevue and Juanita-Woodinville. East of Lake Sammamish saw a return to a balanced market for price ranges between $900,000 and $2million+, while Kirkland-Bridle Trails is returned to a balanced market in the $1million to $1.5million price ranges and $2million+.
Each week at The Market Talks, Windermere Mercer Island owner, Julie Barrows, shares a brief snapshot of our Puget Sound Region housing market and along with a weekly property report covering 16 micro-markets in Seattle, Mercer Island and the Eastside. The report was recently redesigned and includes an easy-to-read chart showing the market condition (buyer, balanced, seller) at each price point in a specific market. Click here to read more over at The Market Talks.
To read the Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s press release in its entirety, click here.