In March, the Seattle housing market may have turned the corner, even if only for one month as the median Seattle home sales price inched up 0.56% to $359,500 over last March.
The single family dwelling median sales price fared better than condos increasing 3.12% to $397,000 while condos lagged behind falling 11.75% to $236,500, compared to a year ago.
Currently, Seattle’s real estate market is exhibiting a “seller’s market” characteristic with low inventory supply and high buyer demand. The number of available homes for sale dropped 38.4% from a year ago while sales have increased 15.4%. Brokers are reporting a greater number of multiple offer instances, something we haven’t seen since the bubble burst.
Citywide, the inventory supply rate has dropped to 1.6 months of supply. That means, at the current rate of sales and provided no new listings come on market, it will take 1.6 months to sell out the remaining inventory. The months of supply metric is used to identify the market environment:
1 – 3 Months: Sellers Market
4 – 6 Months: Neutral Market
6 + Months: Buyers Market
Will this trend continue? It’s hard to say. This time of year we normally see the number of listings rise as homeowners take advantage of the Spring selling season to put their homes on the market. However, that hasn’t happened this year, which is resulting in a dearth of inventory. On the other hand, low mortgage interest rates, rising rental rates and a better economic outlook in the Seattle region are encouraging buyers into the housing market.
Inventory will likely remain low until (1) housing prices start to increase and homeowners feel more confident about realizing appreciation (or minimizing their losses) and (2) banks begin to reduce the shadow inventory.