Is January the new Spring?
While winter months have typically been the slowest time of the year in the real estate world, this January was certainly different. The newest report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which analyzes the real estate activity in 23 counties in Washington state, is out and the results are certainly surprising. The figures show that there are more pending sales than new listings, the median prices increased by double digits and, most surprisingly, the inventory is down a staggering 33% from the same time a year ago, according to the NWMLS.
The influx of new jobs and the still-low interest rates continue to drive the market. This year the buyers did not wait until spring to start their search but seemingly made it their new year’s resolution to find a new home. 6,517 new listing were added during January of this year, 8% less than during the same month last year. The pending sales were higher by the count of 871 units. January marked the third month of pending transactions outpacing new listings for major counties in the Puget Sound region according to the report.
Meanwhile, the inventory is on a gradual decline to just over a month’s worth. Some brokers are even reporting this market is reminiscent of 2017, with review dates and multiple offers making a triumphant return. As mentioned earlier, active listings were down significantly year-over-year: from 11,687 in January of 2019 to just 7,791 single family homes and condos on the market during the same timeframe of this year. Even more interestingly, this is the lowest level of active inventory since there were 7,921 active properties in February of 2018. According to the report, the inventory area-wide slipped below 10,000 for only eight out of the last 180 months – or fifteen years.
Most local industry expert expect 2020 to be a competitive year for buyers, given the low inventory and early pickup in activity. The more affordable pricing range, defined by the report as properties under $1,000,000 is set to be the most active, but even the more luxurious price points are not expected to be immune. Closed sales were up 4.3% year-over-year, totaling 4,865. The median price area-wide, or in the 23 counties the NWMLS services, was up 10.5%. In terms of median sales prices for single family homes and condominiums, we are looking at $422,750 – up from $381,900 in January of 2019.
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service is a member-owned organization which facilitates cooperation among member real estate firms – it includes over 30,000 brokers across 23 counties in Washington state.
Are you a buyer looking to enter the competitive market? Or a seller wondering whether now is the right time? Either way, we have our fingers on the pulse of the market. Contact us today at 206.910.5000Email