The summer continues to heat up, and patient buyers are being rewarded as market shifts create a new dynamic between buyers and sellers. After years of intense competition between buyers for the most desirable listings, increasing inventory and slower price appreciation across the region have caused a pivot, with sellers competing more strongly against each other than they have in previous years.
The Return to a Balanced Housing Market
While this may cause uncertainty in some sellers, the rise in active inventory is an indication that we are returning to a more balanced housing market as a whole. Sellers can still be very successful with their home sales, as long as they price their homes accurately and understand that they may not see the exorbitant offers that were typical a few months ago. This is a pragmatic approach, and we should see some relief in the “buyer gridlock” that had kept homeowners in place who wanted to sell and move but simply had no place to go.
Inventory, Affordability, & Median Sale Prices
Even with the increased inventory across the Puget Sound region, we may start 2023 with low supply, high demand, and multiple offer situations. Prices are coming down largely as a result of the previous rapid price appreciation and rising interest rates. However, Puget Sound’s underlying lack of supply and huge demand has not changed, although rates have improved. Seattle’s median price for single-family homes rose 6.4% year-over-year, from $896,500 to $954,500. That’s down slightly from the million-dollar median the city hit in April, and should help create a more inviting market for prospective buyers. The median price for condos is currently a more affordable $537,000, with 2.5 months of inventory.
King County as a whole is experiencing much the same phenomenon, with the median sale price for single-family homes decreasing from $938,225 in June to $890,000 last month. However, that’s still up 2.1% from $871,000 in July 2021. Single-family homes on the Eastside currently have the most inventory in the tri-county area, with 2.5 months’ supply. The median price for single-family homes has dropped to $1,420,000, down from $1,500,000 in June, but up 6.7% year-over-year. It’s important to note that this decrease in the median price is likely not due entirely to price depreciation, but from the fact that lower-priced homes made up a larger percentage of the overall sales in the area, thus lowering the median sold price. Real estate experts believe that the area continues to model a price correction based on the 2018 market, suggesting the median closed sales price will bottom out in about two months’ time around $1,300,000 or higher.
Snohomish continues to remain a more affordable area for buyers, with a median sold price for single-family homes of $770,000. Although that’s down from June, it is up a full 10% year-over-year, from $700,000 in July 2021. The area also has more active inventory—nearly two months’ supply. This, combined with the lower median price for condos of $500,000, makes it an appealing option for buyers with more constrained budgets.
The increase in active inventory across the region is not an indication of slowing demand. The majority of homes are selling in under two weeks, and prices continue to appreciate year-over-year. Builders are working diligently to meet demand, but until more projects come online, buyers and sellers will have to navigate these new market dynamics together.
If you have questions about these changes in the market or about real estate in general, please reach out to the Kari Haas Real Estate Team, we are happy to help!