Real estate markets across the state of Washington have reversed course over the past few months. From Seattle to Spokane, local housing markets have cooled considerably over the recent past. It’s almost like we’ve gone from a seller’s to a buyer’s market in no time at all.
Now, many home buyers in Washington are looking ahead to the rest of 2024. And a lot of them are probably wondering the same thing: Will 2024 be a good time to buy a house in Washington?
Three Reasons Why 2024 Could Be a Good Time to Buy
Home buyers in Washington who plan to enter the housing market over the coming months will encounter a very different scenario, compared to those who purchased last year.
Ongoing changes within the real estate scene could make it a very good time to buy. In 2024, home buyers across the state of Washington could enjoy a more leisurely pace, more properties to choose from, and the possibility of long-term equity growth.
A more “leisurely” house hunting experience in 2024.
During the second half of 2020, and through all of 2021, cities across the U.S. experienced an unprecedented level of real estate activity. The COVID pandemic ignited a nationwide surge in home-buying activity and relocation, unlike anything we’ve seen before.
We experienced those conditions here in Washington as well, especially within the Seattle metro area. Over an 18-month period, home prices rose to record heights while inventory fell in the opposite direction.
Back then, home buyers in Washington had to contend with a turbo-charged real estate market. Homes were getting snatched up within days of being listed. There was very little time to ponder a purchase or evaluate the asking price.
But the Washington State real estate market of 2024 will be very different. In fact, we’re seeing signs of this already. The pace of home sales has slowed considerably over the past few months. After months of overheated activity, the market finally settled back down. This pattern played out in cities all across the country.
However, things may be heating up again as interest rates start to come down and more homeowners are more inclined to put their homes up for sale.
That’s one reason why 2024 could be a good time to buy a home in Washington. Buyers won’t have to scramble so much. They could enjoy a more leisurely house-hunting process, with more time to evaluate the merits and price of each individual property.
Buying at the “bottom” of the market.
Real estate markets tend to move in cycles. Right now, we are exiting a strong upward cycle amplified by the home-buying surge mentioned above.
Most of the time, home prices in the U.S. rise at a slow-but-steady pace. Sometimes they level off due to a lack of demand. And every once in a while, prices decline in what’s commonly referred to as a “market correction.”
We are entering a kind of correction phase. After skyrocketing for many months, home prices across the state of Washington have begun to level off. This is true for Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane and nearly every other city across the state.
Home buyers who purchase a house in Washington during 2024 will probably be coming in at the “bottom” of the market — from a pricing standpoint. So they could enjoy many years of positive equity growth going forward.
More homes to choose from.
You’ve probably encountered many news stories over the past two years talking about tight inventory conditions within the real estate market. While some of those conditions persist, we’re starting to see significant inventory gains across the state of Washington.
In a previous blog post, we explained that property listings within the Seattle metro area rose by more than 90% in a year’s time. Other cities across Washington have experienced supply growth as well, to varying degrees.
This trend bodes well for buyers, and it’s one more reason why 2024 could be a very good time to buy a home in Washington.
As more and more homes come onto the market, buyers will have an easier time finding a suitable property within their budgets. Inventory growth also tends to reduce competition among buyers, allowing for a more “leisurely” house-hunting pace as mentioned earlier.
That said, housing inventory in WA State is still very tight and well below what’s considered a “balanced” market. Buyers may see more homes coming on the market, but the inventory situation will continue to be tight.
Is It the Right Time for You to Make a Purchase?
Buying a home is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Every house hunter goes into the process with a unique set of financial circumstances, goals and objectives. Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide if it’s an opportune time to buy a house.
But from a market perspective, there are many changes taking place right now that could make it easier to buy a home in Washington in 2024. Some challenges remain, including low inventory and higher mortgage rates. But for many home buyers, those factors could be outweighed by the three major benefits outlined above.