Is Seattle a Seller’s Market in 2024?

Published:
April 4, 2024
Last updated:
April 4, 2024
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For years now, we’ve been hearing that Seattle, Washington is a seller’s market due to supply shortages and other factors.

But the Seattle real estate market has changed a lot over the past few years. As such, we thought it was high time to revisit this subject by examining the latest housing trends and data.

So the question remains: Is Seattle a seller’s market in 2024?

Seattle Still a Seller’s Market in 2024

Let’s start with the short version:

Seattle could still be considered a seller’s market, since there are more buyers than properties. But the Seattle housing market has become a bit less competitive over the past couple of years, partly due to higher mortgage rates and reduced demand.

A couple of years ago, the Seattle real estate market was moving at warp speed with homes selling in less than a week, on average. Today, it’s a different story. It’s taking longer for sellers to offload their properties these days, partly due to a decline in demand.

But it’s still a highly competitive housing market for buyers.

While the market has become a bit more buyer-friendly over the past 18 months or so, it still favors sellers. This is largely due to tight supply conditions, as explained below.

Here are three trends that suggest Seattle is still a seller’s market…

1. Inventory Remains Well Below the National Average

While housing inventory has improved slightly over the past year, the Seattle real estate market still has one of the lowest levels of supply among major U.S. cities.

In the past, housing analysts and economists used to state that a balanced real estate market has five to six months of supply. In theory, that means it would take five to six months to sell all homes currently for sale if no new properties came onto the market.

But the Seattle real estate market hasn’t come anywhere near that threshold for over a decade. In fact, for the past few years, Seattle has had less than a two-month supply of homes for sale.

When compared to other major cities and metro areas across the U.S., the Seattle metropolitan area has one of the lowest levels of housing market inventory in 2024. And as you probably already know, tight supply conditions tend to favor sellers over buyers.

But let’s end this section on a positive note.

According to a March 2024 report from Realtor.com, the Seattle metro area had a significant increase in newly listed homes. So perhaps the supply situation will improve for home buyers through the rest of this year.

2. The Seattle Housing Market Has Accelerated

We can also get a sense for which way the housing market leans by analyzing the average time it takes to sell a home. And by this measurement, the real estate market has clearly accelerated over the past year, indicative of a seller’s market in Seattle.

The Realtor.com report mentioned above also showed that, in February, homes listed for sale in the Seattle area spent a median of 32 days on the market. That was 11 days fewer than a year earlier, which shows that the market has accelerated year-over-year.

This is one of several indicators that show Seattle is still experiencing seller’s market conditions in 2024.

3. Very Few Price Reductions These Days

We can also distinguish between a buyer’s and seller’s market by looking at the overall percentage of price reductions. In this context, a price reduction occurs when a seller comes onto the market at one price, but later reduces the price due to a lack of offers.

  • A high percentage of price reductions typically indicates that sellers are finding it challenging to sell their properties at their initial asking prices. This situation often arises in a buyer’s market, where there are more homes for sale than there are buyers interested in purchasing them.
  • A low percentage of price reductions suggests that sellers are able to sell their properties close to or at their initial asking prices. This scenario is more common in a seller’s market, where there aren’t enough homes for sale to meet the demand from buyers.

In early 2024, only about 7% of property listings within the Seattle-area housing market had a price reduction. That was one of the lowest readings among the nation’s 50 largest metro areas, according to data provided by Realtor.com.

Apparently, sellers in the Seattle area don’t see a need to reduce their list prices, in order to attract offers from buyers. And that’s something buyers should be aware of.

Some Timely Advice for Seattle Home Buyers

This report is not meant to discourage home buyers from entering the Seattle real estate market in 2024. In many ways, now is a great time to purchase a home in the Seattle area.

Like many cities across the U.S., Seattle recently came out of its post-pandemic market downturn and is now experiencing rising prices again. This gives home buyers a chance to come in at the “bottom” of the market, with the possibility for steady equity growth over the coming years.

Even so, home buyers should understand the current seller’s market dynamic in Seattle and shape their house-hunting strategy around it.

Here are some things you can do to improve your chance for success:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to locate a suitable property.
  • Work with a market-savvy agent who knows the area you’re targeting.
  • Make a strong initial offer when the right house comes along.
  • Use contract contingencies sparingly to avoid turning off sellers.

These and similar strategies can help Seattle home buyers succeed in a real estate market that tends to favor sellers.

At the end of the day, the answer to the question, “Is Seattle a seller’s market right now?” the answer is yes. Despite some slowdowns in the market recently, Seattle is certainly still considered a seller’s market, especially when considering the high demand and low inventory.

Need Financing?

If you’re ready to buy a home in Seattle, be sure to partner with a seasoned mortgage team to get off on the right foot. Get pre-approved for a mortgage so you stay one step ahead of the competition and expedite the process when you finally find your dream home. Reach out to the team at Sammamish Mortgage today!

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