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Forecast: Seattle Buyers Could Have More Homes to Choose from in 2019

What will the real estate market in Seattle be like in 2019? Will it be as hot as it has been over the last few years? And what about the inventory shortage?

These are some of the biggest questions on the minds of Seattle-area home buyers. And there are some new trends and developments to report.

Seattle Housing Market Could Have More Inventory in 2019

Recent forecasts suggest that home prices will keep climbing in Seattle throughout 2019, though at a slower pace than in previous years. (Hint: Don’t expect the double-digit annual price growth of 2016 and 2017.)

The prospect of rising prices is basically a continuation of the status quo. Home values in the area have been climbing steadily so for years. So it’s no surprise to see forecasts calling for a continuation of that trend in 2019.

But the biggest change happening within the Seattle housing market right now has to do with inventory. For the past few years, the city has experienced a severe shortage of homes for sale. That’s partly why prices have risen so fast. But a series of new reports point to significant inventory growth within the Seattle-area real estate market.

Inventory Growth Being Reported, Finally

This is a trend we’ve reported on before. The latest evidence comes from an October 2018 report published by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This property listing service covers the entire Seattle metro area, along with the rest of the Pacific Northwest. They routinely report on local housing conditions and trends in the area.

On October 4, they reported the following positive development:

“A new report from Northwest MLS shows double-digit increases in inventory in several of the 23 counties it serves, led by a 78 percent year-over-year gain in King County.”

This means that home buyers today have more properties to choose from, compared to those who purchased earlier this year or in 2017. This trend also plays a role in some of the housing market forecasts for Seattle, which call for smaller home-price gains than those we’ve seen in the past. Growing inventory pushes Seattle closer to being a “balanced” market, and that could have a cooling effect on annual appreciation.

These latest reports of inventory growth are a positive sign for home buyers in Seattle. But despite this trend, the local housing market remains tight.

“In King County, supply exceeded two months for the first time since January 2015,” Northwest MLS reported. That’s a positive trend from a buyer’s perspective, but it’s still well below the four to six months of supply that housing analysts consider to be a balanced market.

The bottom line here is that housing conditions in Seattle are still fairly constrained, but they are improving. In 2019, home buyers in the Seattle area (and across King County) should have move inventory to choose from. That’s a plus. But the market will remain highly competitive for the foreseeable future, as demand continues to exceed the available supply.

Home Prices Slowing, But Still Rising

Recent forecasts for the Seattle housing market through fall 2019 suggest that home prices will continue rising over the coming months. The same goes for Washington State as a whole.

Zillow, for example, recently predicted that the median home value in Seattle would rise by around 6% over the next 12 months (through October 2019). That’s slightly less than the gains recorded over the previous 12 months, but still higher than historical averages.

Related: Seattle vs. Portland home prices

Disclaimer: This article contains data and forecasts provided by third parties outside of our company. Housing and economic forecasts should be viewed as an educated guess, not a certainty. We have gathered them here as a service to our blog readers.

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