Seattle Home Inventory Drops 39% Year Over Year

Yes you read that correctly – since this time in 2011, Seattle real estate market forecasts show a drop of almost 40 percent in the number of houses available on the market. According to housing data compiled by Realtor.com, of the 146 markets they track, all but two show year over year declines in the inventory of “for-sale single family homes, condominiums, townhouses and co-ops”.  The housing market inventory trends are down 21% nationwide while Seattle’s drop of 39% ranked 7th on the national survey.

Seattle Real Estate Market Forecast – Signs of a Recovery

Median list prices in Seattle and nationwide are up more than 5 percent which points toward a recovery. This data is much different than numbers compiled at the same time last year when average prices were down 4.81 percent and the housing inventory was up 26 percent.  February (up 3 percent) and March marked the first consecutive months year over year housing prices escalated in Seattle since the housing crisis of 2008. Some experts point to the low number of homes for sale as the ultimate sellers’ market where house prices are propped up through simple supply and demand.  Reasonably priced homes are seeing multiple offers in almost every case according to a recent article in the Seattle Times.

Why are so few owners putting their homes up for sale?

Many homeowners who bought houses when Seattle real estate market trends were at their peak are now underwater making it difficult to sell their home for anything but a loss.  Others see the competition in the Seattle home inventory from a glut of distressed properties and would prefer to wait until the market is more level before listing their property.  This isn’t to say there aren’t sellers who see the lack of inventory as an opportunity – in some cases sellers hope to take advantage of the situation with inflated listing prices for their properties.

Even with the lack of homes for sale, February of this year saw the most homes sold in King County (1.230) since any February since 2007. That total is up 23 percent from 2011 home sales.  Most of those homes are the lower priced homes as many first time home buyers are entering the market now than in the immediate aftermath of the housing market crash.

What does this mean for prospective homebuyers?

If you’re looking to buy real estate in the Seattle area, now more than ever is the time to get help from industry insiders who can read the nuances of a fragile market. As the market shows signs of stabilizing and home prices in the Seattle area start to increase, you’ll be comforted knowing you have the mortgage loan experts at Sammamish Mortgage at your side to help you make the best decision in a challenging market.