Not long ago, we explained how Seattle housing market inventory levels had increased substantially, easing competition among local home buyers.
But much has changed since then. As of early 2024, inventory levels within the Seattle metro area real estate market continue to be very low, though may slowly change in 2024.
Seattle Real Estate Inventory Still Low
According to RedFin, the total number of homes sold in Seattle as of December 2023 was 427. That’s a decline of 16.9% year-over-year. This means there are fewer homes listed for sale overall, and fewer new listings coming out of the market (compared to a year ago).
Inventory levels have declined in many housing markets across the country, over the past few months. This is partly due to a reluctance among would-be sellers to give up their current low mortgage rates, since today’s mortgage rates are significantly higher. These and other factors have caused housing market inventory levels to drop in many U.S. cities.
Looking at It From Another Angle
For further evidence of this trend, we can look at Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data for the past couple of years. Toward the end of 2021, the Seattle area had about a 0.5-month supply of homes for sale. That was a record low and miles below what’s considered to be a balanced real estate market.
(You’re probably already familiar with COVID-related trends that depleted inventory levels nationwide, so we don’t need to revisit all of that.)
Housing supply started to rise during the second half of 2022, as the market cooled. This growth trend continued for several months. But at the start of 2023, another reversal occurred as Seattle real estate market supply began to drop again. It has been a real rollercoaster ride for the past few years. As of early 2024, there is a 2.52-month supply of available homes for sale in Seattle.
Meanwhile, according to recent RedFin data, the median number of days on market across Seattle remains unchanged since the same time last year.
These two trends are connected. Usually, a sharp drop in the number of homes for sale will accelerate the market and lead to faster sales. That’s because there are more buyers competing for fewer properties. And that seems to be the case as of early 2024.
What It Means for Buyers and Sellers
So, how does the recent decline in housing market inventory affect Seattle-area home buyers and sellers?
Let’s start with sellers. In many ways, the summer and fall of 2024 could be a great time to sell a home in the Seattle area. Inventory levels within the local real estate market have declined over the past few months, increasing competition among buyers. However, experts agree that we could be seeing a slow addition of more homes being listed on the market in Seattle over the coming months.
Granted, things aren’t as tight as they were at the start of 2022. But we’re still experiencing a shortage of homes for sale relative to demand. A well-maintained home that’s reasonably priced would likely elicit multiple offers soon after hitting the market. That’s a best-case scenario from a seller’s perspective.
Seattle-area home buyers, on the other hand, have their work cut out for them. And this is nothing new. Our real estate market is known for having tight inventory conditions and fierce competition among buyers.
Here are some tips for buying a home in the Seattle area during 2024, when low inventory could present a challenge:
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will show sellers that you are a serious buyer and that you have the financial means to purchase a home.
- Work with a real estate agent. A good agent will know the market inside and out and can help you find the right home for your needs.
- Be prepared to act quickly. Homes in a tight market tend to sell quickly, so you need to be ready to make an offer as soon as you find a home you like.
- Be flexible with your criteria. If you are too rigid in your search criteria, you may miss out on a great home. Be willing to compromise on things like location, size, or amenities.
- Be prepared to negotiate. The seller may not accept your first offer, so be prepared to negotiate on price, terms, or other conditions.
Need mortgage financing? You can expedite the house-hunting process by arranging your finances ahead of time. And we can help! Sammamish Mortgage serves the entire Seattle metro area and the broader Pacific Northwest. We can pre-approve you for a loan to give you an added advantage in the market. Please contact our staff with any questions you have.