Seattle Housing Market Inventory Increased 91% in 2022

Published:
September 13, 2022
Last updated:
September 13, 2022
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For many months now, we’ve heard about the tight inventory conditions within the Seattle real estate market. Like many cities across the country, Seattle and the surrounding metro area has suffered from chronically low supply levels within the housing market.

But now, that’s all starting to change.

A recent report from the research team at Realtor.com showed there are more homes coming onto the market across the Seattle metro area. This is good news for home buyers who are considering a purchase during the fall or winter of 2022, or in 2023.

Here’s what you need to know about housing market inventory growth in the Seattle area.

Seattle Housing Market Supply Way Up in 2022

On September 1, real estate analysts from Realtor.com published their latest housing market update. It included data for the nation as a whole, along with the 50 largest metro areas.

According to that report, more homes have been coming onto the market in the Seattle-area real estate market. And that’s a big deal for home buyers, when you consider the record-low inventory levels we experienced throughout most of 2021.

Let’s get to the data. From August 2021 to August 2022, the total number of active property listings in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area rose by more than 91%. In this context, “active listings” refers to homes that are currently on the market and for sale.

That bears repeating: the number of homes listed for sale in the Seattle-area housing market nearly doubled over the past 12 months or so. As a result of this trend, home buyers in the area should have an easier time finding a suitable property to purchase, compared to a year ago.

And it’s not just the Pacific Northwest. Many housing markets across the U.S. are experiencing similar growth trends in late 2022. To quote the above-mentioned Realtor.com report:

“These trends reflect a housing market that is getting a refresh from the past two-plus years of frenzied buyer demand that outmatched supply, with inventory rising and more typical seasonality expected to return in the fall.”

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3 Ways Supply Growth Could Change the Market

With more inventory hitting the market, the Seattle real estate scene could change in fundamental ways. Over time, these changes could provide buyers with benefits and advantages they haven’t enjoyed for quite some time.

Here are three trends we might see over the coming months, related to supply growth:

  1. Motivated sellers: With inventory rising in the Seattle housing market, sellers today have more competition from other sellers. So they could be more willing to negotiate with buyers, when it comes to the sale price and other terms. Some sellers might even offer “concessions” for buyers, such as closing cost contributions.
  2. Less frustration: While the Seattle housing market remains challenging for buyers, it’s a lot more buyer-friendly than it was just 12 months ago. There are more homes on the market today, so buyers could have a less stressful house-hunting experience. The “buyer fatigue” we heard so much about in past months could become a lot less common.
  3. Price cooling: Historically speaking, home prices tend to rise more slowly when the real estate market experiences significant inventory growth. We’re seeing the early signs of this right now. After rising steadily for more than two years, home prices in the Seattle metro area are now decelerating. Slower price growth would be more sustainable and might give wages a chance to “catch up” with homeownership costs.

There are a lot of changes taking place within the Seattle metro area housing market, and most of them stem from the inventory growth mentioned above.

In fact, one could argue that supply growth will change the market more than any other single factor, as we finish out 2022. Especially if inventory levels continue to rise going forward.

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Better House-Hunting Conditions, However…

This latest report brings good news for home buyers in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area. Even so, house hunters will still want to bring their ‘A’ game when shopping and negotiating.

One thing you can do to increase your chance for home-buying success is to work with an experienced real estate agent. Agents deal with purchase offers and negotiations on a daily or weekly basis. They understand the current mindset among Seattle-area sellers and can guide you accordingly.

You’ll also want to allow plenty of time for the house-hunting process. The housing market inventory situation in the Seattle area has improved. We’ve gone from a 0.3-month supply of homes for sale at the end of 2021, up to nearly a 2-month supply as of August 2022.

Even so, there’s still a shortage of properties relative to the number of buyers seeking them. So your home search could take longer than expected. As the saying goes: hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

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