For the last couple of years, Seattle has generated countless headlines due to rapid home-price growth and scant inventory. Now it’s in the news for a different reason. Housing inventory in Seattle and across King County has actually increased in recent months.
This is good news for home buyers who are planning to enter the local real estate market during the latter part of 2018, or in 2019. Here’s the latest news on this front.
Reports: Seattle Housing Market Inventory Increased
Let’s start with a real estate reality check. The Seattle housing market is still suffering from a below-average level of supply. A “balanced” market has about a five- or six-month supply of homes for sale at any given time. As of July 2018, however, Seattle had about a 1.5-month supply.
This housing inventory shortage has presented some challenges for buyers, forcing them to compete for limited supply. And that’s been the “norm” for the last couple of years.
But recent reports show that inventory in Seattle and across King County has increased, giving buyers more options to choose from in some areas.
In a July 5 article for The Seattle Times, Mike Rosenberg wrote:
“For the first time in a decade, the number of homes for sale in the Seattle area is finally starting to rise — and in a big way — as the rapid-fire market that has led to extreme bidding wars and lightning-fast sales slows a bit.”
He cited data and reports from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (which covers all of Washington State) that showed an uptick in housing market inventory in the area.
Related: Will 2019 be a good year to buy?
More Homes on the Market During Summer 2018
From July 2017 to July 2018, the total number of single-family homes listed for sale across King County increased by 43%. That was the biggest year-over-year increase in the number of properties for sale since the housing bubble days of mid 2000s.
Condo inventory increased even more during that 12-month period, shooting up by around 70% year over year. Good news for condo buyers.
But why? As industry reports show, slower sales are one reason for the increase in housing market inventory across the Seattle area. Homes are sitting on the market longer today, on average, than in recent years. This gives inventory a chance to “accumulate” more so than in the past.
In a later Northwest MLS report from August, board member Robert Wasser said:
“In Seattle and King County supply is at the highest level since first quarter 2015, which has me thinking about the longevity of seller luxuries like offer review dates, pre-inspections, and escalation clauses.”
In other words, he sees the local real estate scene shifting slightly from sellers to buyers. Seattle is still considered a strong seller’s market, due to the dearth of inventory. But it’s nice to see a bit more supply coming onto the market to balance things out. Home buyers could benefit from this trend, especially those planning to buy in late 2018 or early 2019.
Prices Expected to Continue Rising
All of the forecasts we have seen for the Seattle-area real estate market predict that home values will continue to rise over the coming months.
Related: Will mortgage rates rise 2019?
The region’s strong economy and natural beauty attract new residents from elsewhere in the country, at a time when housing inventory is tight. So it’s only logical that home prices would continue to trend upward under such conditions.
With that being said, a lot of projections are calling for smaller year-over-year price gains stretching into 2019 (compared to the double-digit gains of the last couple of years).