Last year, we heard a lot about real estate markets cooling down all across the country. But now, as we head further into 2024, the Seattle-area housing market appears to be revving up again. We can see evidence of this in a number of metrics, including those mentioned below.
Seattle Housing Market Accelerates Into 2024
Like most housing markets across the country, the Seattle real estate scene heated up during the COVID pandemic and cooled back down again toward the end of 2021. This slowdown was caused by a number of factors, including higher house prices and mortgage rates.
But now, as of early 2024, several indicators suggest that the Seattle housing market is heating back up again. Local home buyers should pay close attention to these trends, especially those who plan to make a purchase in 2024.
So what are these indicators, and what do they mean for the Seattle real estate market? Here are three recent and ongoing trends you should be aware of right now.
Median number of “days on market” remains unchanged.
There are several ways to measure inventory and supply levels within a local real estate market. One of the most commonly used metrics is the median number of “days on market.”
This metric measures the typical length of time it takes for a property to sell after being listed. A lower median “days on market” indicates a faster-moving market where properties are selling quickly. A higher number, on the other hand, indicates a slower real estate market where properties take longer to sell.
Within the Seattle metro area real estate market, the median number of days on market has remained unchanged since the start of 2023. It currently sits at 31 days as January 2024. This is based on RedFin data and other sources. This is a relatively short amount of time to sell.
This shows that homes are selling faster within the Seattle-area housing market.
The question is, what’s causing homes to sell somewhat quickly? Inventory levels might play a role here, and that’s our next indicator that the Seattle real estate market is heating up…
Supply levels have declined since the start of the year.
The accelerated market pace mentioned above could be the result of inventory declines that occurred over the past year. After rising for much of last year, supply levels within the Seattle housing market have dropped for the past several months in a row.
According to the latest MLS data and market reports, the Seattle metro area has a roughly 2-month supply of homes for sale, as of early 2024. Similar trends have occurred in many major cities across the U.S., and it might have something to do with higher mortgage rates.
A recent survey conducted by Realtor.com found that a lot of homeowners who are thinking about selling are reluctant to give up their low mortgage rates. Rates have risen quite a bit over the past couple of years. This means that a lot of homeowners in the Seattle area (and elsewhere) currently have lower mortgage rates than today’s average rates.
According to Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale: “homeowners who locked in a 30-year fixed rate in the 2-3% range don’t necessarily want to give that up in exchange for a rate in the 6-7% range.”
But this could be a short-term effect. Eventually, people who need to move will do so, regardless of their mortgage rate situation. And that could help ease the inventory shortage within the Seattle-area real estate market.
For now, tight inventory conditions could increase competition among Seattle home buyers as we enter 2024.
Homes are selling for slightly less than last year.
During the COVID pandemic, many real estate markets across the country experienced an increase in the number of offers above the asking price. This kind of scenario typically occurs when many home buyers compete for the same property. The resulting bidding wars drive up the offer amount until it exceeds the original list price.
During 2021 and the first part of 2022, more than half of all Seattle-area home sales ended up selling for more than the asking price. But as the housing market cooled into the second half of last year, the percentage of homes sold above asking dropped significantly.
Which brings us up to the present. As of early 2024, we have been seeing homes selling for slightly lower prices compared to the same time a year earlier.
Some Seasonal Advice for Home Buyers
So, how can home buyers increase their chance for success in a competitive market?
For one thing, you’ll want to have your financing arranged before you start house hunting. If you’re using a mortgage loan, this means getting pre-approved before you make an offer. This could make the seller more willing to accept your offer.
And speaking of offers, make sure your initial offer is as strong as possible, based on recent sales data. If the Seattle real estate market does heat up this summer, you might eventually find yourself in a multiple-offer situation. In these scenarios, the buyer with the strongest offer typically comes out on top.
Lastly, be sure to “cast your net” far and wide. Real estate market conditions can vary from one area to another. Some communities have more properties available and less competition among buyers. Home buyers can often improve their chance for success just by shifting to another neighborhood or ZIP Code.
Need a Mortgage in Seattle?
Do you need mortgage financing in Seattle? We can help. Sammamish Mortgage has been helping borrowers across the Pacific Northwest since 1992, including Washington State, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon. We offer many different mortgage programs with flexible qualification requirements to suit the needs of each borrower, including our Diamond Homebuyer Program, Cash Buyer Program, and Bridge Loans. Contact us today if you have questions about applying for a mortgage.