November and December are usually slower months. But early seasonal snow and questions swirling around the tax plan could make the usual seasonal slowdown more pronounced
Northwest MLS figures for the 23 counties it serves show members added 8,466 new listings to inventory during October, outgaining the year-ago total of 7,575 by 11.8 percent. Buyers outnumbered new listings, with 10,586 of them having their offers accepted. That number of pending sales was up nearly 8 percent from the same month a year ago.
Buyers may find themselves in a quandary as the year winds down as they contemplate limited supply, possible upticks in interest rates and tax reform. Last week's announcement of a provision in a GOP tax proposal to cap the mortgage interest deduction is concerning to buyers, brokers and builders. Imagine if the proposed plan to cap the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000 is approved in a market that is starved for homes and where the median price [for a single family home in King County] is now $630,000. Homeowners may be less likely to sell because they would be giving up their grandfathered tax credit on their current home. That's fewer homes for sale in a market where we really need them and there could also be a flood of new buyers trying to purchase before the plan is passed, adding to the already hyper-competitive market conditions.
Northwest MLS data show 66 percent of single family homes sold so far this year (Jan. - Oct.) in King County had selling prices of $500,000 or higher.
The median sales price system-wide for October was $373,000, up more than 8.1 percent from twelve months ago when it was $344,900. All counties in the four-county Puget Sound region notched double-digit gains.
For single family homes (excluding condos), the median sales price for last month's completed transactions was $381,000. Within King County prices are considerably higher. In Seattle, year-over-year prices jumped 17.6 percent, from $625,000 to $735,000. On the Eastside, the median price for a single family home rose 10 percent from a year ago, increasing from $768,000 to $845,000. Nevertheless, high prices did not seem to deter many house-hunters. The stage is set once again for a frenzy housing market after the first of the year in the price ranges where there is a shortage of active listings for sale.
Listings in Snohomish County are experiencing longer market times, fewer above-list price offers, and a noticeable increase in price reductions.