"Normal seasonal slowdowns" are reported by some real estate leaders with Northwest Multiple Listing Service, but other brokers say this holiday season is still drawing crowds at open houses along with competitive bidding in some neighborhoods. Both inventory and pending sales dipped to their lowest levels since April, while prices still increased by double-digits in most of the 23 counties served by Northwest MLS. Until we see a balanced rate of 4-to-5 months of supply, instead of hovering around one month, we're not likely to see much change. This time of year is actually one of the best times to find a home. There is less competition and sellers who list their homes at this time are usually motivated to make their move. Some of the best pricing can be attained from December through early February.
Buyers seem to be undeterred by winter weather, holiday festivities or other seasonal or - for the most part -- political distractions. For those who are both prepared and patient, the holidays can actually be a great time to buy because there is usually less competition and sellers are motivated to close out the year with a sale. Strong demand is not confined to Seattle. Every time a new listing is added all eyes focus like a laser beam to see what just happened. If a worthy property comes on the market, buyers know it instantly as the information is streamed through every device known to man. Buyers step up and buy, quickly and efficiently.
Area-wide, the volume of new listings added during November rose nearly 5.6 percent (from 5,776 to 6,098) compared to the same month a year ago. Despite improvements in new listings, brisk sales kept inventory well below year-ago levels. King County is still experiencing double-digit reductions in inventory compared to this same time last year, but the shortage is even more pronounced in some outlying counties.
Measured by months of supply, there is about 1.4 months of inventory overall. In King County, supply has dwindled to 0.79 months, and only slightly better, at 0.89 months, in Snohomish County. In King County the median price for single family homes and condos combined jumped 15.6 percent, from $497,254 to $575,000. For single family homes (excluding condos), the median price was $630,750, up nearly 14.7 percent from last year. Condo prices surged 17.1 percent, due to a combination of depleted inventory (down 28 percent from a year ago) and higher prices for new condos. (In King County, the condo component classified as new construction that sold during November had a median price of $873,490.)
Brokers tended to agree some of the provisions in the widely anticipated tax reform have "the potential to negatively affect home values nationwide." All of the projections are that market conditions are set for another robust market in 2018.