Improving Inventory Creating Opportunities for Buyers

Member brokers of Northwest Multiple Listing Service added 14,524 new listings during May, the first time that volume topped 14,000 since May, 2008. Total active listings snapped a streak of 44 months of negative numbers during May when the year-over-year comparison showed an increase of 3.8 percent. 

King County has more than a month's supply for the first time since September 2017, and only the third time since October 2016. For the MLS area overall, there is 1.44 months of supply. Brokers welcomed the figures showing healthy gains in inventory, but some say they are keeping a watchful eye on rising prices and interest rates, as well as on buyer profiles, including retiring boomers.

There was never a "spring market" this year like what was experienced in the past four years. This could be due to rising interest rates, lack of inventory, increased home prices, frustration with presenting multiple offers without success, requirements for larger down payments, and an increase in the cost of living as reasons.

The good news for home buyers in King County is that compared to last month, there were almost 1,000 more homes for sale. On the flip side, home prices in the county are up 16 percent year-over-year, which, when combined with rising interest rates, is forcing some buyers to expand their search to Pierce and Snohomish counties so they can find something they can afford to buy.

While there is slightly more inventory available, the market time for most listings is less than a month, and multiple-offer situations occur daily even though there may only be five offers instead of 10 or more.

In King County, the median sales price on all homes rose just over 16 percent, from $560,000 to $650,000. The median price for a single family home rose 14.64 percent, from $633,500 to $726,275.

The condo market showed signs of improvement with inventory growing by nearly 21.4 percent, boosted by the addition of 1,803 new listings during May (up 11.3 percent from a year ago). Even so, there is less than a month's supply system-wide.

I'm hearing of more boomers and friends planning to move to states where housing costs less with the increased home values and property taxes go up.