Like many sectors of the economy, residential real estate is experiencing disruption and uncertainty just when the vigorous spring market was ramping up. Not surprisingly, the March activity report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which covers 23 counties across Washington state, was mixed as guidelines affecting how brokers conduct business evolved.
Housing activity around Western Washington in March showed the volume of new listings added during the month surpassed February’s total, as did both pending and closed sales. Year-over-year prices increased. However, commenting on the latest report, Northwest MLS brokers emphasized the numbers do not yet reflect the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on local real estate.
Despite limitations, Northwest MLS brokers added 10,291 new listings to the database during March, outgaining February by 2,505 listings (up 31.2%) and nearly matching the year-ago number (10,516). At the end of March, there were 9,418 active listings in the NWMLS database, a drop of nearly 22% from twelve months ago, but a gain of 23% from February. Area-wide, there was 1.4 months of supply, but it ranged from less than a month in both Snohomish and Thurston counties to more than nine months in San Juan County.
Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) slowed during March, dropping about 13.5% from a year ago. Brokers reported 8,880 pending sales during the month, which compares to 10,261 for the same month a year ago. Compared to February, pendings rose by 525 transactions.
Median prices on last month’s completed transactions rose 10.3% from a year ago, increasing from 415,950 to $458,900. Only two counties (San Juan and Ferry) reported year-over-year price drops. Northwest MLS representatives were generally upbeat about the adjustments being made and the prospects for recovering as brokers navigate through the crisis, although one broker noted the high-end market has been affected in a negative way.
Source: NWMLS 4/6/20