Open house traffic has been brisk around Western Washington, signaling the start of the spring market, suggested brokers at Northwest Multiple Listing Service. They noted softening prices are enticing some would-be buyers, while others remain on the sidelines hoping fluctuating mortgage rates will stabilize or decline.
Newly released statistics from the MLS for February show upticks in new listings, pending sales, closed sales and median prices compared to January, but when compared to the same month a year ago, figures for those metrics declined:
- Brokers added 5,231 new listings of single family homes and condos to inventory last month, about one-third fewer than twelve months ago.
- Pending sales declined 19%, from the year-ago total of 7,697 to 6,230.
- Year-over-year (YOY) closed sales dropped 17.3%, from 5,147 to 4,258 transactions.
- Median prices slipped 1.7% areawide, from $585,000 to $575,000.
“Although the number of homes for sale in the tri-county area of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties is more than double from a year ago, there were still fewer homes available to buy in February than in January,” observed Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate. “Furthermore,” he continued, “listings were more than 40% lower than pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that homeowners may be holding off on selling until the market stabilizes.”
“Year over year, home sales prices are down, but that isn’t surprising given that a year ago homebuyers were scrambling to buy in the face of mortgage rates that were about to skyrocket. I expect we will see a similar story for the next few months.” Fluctuating rates likely contributed to recent sales activity, suggested Gardner. “What is interesting is that home prices rose between January and February which tells me that buyers jumped on the opportunity to take advantage of mortgage rates that dipped below 6.1% five times between mid-January end early February.”
Watch the 1.25 minute market report video…
Source: NWMLS 3/6/2023