Washington State NWMLS Market Update for October 2022

The latest Northwest MLS stats show 6,435 pending sales last month, and about the same volume (6,464) of closed sales. Both figures were down from the year-ago totals, with pending sales dropping about 39% and closings declining around 35%.

Median sales prices still rose year-over-year in most of the 26 counties on the report. Area-wide, the median price on last month’s completed sales of single family homes and condominiums was $595,000. That was an increase of about 3.5% from twelve months ago, but a decline of approximately 9% from May when prices peaked at $660,000.

Last month’s closings in King County had a median price of $811,000, up more than 8% from the year-ago figure of $750,000.

Brokers added 7,260 new listings during October, down about 21% from the same month a year ago. At month end, the selection included 14,214 active listings of single family homes and condos system-wide. That was more than double the year-ago inventory of 6,588.

The uptick in supply boosted the months of inventory figure to 2.2. That is the highest level, based on this metric, since January 2019.

“Even with more choice on the market than we’ve seen in several years, pending sales fell last month,” remarked Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate. “The cause is almost certainly rising mortgage rates, which rose from 6.65% early in the month and ended above 7.1%; this is clearly having an impact on buyers,” he added.

Gardner believes many buyers may remain sidelined until mortgage rates stabilize, but added he had “bad news for those buyers who are sitting on the fence waiting for home prices to implode.” He expects regional home values will turn modestly negative in 2023, but said, “those who hope to pick up a home ‘on the cheap’ are likely in for a long wait.”

Also commenting on interest rates was the National Association of REALTORS®, which noted the slight dip in mortgage rates this week despite the Federal Reserve approving another 0.75% rate hike for the fourth time this year.

NAR cited Freddie Mac’s 30-year fixed mortgage rate that fell to 6.95%, down from 7.08% the previous week. “It seems that rates have already priced in some of the effect of the Fed’s higher interest rates. It is also promising that this was likely the last rate hike of this magnitude, as indicated by the Fed,” wrote Nadia Evangelou, NAR’s senior economist and director of forecasting.

Evangelou also speculated “a return to the sky-high interest rates of the 1980s isn’t likely in today’s economy” and drew comparisons to payments now with those of 40 years ago in today’s money. “In real terms, after adjusting the median home price for inflation, the monthly mortgage payment was about $450 higher in 1982 than it is now,” she wrote in a blog, adding, “If mortgage rates were currently 9% the monthly mortgage payment would be comparable to 1982 rates. Thus, in real values, current buyers pay less for their home purchase than buyers who purchased their home 40 years ago, although home prices are significantly higher now.”

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Source: NWMLS 11/7/2022

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for September 2022

The report on September activity shows active listings are nearly doubled from a year ago, pending sales declined more than 31%, but prices in most counties are still rising.

  • Closed sales during September were down 27% from a year ago.
  • The median price on last month’s sales across the 26 counties in the report rose about 5.1% from a year ago, increasing from $570,000 to $599,000. Prices are down slightly from the August median of $600,000 and from the year’s peak of $660,000 that was reported in May.
  • There were 15,008 active listings at the end of September, a jump of more than 93% from the year-ago total.
  • Measured by months of supply, there are only two months of inventory, an improvement from one year ago when there was only about 0.75 months of supply.
  • The inventory of single-family homes (excluding condominiums) nearly doubled from a year ago, up 98.6%. Condo listings jumped about 62%.
  • Pending sales declined from a year ago, more than 31%. Last month’s pendings also fell 18.7%.

Uncertainty about the direction of mortgage rates is prompting buyer hesitancy, according to some market watchers.

Allison Schrager, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist who covers economics, recently commented about buyers “sitting on the sidelines until rates or prices or both decline.” She faults the Fed’s interference, writing “don’t count on rates falling to those pandemic lows. They were the result of extraordinary market manipulation from the Fed,” suggesting there will be a “hangover from the very low rates in 2020 and 2021.”

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Source: NWMLS 10/6/2022

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for August 2022

In a report summarizing August activity, Northwest MLS figures showed a continued buildup of inventory – nearly double the selection of a year ago and more than three times the offerings at the end of the first quarter.

Brokers added 9,914 new listings to inventory during August, a drop from both July’s total of 11,805 and the year-ago total (11,437). At month end there were 14,683 active listings of single family homes and condominiums across the 26 counties in the NWMLS report.

Fewer sales were reported than a year ago, but both pending sales (mutually accepted offers) and closed sales improved on July’s figures.

Northwest MLS members reported 9,552 pending sales, a drop of nearly 22% from the year-ago total of 12,238 pendings. Every county except Columbia experienced a decline in pending sales. Activity picked up from July when there were 8,775 pending sales, a gain of nearly 8.9%.

Similarly, the volume of closed sales fell from a year ago. MLS members recorded 7,998 completed transactions, improving 4.6% from July’s total of 7,645. But last month’s closings were down about 24% from the same month a year ago when members notched 10,571 closed sales.

The median price on sales of single family homes and condos that closed during August was $600,000, up more than 3.6% from a year ago, but down slightly from July when the area-wide price was $625,000.

A comparison of the four counties in the Puget Sound region shows year-over-year median prices for single family homes increased from 5.9% in King County to 9.2% in Kitsap County.

A check of the sales price to list price ratio shows an area-wide ratio of 99.3%. In three counties – Pierce, Thurston and Douglas – sellers received slightly more than their asking price. In ten other counties, the ratio was between 99.1% and 99.9%.

Despite the surge in inventory, the Northwest MLS report shows there is only 1.84 months of supply – and that’s down from July’s figure of 2.01 months. Only six counties had more than three months of supply: Adams, Ferry, Lewis, Okanogan, Pacific, and San Juan. Most industry analysts consider four to six months of inventory to be a balanced market.

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Source: NWMLS 9/8/2022

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for July 2022


The MLS report summarizing July statistics show 2.01 months of inventory system wide. Inventory of single family homes and condominiums across the 26 counties served by Northwest MLS has not exceeded two months since January 2019 when there was 2.3 months of supply.

Active listings have nearly doubled from a year ago, jumping from 7,948 offerings of single family homes and condos to 15,381 (up 93.5%). The addition of 11,805 new listings during the month contributed to the boost. Compared to June, the selection expanded by 1,976 listings (up 14.7%).

Evidence of slower activity appears in the sales figures. Pending sales retreated about 24% from a year ago, dropping from 11,567 to 8,775 mutually accepted offers. The NWMLS report shows a nearly 30% year-over-year decrease in closed sales (declining from 10,919 closings to 7,645).

Despite fewer sales, prices still rose, but at a slower rate. The median price on last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condos increased 6.1% from a year ago, rising from $589,000 to $625,000. For single family homes only (excluding condos), prices jumped about 6.6% and condo prices gained more than 8.6%.

In the four-county Puget Sound region, price changes ranged from a gain of about 2.7% in King County (from $789,000 to $810,000) to a jump of nearly 12.7% in Pierce County (from $501,500 to $565,000). Kitsap prices rose 5.4% while prices in Snohomish County increased 9.3%.

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Source: NWMLS 8/4/2022

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for June 2022

Housing statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service for June show signs of a shifting market, creating opportunities for some buyers. Compared to a year ago, NWMLS brokers reported a healthy jump in inventory, double-digit drops in both pending and closed sales, and the smallest year-over-year increase in prices since June 2020.

Northwest MLS brokers added 14,223 new listings of single family homes and condos to inventory during June, up from both May, when they added 13,075 homes system-wide, and a year ago, when they added 13,111 properties to the database. Last month’s total was the highest volume of new listings since May 2019 when brokers tallied 14,689 new listings.

At the end of June there were 13,405 active listings of single family homes and condominiums. That’s more than double the inventory of a year ago and the best selection since October 2019.

With the uptick in months of supply of inventory, we reached nearly six weeks (1.48 months) by the end of June.

Both pending sales and closed sales declined from a year ago. MLS members reported 8,937 pending sales during June, down 27.5% from the year-ago total of 12,328, and down 3.8% from May.

Closed sales also fell from a year earlier (down about 17.2%), but last month’s total of 9,047 completed transactions nearly matched May’s volume of 9,096.

The latest MLS report shows area-wide prices rose about 10.4%, from a median price of $589,000 to $650,000. On a percentage basis, that is the smallest year-over-year (YOY) gain since June 2020 when prices rose around 5.7%.

King County had the second highest sales price last month, coming in at $851,000. That represents a 9.1% increase from a year ago, but a slight decline (3.4%) from May’s figure of $880,000.

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Source: NWMLS 7/6/2022

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for May 2022

marketsnapshot 05-22

NWMLS members added 13,075 new listings to inventory during May, up 9.7% from a year earlier and the highest monthly number since June 2021.

At the end of May, buyers could choose from 8,798 active listings system-wide, up a whopping 59% from a year ago when there were only 5,533 properties in the database. That is the largest selection since September 2020 when there were 9,099 single family homes and condominiums offered for sale across the 26 counties served by Northwest MLS.

“The significant increase in the number of homes for sale has some speculating that the market is about to implode, but that is very unlikely,” stated Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate. “What’s more likely to occur is that the additional supply will lead us toward a more balanced market, which after years of such lopsided conditions, is much needed.”

Even with the healthy uptick in inventory, there is still less than one month of supply area-wide (0.97 months). Twenty of the 26 counties in the report are showing more than a month of supply, with the tightest inventory (0.85 months or less) in the four-county Puget Sound region.

Both pending sales (mutually accepted offers) and closed sales during May were down from a year ago, but up from the previous month.

Pending sales declined about 11.7% from twelve months ago but increased 8.2% compared with April. Members reported 10,563 pending sales of homes and condos last month, up from April’s figure of 9,760, but down from the year-ago total of 11,969.

Closed sales dipped slightly from a year ago (down about 3%) but rose 9% from April. Members completed 9,096 sales last month, which was 278 fewer than a year ago. May’s total outgained April by 752 transactions.

Buyers can expect to pay more for homes and condos, although the increases may be moderating. Last month’s system-wide median price of $660,000 was up 12.8% from the year-ago figure of $585,000. Comparing percentages, that was the smallest YOY increase since December 2020 when it was 12.2%.

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Source: NWMLS 6/6/2022

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for April 2022

marketsnapshot 04-22

Rising interest rates and inflation, coupled with slight improvement in inventory, may bring some normalcy to Western Washington’s frenzied housing market suggest some brokers with Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Last month’s sales of single family homes and condominiums across 26 counties in the report had a list price to sales price ratio of 107.8%, which was down from March when it reached a 12-month peak of 108.2%. A year ago, the ratio was 106.6%.

Member-brokers added 11,681 new listings of single family homes and condos during April, the highest number since last July when 12,916 listings were added. Only two counties, King and Jefferson, had year-over-year drops in inventory.

At month end, the selection of homes and condos in the database totaled 6,514, the highest level since September 2021 when there were 7,757 total active listings.

Notably, the number of new listings (11,681) surpassed the number of pending sales (9,760), to help boost inventory. Pending sales were down about 7.8% from a year ago and down 3% from March.

Commenting on April’s improvement in total inventory compared to a year ago, James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington, suggested “This is evidence that interest rates are having a cooling effect on some parts of the suburban market and along the I-5 corridor.”

Area-wide prices for single family home sales (excluding condos) in King County also increased, climbing nearly 20% from a year ago, from $830,000 to $995,000.

Closed sales of homes and condos slid from year ago, from 8,791 to 8,344 for a drop of around 5.1%.

“We are starting to see signs of impact from the significant rise in mortgage rates earlier this year, such as an increase in active listings and months of inventory creeping higher, but the full impact will likely not be felt for a few months,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate.

Commenting on growing inventory of single family homes (up 27% from a year earlier), Young suggested higher priced homes requiring a mortgage “are feeling some heat from recent interest rates.”

The NWMLS report shows there was about three weeks (.78 months) of inventory of single family homes and condos combined at the end of April. By this metric, that is the highest level in nearly 18 months. MLS data show there was .80 months of supply in October 2020.

Despite the improving inventory, and in spite of rising interest rates, brokers report brisk activity and are not seeing prices ease much.

“One thing that has not been impacted by rising financing costs is home price growth,” Gardner said, pointing to double-digit gains in nearly every county, “including a whopping 27% in Snohomish County, the highest by far in the four-county Puget Sound region.”

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Source: NWMLS 5/5/2022

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for February 2022

NWMLS 02-22

Multiple offers “the norm” for home buyers, but may ease with uptick in listings

Multiple offer situations are the norm for today’s home buyers, but some brokers with Northwest Multiple Listing Service suggest February’s improving inventory and a slowing pace of price increases may ease some of the competitive pressures.

Commenting on the latest statistical report from Northwest MLS, representatives of the service expressed optimism for the housing market as pandemic-related restrictions ease, but also uncertainty due to the global economic crisis around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Northwest MLS brokers added 7,920 new listings to inventory during February, a 6.8% improvement from a year ago, and a gain of more than 33% from January’s total of 5,927. Pent-up demand led to big month-over-month gains in pending sales and more shrinkage in overall supply.

Sellers system-wide accepted 7,697 offers on their homes during February, about the same number (7,724) as a year ago, but a 21% jump from January’s volume of pending sales (6,350). Fourteen of the 26 counties in the MLS report had fewer pending sales than a year ago, a likely consequence of tight supply.

Closed sales also reflected 2022’s slower start compared to a year ago. Member-brokers logged 5,147 closed sales during February, a drop of 665 units (down 11.4%) from a year ago. This year’s volume of completed transactions through February is lagging year-ago totals by 12.6%.

Prices continue to trend upward. The area-wide median price for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums was $585,000, up 14.3% from a year ago, and up 5.4% from January.

Prices for single family homes (excluding condos) rose at a smaller rate, about 12.2%, increasing from $535,000 a year ago to $600,000 last month.

Industry analysts believe conditions will probably continue to favor sellers.

At the end of February, there were 3,461 total active listings in the MLS database, up from January’s total of 3,092 for a gain of nearly 12%, but down about 19.5% from twelve months ago when inventory included 4,298 listings of single family homes and condominiums.

Measured by months of supply, there was about 19 days (0.67 months) at the end of February. That was the highest level since September 2021 when the MLS reported 0.75 months of supply.

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Source: NWMLS 3/7/2022

Spokane Association of Realtors® Home Sales Report for January 2022

Source: SAR MLS 2/22

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for January 2022

marketsnapshot

Northwest MLS brokers see signs of busy spring market despite slow January

A frigid first week of January, surges in coronavirus cases, and depleted inventory were among factors brokers from Northwest Multiple Listing Service cited for last month’s slower than year-ago sales.

In newly released statistics for January, the MLS reported 6,350 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums during January, about 1,000 fewer the same month a year ago for a drop of 14%. The year-over-year (YOY) number of closed sales also fell, dropping from 5,896 completed transactions to 5,085 for a decline of nearly 13.8%).

Broker-members added 5,927 new listings during January, nearly 1,000 fewer than the same month a year ago, but an improvement on December’s volume of 4,617. Only five counties reported YOY gains in new listings.

Last month’s pending sales outgained new listings to further shrink inventory. At month end the selection included a meager 3,092 active listings, down more than 30% from a year ago. There is about 2.5 weeks of supply (0.61 months) across the 26 counties served by Northwest MLS.

King County had the steepest drop in active listings, shrinking nearly 59% from a year ago, followed by Jefferson County, down 40%, and Snohomish County, down more than 35%.

A comparison of counties in the listing service report shows only about half of them have more than one month of supply, and these areas tend to be in more rural areas. King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties all have less than two weeks of supply. Kitsap County is slightly better with 0.58 months.

Last month’s prices were up nearly 14.9% from a year ago, climbing from $483,250 to $555,000. Five counties reported price gains of 30% or more, led by Okanogan at 46.3%. Other counties with price increases of at least 30% were Chelan, Kittitas, Pacific, and San Juan.

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Source: NWMLS 2/7/2022