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June NWMLS Stats

By Natasha King July 13, 2017 0 Comments


Over the last month and a half, I have been amazed at the level of volume we’ve seen in the housing market here in the PNW. After years of frustration and a particularly tough spring, the stats verified that this last June, we saw more homes hit the market since May of 2008! It truly felt like a dam had let loose and almost immediately, the average days on market increased, bidding wars slowed and buyers have finally been able to make strong offers without the pressure to beat out dozens of other people.


Summer slow downs are predictable and are right in line with typical seasonality but the sheer volume this year is a welcome breath of fresh air for frustrated buyers. King County is still #1 in the region when it comes to low inventory. The biggest gains were made in surrounding counties. Overall, the MLS is showing a 16% increase in units this June from the previous month. That being said, there are a lot of buyers in the market so the overall inventory only rose 7% from the previous year.


One of the most important statistics we look at in the real estate industry is months supply of inventory. What this statistic is looking at is if no new homes hit the market moving forward, how long would it take to sell everything that is currently for sale. In a balanced market, we would expect to see 4-6 months supply of inventory. Anything greater would be considered a buyers market and anything less is a seller’s market. King County reported .8 months supply of inventory and the surrounding counties reported less than 2 months supply. This tells us that while we have a greater amount of inventory, it’s still a great time to sell.


A strong economy, job growth, the growing population and low-interest rates are keeping plenty of buyers in the market to help homes sell fast and for top dollar. The increase in inventory does make the market slightly more open to buyers, especially those with low or 0 down payment loans that can make winning a multiple offer situation difficult in the outlining areas.


While single family homes are seeing an increase in inventory, condos are still in short supply. Inventory in the condo market is down 24% from a year ago and only accounts for 8% of the active listings on the market. While condos are more affordable than single family homes, the prices are also increasing at a high rate; 9.6% from last year.


Some other key stats released that are important to buyers and sellers alike:


King County home value increase = 10%

King County average home price = $707,893

Snohomish County home value increase = 9.2%

Snohomish County average home price = $454,906

Pierce County home value increase = 17.5%

Pierce County average home price = $347,854





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                           July 6, 2017


“Typical summer slowdown” may mean opportunities for frustrated house hunters


KIRKLAND, Washington (July 6, 2017) – For frustrated house hunters, there’s hope: the volume of new listings added to inventory during June (13,658) was the highest total for any single month since May 2008 (14,176 new listings), according to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.


“This time of year we see more new listings coming on the market than pending sales, and June didn’t disappoint,” stated J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott.


Noting the pace of sales is slowing and the number of multiple offers is moderating, broker Gary O’Leyar suggested a summer breather is under way (as anticipated), which could yield “the season for a successful purchase” for weary shoppers. O’Leyar, the designated broker/owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, said this mid-summer real estate market “seems to be following a fairly typical seasonal cycle” even though inventory is significantly lower than a year ago.


Northwest MLS director George Moorhead also commented on the “typical summer slowdown,” but said it is more noticeable in outlying areas. “The hot core areas are still quite active as buyers vie for a new home.” He also detected a slight increase in the time it is taking to market a home, and reported some cooling off in the luxury market, saying prices may be reaching a plateau.


For many brokers, rising prices are an ongoing concern, with one industry leader describing the ever- increasing prices as “startling.”


While the number of new listings was up about 7 percent year-over-year, total inventory lagged. Brokers reported 14,482 active listings of single family homes and condos at the end of June, which is down 14 percent from twelve months ago when would-be buyers could choose from 16,838 listings. Compared to the previous month, however, inventory jumped up 16 percent (12,481 vs. 14,482).


System-wide there was just over 1.4 months of inventory, but the supply varied across the 23 counties in the MLS market area. King County continued to have the tightest inventory, with less than a month of supply (0.84). Six other counties reported less than two months of supply (Cowlitz, Douglas, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston). In general, four-to-six months is considered to be a balanced market.


“Inventory continues to go lower as prices continue to climb in Kitsap County, leaving us with about 1.5 months of supply and home prices that are up more than 12 percent from a year ago,” said MLS director Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo.


“Unlike a normal market for buyers, today’s market is not about the current inventory, rather it’s about inventory that is coming on the market,” Wilson commented. “The real story is the increased number of homes that will become available next month, and the month after.” He recommends buyers work out a success strategy with their real estate professional before even looking at their first house.






The increase in the number of new listings coupled with fewer offers for each property means more choices and a little breathing room for the backlog of buyers who have been waiting to buy a home, Scott believes. “For sellers, the market remains at a frenzy level of new listings selling in the first 30 days,” he said.


MLS brokers reported 12,397 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during June for a gain of nearly 3.4 percent from a year ago. Compared to May, the volume of pending sales dropped slightly. Nine counties reported year-over-year decreases in the number of pending sales, with inventory shortages a likely contributing factor since most of these counties show double-digit declines in the number of active listings.


In the four-county region encompassing King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, MLS members notched a record-setting 9,042 pending sales, beating the previous high for the month of June that was reached in 2005. Figures show May also beat the record for that month.


“Strong job growth, price appreciation, and low interest rates continue to fuel the Puget Sound housing market,” stated Scott.


Seattle’s growing population is another likely factor. Recent U.S. Census Bureau data shows Seattle is gaining about 1,100 residents per week, an “astounding” figure, said MLS director Diedre Haines.


“June slowed a bit, probably due to it being summer – but I do not anticipate much of a slowdown this year,” remarked Haines, principal managing broker-South Snohomish County at Coldwell Banker Bain.


“In Snohomish County we are once again experiencing low appraisals,” she said, adding, “I’m not sure why this is happening, especially with regard to new construction.” Haines said new product is selling before it’s out of the ground, with many of these new homes not even hitting the market.


Northwest MLS director Scott Comey also commented on the brisk activity in Snohomish County.


“In Snohomish County, we have been seeing a lot more tech-type workers buying homes,” according to Comey, the owner/designated broker at RE/MAX Elite. “Many of my agents have clients from Microsoft, Amazon, and Google to name a few, where just a couple of years ago we rarely saw them up this way.” To get bigger bang for the buck, Comey said prospective purchasers are being pushed further north, or further south, driving up values in both Snohomish and Pierce counties. “Coupled with Boeing and other local employers doing very well, it is keeping the inventory levels under a month.”


“With interest rates still very low, we are hopeful that those who want to move up into a larger home, aren’t deterred too much,” Comey stated. Although “contingent” offers are a struggle in today’s market, he said many buyers are finding alternative methods to making the move, like bridge loans.


Reflecting strong second-quarter activity, closed sales for June topped the 10,000 mark, a first for Northwest MLS member brokers. Last month’s total of 10,094 closed sales area-wide was up almost 3 percent from the year-ago total of 9,805 closings. Year-to-date sales for the first half of 2017 are up 4.7 percent compared to the first six months of 2016.


Prices for single family homes and condos combined surged 10 percent in June compared to a year ago, rising from $350,000 to $385,000. For the four-county Puget Sound region, year-over-year prices are up about 11.4 percent. In King County, the median price of a single family home (excluding condos) jumped 13.9 percent, from $573,522 to $653,000.


Despite their upward trajectory, prices still matter, according to Northwest MLS director Dick Beeson, who cautioned sellers to “be wary” about unrealistic pricing. He reviewed more than 800 listings offered for sale in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties since January 1 that went off market as expired listings, “mainly because they were over-priced,” he suggested.




“The month-to-month price changes are startling,” remarked Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain. “Eventually we will outpace the first-time homebuyer’s ability to qualify for a mortgage and that will slow the market down somewhat,” he stated, adding, “That said, we believe the biggest challenge is that there is literally no active housing for those age 55+ being developed in the Puget Sound area. Without quality condominium development that provides a place for baby boomers wanting to downsize, they don’t move, thus blocking the next big-home buyer from moving up which in turn stops the domino effect downstream.”


“The market sizzles while sellers fiddle,” quipped Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Gig Harbor. Noting 80-to-90 percent of sellers in the Central Puget Sound counties are accepting offers on their homes within 30 days of listing and marketing it, he acknowledged, “There is no end to the pain buyers are experiencing as they search for a home.”


On a more encouraging note Beeson urged buyers to not give up. “Diligence and prior planning are necessary to win the day. Buyers must be pre-underwritten for a loan, not just pre-approved. They must act decisively, not weakly or slowly. They must keep their composure and perseverance as they lose out on offers before finally winning.”


MLS director George Moorhead agreed. “It is not uncommon to have buyers present offers on eight or more homes before being successful; they also become more aggressive in terms of their offers.” The conversations these buyers have with their brokers also take on an entirely different level of negotiating tactics and swift decisions, according to Moorhead, the designated broker at Bentley Properties.


Buyers continue to suffer from fatigue, reported Haines. “The difference this year is that it seems buyers are more determined and not giving up. Rates have increased a bit, but this doesn’t seem to be a negative for them.” And, she added, “We still struggle with the issue of them waiving their protective rights despite our counsel not to.” Haines said sellers are starting to become adamant that they do not want multiple buyers conducting pre-inspections, but commented, “This is a trend I personally hope continues.”


Wilson also offered advice to buyers. “They need to be clear as to what they will accept, or not. Get pre- underwritten by their lender, be ready for a fast tracked inspection, strong earnest money, strong financing and amount down and put forward the most streamlined offer their situation will allow.”


Commenting on the latest MLS statistics, Grady said the numbers “tell the continuing story of a very tight market created by the situation of a region where far more jobs are being created than new housing units –

– whether they are apartments, condos or single-family homes. This pattern won’t change until developers can out-build net new job creation, especially in the greater Puget Sound area.”


Condos, once the path to ownership for first-time buyers, offer sparse options. Inventory is down 24 percent from a year ago. Condos currently only account for about 8 percent of all active listings, and there is less than a month’s supply.


Condo prices, while more affordable than many single family homes, continue to trend upward. The median sales price for last month’s closed sales of condos was $328,675, an increase of nearly 9.6 percent from a year ago.


Based on his analysis of MLS data, Moorhead noted condos have appreciated in the double digits for the last three years as they play catch-up to single family homes sales. “Condos are typically the next best option for first time buyers who cannot keep up with a surge in pricing from single family homes; however, even condos are being priced out of reach for many new buyers.”


The market frenzy prompts questions about a housing bubble.



“We are often asked about how long this will market last,” said Wilson. His reply? “Jobs in Seattle are still getting stronger, the economy is not yet at full strength, incomes are starting to rise, loan interest rates are low, money is relatively easy to borrow, gas prices are low, the stock market is doing well and the public’s attitude seems to be good. This could last a few years.”


Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of more than 2,200 member offices includes more than 26,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in the state.



Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary – June 2017


Snohomish 2,135 1,580 1,957 1,558 $454,906 $420,000 1.01 1.17
Pierce 2,295 2,326 2,150 1,721 $347,854 $314,965 1.35 1.60
Kitsap 658 765 626 483 $428,098 $335,000 1.58 1.61
Mason 200 360 205 165 $231,074 $214,000 2.18 4.02
Skagit 338 442 283 220 $364,984 $320,000 2.01 2.30
Grays Harbor 208 477 190 140 $187,452 $169,450 3.41 4.46
Lewis 179 341 171 117 $209,747 $200,000 2.91 3.58
Cowlitz 204 232 195 152 $226,486 $213,250 1.53 1.84
Grant 137 360 121 98 $204,557 $192,793 3.67 4.61
Thurston 708 773 710 552 $315,327 $287,450 1.40 2.11
San Juan 54 262 30 30 $794,233 $480,000 8.73 14.61
Island 274 459 214 217 $427,986 $340,000 2.12 2.19
Kittitas 145 249 123 99 $310,524 $260,000 2.52 3.77
Jefferson 123 286 76 58 $353,944 $308,150 4.93 4.13
Okanogan 102 354 57 48 $216,241 $174,750 7.38 12.79
Whatcom 568 833 482 399 $353,603 $320,000 2.09 2.50
Clark 68 89 59 30 $317,077 $306,000 2.97 2.38
Pacific 79 258 79 40 $172,236 $156,500 6.45 5.49
Ferry 9 52 5 5 $210,640 $210,000 10.40 62.00
Clallam 167 334 142 108 $327,292 $295,000 3.09 3.94
Chelan 115 271 100 94 $385,613 $299,250 2.88 4.75
Douglas 51 79 45 45 $362,018 $292,000 1.76 3.21
Others 72 243 68 60 $199,871 $167,750 4.05 4.56
Total 13,658 14,482 12,397 10,094 $488,282 $385,000 1.43 1.72









Homes + SALES Inventory
New Listings Total Active # Pending


# Closings Avg. Price Median Price This month Same mo., year


King 4,769 3,057 4,309 3,655 $705,893 $590,000 0.84 1.02





4-county Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined)


(totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 3706 4778 5903 5116 5490 5079 4928 5432 4569 4675 4126 3166
2001 4334 5056 5722 5399 5631 5568 5434 5544 4040 4387 4155 3430
2002 4293 4735 5569 5436 6131 5212 5525 6215 5394 5777 4966 4153
2003 4746 5290 6889 6837 7148 7202 7673 7135 6698 6552 4904 4454
2004 4521 6284 8073 7910 7888 8186 7583 7464 6984 6761 6228 5195
2005 5426 6833 8801 8420 8610 8896 8207 8784 7561 7157 6188 4837
2006 5275 6032 8174 7651 8411 8094 7121 7692 6216 6403 5292 4346
2007 4869 6239 7192 6974 7311 6876 6371 5580 4153 4447 3896 2975
2008 3291 4167 4520 4624 4526 4765 4580 4584 4445 3346 2841 2432
2009 3250 3407 4262 5372 5498 5963 5551 5764 5825 5702 3829 3440
2010 4381 5211 6821 7368 4058 4239 4306 4520 4350 4376 3938 3474
2011 4272 4767 6049 5732 5963 5868 5657 5944 5299 5384 4814 4197
2012 4921 6069 7386 7015 7295 6733 6489 6341 5871 6453 5188 4181
2013 5548 6095 7400 7462 7743 7374 7264 6916 5951 6222 5083 3957
2014 5406 5587 7099 7325 8055 7546 7169 6959 6661 6469 5220 4410
2015 5791 6541 8648 8671 8620 8608 8248 7792 7179 6977 5703 4475
2016 5420 6703 8130 8332 9153 8869 8545 8628 7729 7487 6115 4727
2017 5710 6024 7592 7621 9188 9042





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