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Brokers say all parties in housing transactions need to recalibrate during shifting market

Latest Press Release - July Statistical Data

KIRKLAND, Washington (August 4, 2022) - New statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service confirm reports of a shifting housing market, prompting one industry leader to suggest "all parties involved in a transaction today have to recalibrate."

"Today's buyers have their cups finally overflowing with options as residential inventory grows to about two months of supply," said Dick Beeson, managing broker at RE/MAX Northwest Realtors in Gig Harbor. 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.

Commenting on the "many moving parts" of the market and the need to recalibrate, Beeson said sellers "are starting to see that overpricing just ain't in the cards right now." He also noted buyers still have to compete with other would-be homeowners, and depending on the property, some sellers are receiving offers over their asking price. "Buyer and seller expectations have changed. It feels like things are starting to normalize a little," Beeson remarked.

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%.

"Buyer opportunities have returned to the Puget Sound market, including increased availability and selection of properties, as well as fewer multiple offer/premium pricing situations," said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

A check of Northwest MLS statistics illustrates Scott's point. Sellers in half the 26 counties accepted full price or above asking price offers. Based on the sales price to list price ratio, sellers of homes in Thurston County received 103.1% of their listing price to top the list. The other 12 counties where homes sold at or above the list price were Chelan, Clark, Cowlitz, Franklin, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom. 

The market balance is favoring buyers, reported Dean Rebhuhn, owner at Village Homes and Properties in Woodinville. "After experiencing multiple offers, shrinking inventory, or not being able to include inspection or financing contingencies with their offers, buyers now have choices," he explained.

Noting King County had about seven weeks of inventory at the end of July (1.86 months) - about double May's supply (0.83 months) - Rebhuhn described sales as "very good," but said savvy sellers are making certain their homes are "priced right to win the sale. Overpriced listings have missed the market."

Lennox Scott reported some buyers around Puget Sound are experiencing "buyer gridlock," meaning they are seeking to sell their current home before getting under contract for their next property. "Home sale contingencies are a useful tool for homeowners in similar situations during this time."

Northwest MLS director Frank Leach, broker/owner at RE/MAX Platinum Services in Silverdale, said Kitsap County continues to be a hot market, with homes in the $400,000-to-$700,000 price range drawing multiple offers. "Open house traffic is increasing, and we continue to see an influx of buyers from the greater Puget Sound region and from out of state who are moving to take advantage of Kitsap's quality of life and diverse work force."

Like nearly every county in the Northwest MLS service area, Kitsap had fewer pending sales than a year ago (483 versus 580 for a drop of 16.7%), but compared to June, brokers reported 27 more pending sales (up 5.9%). Year-over-year prices on closed sales in Kitsap rose 5.4%, from $507,500 to $535,000.

Leach also noted marketing times continue to be brisk, saying most sellers receive offers within 15 days, although he expects that to increase as inventory grows. Buyer concessions on resale homes are also on the rise, according to Leach. Builders are building "at a monumental rate" while trying to adjust to increases in mortgage rates. "We are seeing builders moving their price points down and providing incentives to buyers in closing costs and buydowns to help borrowers obtain lower interest rates."

John Deely, executive vice president of Coldwell Bank Bain, said, "We are coming off the fevered pitch of a market that had tremendous velocity over the last few years. With listings starting to build again we are seeing a bit of a natural slowdown, yet still very much a sellers' market."

Industry experts consider less than four months of inventory to be a "seller's market." Deely noted every county in the NWMLS report except San Juan and Columbia had less than four months. All four counties in the Puget Sound region had less than 1.9 months of supply.

The good news, according to Deely, is "not only is there more inventory for buyers to view, but sellers who were on the fence about placing their home on the market, mainly because they had nowhere to go, are now seeing potential."

Commenting on the slowing rate of price increases, Deely noted "we are not seeing median prices drop significantly. Slight seasonal decreases from May to July are typical for this time of year after the spring market, with this year further impacted in July by a heat wave and spike in travel."

Only two counties, Ferry and Island, reported a year-over-year drop in median prices, according to the MLS report. Nine counties experienced single-digit appreciation in July compared to 12 months ago, with the remaining 15 having double-digit gains.

The latest Northwest MLS report mirrors some of the findings from the National Association of REALTORS┬« and its Confidence Index for June. (Figures for July are not yet available.) NAR's data showed the average number of offers per property dipped to three from a previous high of five. Median days on the market for homes nationwide was 14, a record low. Nearly a third (30%) of buyers waived inspection and appraisal contingencies, which NAR said has held fairly steady since the start of the pandemic. 

Northwest Multiple Listing Service is a not-for-profit, member-owned organization that facilitates cooperation among its member real estate firms. With more than 2,500 member firm offices and 32,000 brokers across Washington state, NWMLS (www.nwmls.com) is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Based in Kirkland, Washington, its service area spans 26 counties, and it operates 21 local service centers.

Single Fam. Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

MONTHS OF INVENTORY

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avg. Price

Median Price

This month

Same mo., year ago

King

4,009

4,718

2,705

2,535

$1,018,043

$810,000

1.86

0.66

Snohomish

1,843

2,160

1,320

1,149

$805,521

$737,500

1.88

0.53

Pierce

1,807

2,340

1,426

1,261

$627,212

$565,000

1.86

0.66

Kitsap

564

711

483

391

$650,786

$535,000

1.82

0.87

Mason

182

282

136

114

$521,041

$409,500

2.47

0.74

Skagit

251

353

215

156

$654,999

$549,950

2.26

0.79

Grays Harbor

226

429

165

116

$384,778

$361,000

3.70

1.48

Lewis

182

344

125

91

$439,130

$405,000

3.78

1.32

Cowlitz

180

237

155

132

$407,535

$391,250

1.80

0.88

Grant

133

213

112

100

$405,710

$398,250

2.13

1.34

Thurston

571

694

502

464

$552,507

$500,000

1.50

0.54

San Juan

48

127

26

25

$1,615,400

$1,150,000

5.08

3.03

Island

229

280

207

128

$605,331

$534,950

2.19

0.66

Kittitas

124

217

94

84

$833,130

$622,475

2.58

1.35

Jefferson

82

106

70

62

$730,445

$698,750

1.71

1.29

Okanogan

70

171

63

46

$490,905

$387,450

3.72

2.40

Whatcom

568

733

361

286

$636,468

$582,500

2.56

0.79

Clark

103

143

96

81

$588,003

$530,000

1.77

0.58

Pacific

75

160

59

42

$373,519

$344,500

3.81

1.33

Ferry

8

31

3

10

$207,670

$194,500

3.10

2.60

Clallam

122

195

110

91

$536,083

$485,000

2.14

0.88

Chelan

166

280

122

110

$702,389

$614,500

2.55

1.29

Douglas

58

97

52

46

$499,481

$455,000

2.11

0.70

Adams

23

41

19

18

$315,389

$306,327

2.28

1.69

Walla Walla

71

97

68

55

$478,327

$417,000

1.76

0.80

Columbia

9

24

13

3

$769,667

$650,000

8.00

2.00

Others

101

198

68

49

$467,819

$391,000

4.04

1.85

Total

11,805

15,381

8,775

7,645

$766,244

$625,000

2.01

0.73

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

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

8514

8637

7441

7740

6094

4460

2018

5484

5725

7373

7565

8742

8052

7612

6893

6235

6367

5328

4037

2019

5472

4910

7588

8090

8597

8231

7773

7345

6896

6797

5788

4183

2020

5352

6078

6477

5066

7297

8335

8817

9179

8606

7934

6122

4851

2021

5216

5600

8002

7716

8674

8824

8049

8586

7880

7405

6022

3943

2022

4405

5560

7312

6908

7482

6031

5934

 

 

 

 

 

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