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Monday, February 08, 2021

Northwest Real Estate in January: Sales up 16% YoY, Inventory down 43% YoY

by Calculated Risk on 2/08/2021 12:24:00 PM

Note: Inventory is down sharply in the Northwest almost everywhere except Seattle. And inventory is low in Seattle too, but was even lower a year ago.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Pandemic presents new option for home buyers as market “kept foot firmly on the accelerator”

Some brokers are reporting up to 40 private showings for a single listing, according to Scott. “To compete in today’s ultra-competitive market, we’re seeing some buyers front-loading their offer above the list price,” he reported, explaining, “This is done in an attempt to ‘stop the action’ and push the sellers to accept their offer before the set review date.”

“The ongoing combination of very low mortgage rates and escalating prices has both buyers and sellers taking advantage of the market. Buyers are finding well-priced homes in good condition, and sellers are seeing many multiple offer situations,” reported Dean Rebhuhn, broker-owner at Village Homes and Properties. Lower prices near I-5 locations in Lewis, Cowlitz, and Thurston counties continue to attract buyers, observed Rebhuhn, who credited job opportunities and desirable lifestyles as market drivers.

James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington, said the search for value in outer areas has continued unabated, despite further lockdowns in January. “It is difficult to think of the last time when nearly every Western Washington county with the exception of Clallam, King and Jefferson had double-digit percentage price growth,” he remarked. This year’s “extraordinarily low inventory” (down 43% overall) suggests continued price growth into the spring as demand remains high and interest rates remain low, according to Young.

“It is somewhat of a ‘prisoner’s dilemma’ for the housing market in Western Washington,” Young commented. “Those who own do not want to sell because there is little inventory to buy. They will stay put. Those who want to buy (and get on the housing ladder) cannot get into the market because there is little available for sale.”
emphasis added
The press release is for the Northwest MLS area. There were 5,896 closed sales in January 2021, up 16.2% from 5,074 sales in January 2020.  Inventory for the Northwest is down 43%.

In King County, sales were up 20.5% year-over-year, and active inventory was down 12% year-over-year.

In Seattle, sales were up 28.7% year-over-year, and inventory was UP 47% year-over-year. (inventory in Seattle was extremely low last year).  This puts the months-of-supply in Seattle at just 1.6 months.