Real Estate February 20, 2020

Low Housing Inventory Means Changing Your Strategy

Locally, we have been experiencing a Seller’s Market for some time now and housing inventory in our area – calculated by the Northwest MLS (NWMLS) using the number of properties for sale, pended, and sold – is very low. In December, we saw fewer homes for sale in King County than any other point since early 2018, and January did not bring much relief. Comparing current inventory from the same point last year, in King, Pierce, Kitsap, and Snohomish Counties combined, the inventory has dropped over 41%, and for King County alone, the number jumps to 47% (see the chart below). What does that mean for potential buyers? Let’s break it down.

The housing markets in Seattle, Tacoma, and the outlying areas have become so hot that open houses are often bringing scores of potential buyers. Historically low interest rates and major job growth are contributing to the demand for both resale and new construction residential real estate. Depending on the pricing and placement of a listing, buyers can expect fierce competition, including bidding wars and escalators, listings only lasting a few days, and requests for pre-offer inspections. According to data from the NWMLS, appreciation is rising rapidly, and areas that have typically been more affordable are now seeing sharp increases in median home prices.

If you are considering selling your house, this is an ideal time to do so. If you are looking to purchase a home, it is important to create a game plan so that your offer stands out from the rest. Mortgage interest rates will inevitably rise, so regardless of the competitive climate, making a move now could save you money in the long run. Not sure where to start? As an experienced, full-service REALTOR®, I can guide you through the process.


NWMLS Chart Depicting Months of Inventory Jan-2019 to Jan-2020

Months of Inventory of Single Family Homes in King County*

* All reports are published February 2020, based on data available at the end of January 2020, except for the today stats. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Neither the Board or its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Board or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. Report reflects activity by all brokers participated in the MLS.