Spring 2016 King County WA Housing Market Trends

Filed in How's the Market by on February 15, 2016 0 Comments

The Seattle and Eastside housing market is starting out 2016 with another low housing inventory situation. The graph below shows trends over the past two years, and note the pale green bar, which is the total number of homes available for sale.

2016-Jan-graph550   Jan2016-stats-550


In January we had nearly 28% fewer homes for sale compared to 2015, while pending sales were down only 4.6%. This implies that competition was heavier than last year at this time, seeing as buyers managed to close on nearly the same number of homes despite the fact that inventory was down sharply.


The graph below shows median pricing trends over the past 2 years.



The graph below reflects inventory trends by showing the ‘Months of Inventory” remaining. In other words, if homes continued to go pending at the current rate and no new homes were listed, we would run out of inventory in 1.2 months. Anything under 3 months is considered a seller’s market.



Trend Summary:

The graph at the top reflects the seasonal character of our market. We tend to start out with the lowest inventory in January, and as you can see, New Listings (the blue line) increase throughout the spring, typically topping out in April or May.

Pending Sales, the red line, also tend to start out hot, and in my experience whenever the red line matches the blue line we see many multiple offers.  Note that Pending Sales typically top out in late spring and decline over the summer, usually followed by a slight perk for a month or two in the fall.


From a buyer’s perspective, getting started early can be a boost because, as you can see from the Pending Sale line, there are fewer buyers out getting homes under contract early in the year than there typically are a few months later. (However, part of that Pending Sale stat is due to fewer homes being available for sale early on.) If things get too frenetic in the spring, remember that our market tends to slow down in the summer, and if we have a truly ‘slow’ month it’s typically August. Towards the end of the year, even if there’s less inventory to choose from, an advantage for buyers is that some of the competition is distracted by the holidays and there is less daylight time for home showing – in other words, things tend to be a bit less ideal for sellers and this can make things easier.


We think April is a great month in which to list a home because sellers can benefit from spring activity that may have resulted in a boost in home values. Buyers looking in the late spring are also more likely to have been in one or two multiple offers and may be more determined to not have to go through that process indefinitely.  If you’re listing in the late spring or especially the summer, just be aware when talking with your agent about pricing that it is generally a good idea to not count on prices continuing to go up significantly from the spring stats, even if they have been going up since January. As you can see from the middle graph above, Seattle area prices tend to increase during the spring but then flatten out during the summer, and even in a hot market an overpriced home can sit around for a while.

If you’re thinking of listing with us this spring, please call us now so that we can help you get prepared. Usually we counsel and work with sellers for at least a few weeks prior to the time we stage the home and have photos taken. Your home is a huge investment and it makes sense to do everything it takes to get as much value out of it as possible.


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About the Author ()

Irene Nash has been representing Seattle and Eastside home sellers and buyers in real estate since 1999. She and her husband Mike specialize in straightforward communication and providing top-notch staging and photography for every home listing.

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