The NWMLS and greater Seattle real estate market is still strong, but there are signs of change. For example, NWMLS inventory has skyrocketed to 12,245 active listings heading into December compared to 4,621 active listings at the same time last year. Thus, inventory is at a 2.36 months supply which is the highest since January 2019 when inventory was at 2.4 months supply. Nevertheless, we are coming off historical low inventory; therefore, based on traditional metrics (4 to 6 months is an even market), we are still technically in a seller’s market. However, because the market is comparably slower then the last couple years, sellers are feeling the need to price their homes correctly and buyers are not feeling as rushed when searching for a home.
The main reason for the increase inventory is the lack of the number of sales. For example, there were 4,890 new listing in November, which is down from 6,455 new listings for the same time last year. Thus, new listings were down by 1,565 and normally would reduce inventory if sales kept at a constant pace. But pending and closed sales in November were down by much more than the reduction of new listings. Last November there were 8,571 pending sales, this November there were 5,106. A difference of 3,465. Similarly, sales declined from 8,976 to 5,194; a difference of 3,782. Thus, the reduction of pending and closed sales both were over double the decrease in new listings, and inventory has therefore increased.
Despite the increase in inventory, median prices across the NWMLS are up slightly (0.88%) as compared to last year at this time. Furthermore, sales over a million dollars has increased to 15.84% of the market compared to 13.96% last November. On the other hand, numbers are mixed. For example, in King County, median prices are up just over 1% but average prices are down just over a half percent. In addition, of the 26 counties in the NWMLS, 15 have seen median price increases while 11 have witnessed a decline.
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Is it a buyers' or sellers' market? Technically, it is still a sellers' real estate market, but it does not necessarily feel that way. The good news for sellers are the prices are still up from a year ago. The good news for buyers are they have more options with greater inventory and the market is such that they have more time to make a decision. Nevertheless, the market is always changing, for the most up-to-date information, reach out to a local real estate agent.
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