Recently I was asked by someone who knows I am a Seattle Real Estate Agent, about whether or not is was a good time to sell her home. She was asking out of simple curiosity because of what she has been hearing in the media.
I told her that if she has a reason to sell, then it could be a good time to sell if she is willing to adapt (a motivated seller) to the new Seattle real estate market.
That means making sure her house is in very good shape (the best house for the price and location) and priced properly... even aggressively... for the market.
BUT... if she really does not have a real need (not motivated) to sell, then it's not a good time because of the current high inventory levels, and slower sales compared to last year:
ACTIVE listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 15,831 active listings, June 2007 was 12,282, a 28.9% INCREASE, that means a lot more houses competing for buyers this year.
PENDING listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 2,549 pending listings, June 2007 was 3,766, a 32.32% DECREASE, that means a third less buyers making accepted offers on houses this year.
SOLD listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 2,148 sold listings, June 2007 was 3,634, a 40.89% DECREASE, that means more than a third fewer buyers are buying homes.
The absorption rate for June 2008 is 7.3 months of inventory to sell at the current rate of sales, and for June 2007, it was 3.3 months of inventory. A big change in the Seattle real estate market. Those absorption rate numbers are just a snapshot for June 2008 and 2007. These months on hand numbers do not show trending sales.
0 to 3 months is a sellers market
4 to 6 months is a balanced market
7 plus months are a buyers market
Of course, different cities, or neighborhoods (location, location, location) of King County will have very different numbers and absorption rates and this is just a general overview. Absorption rate can also be analyzed by criteria such as price range, or type.
I did not, of course have these numbers off the top of my head for her, but I described in general terms, that the Seattle real estate market has changed from being a sellers market to a buyers market.
As we were finishing the conversation, she said that since her only reason to think about selling was mostly for a change, that she would wait. I said that in that case, she might want to think about making updates to her bathrooms, and kitchen so that with those changes she increases the enjoyment of her home. Then, when she really has a good reason, or need to sell her home, it will also be in better condition to go on the market.
So answering the question: I'm Thinking About Selling My Seattle House, is Now a Good Time? It depends!