The Spring Sales Season Favors Buyers
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) released a press release that signals good news for home buyers, as April 2019 data revealed increasing inventory, slowing price growth rates, and low mortgage rates.
Looking at the NWMLS data as a whole, inventory grew by just under 30 percent in April 2019 compared to this same time last year, with a 5.8 percent uptick in pending sales and a modest 2.5 percent rise in median home prices of single-family homes and condominiums. Inventory growth was much greater in some regions, at a staggering 78 percent in King County and 57 percent in Snohomish County, but many counties and communities had such anemic inventory last year that they are still within a seller’s market. As the press release outlines, “both King County and its 23-county system have around 1.7 months of supply.”
As we shift from the spring and into the summer sales season, transaction volume and median sales prices are expected to pick up, given our region’s job growth, low interest rates, and strong economic activity. James Young, the director of the University of Washington’s Center for Real Estate Research says that “low mortgage rates are enabling buyers in outlying areas along the I-5 corridor to purchase in areas with cheaper prices, notably Skagit, Cowlitz and Whatcom counties.”
Single-family home prices in April 2019 were up 2.4 percent compared to last year in all NWMLS areas, with eight counties achieving double-digit price gains and six reporting decreases (including Clallam, Clark, Ferry, Island, Jefferson, and King counties). An influx of condominium inventory—of 75 percent—was a likely culprit of a slight dip in condominium prices, by 3.2 percent.