September 6, 2017, BELLEVUE, WA – “It’s been the best summer for sales activity, with June, July, and August clocking in a record number of transactions,” says Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “The other big stories are the high sales activity compared to new listings coming on the market; pending sales activity virtually matching the number of new listings in August, and record low inventory.”
As the summer market comes to a close and we head into fall, low inventory appears to be the new normal. Overall inventory is the lowest it’s been since 2007 in the four-county area of King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap Counties. Could it be that buyers who have been waiting for months to find the perfect home are now willing to settle for the “less than perfect ones?” Or, are they looking farther out because they’ve given up on finding something in their dream neighborhood?
According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, last month was the lowest August on record for total active inventory. In King County listings are down almost 21 percent from August of 2016; listings are also down 10.6 percent in Snohomish, 14.46 in Pierce, and 18.85 in Kitsap Counties. September and October will see new listing inventory coming on the market drop by about 20 percent from the summer months, so the next two months will be the best opportunity for selection and availability for buyers to purchase a home, because starting November the number of new listings will drop another 30 percent over the winter.
John L. Scott office leaders around the Puget Sound are saying that houses are still selling in a short period of time but there are not as many multiple offers because of the expected seasonal shift due to vacations, back-to-school activities, and some buyer fatigue. They’re also seeing more sellers willing to accept contingent offers, which is something new, especially in areas close to job center. Some of those homes may have been over-priced and didn’t sell within the first week. Ergo, sellers are willing to negotiate more concessions. Those homes may have been victims of the price appreciation rush that slowed, and dropped slightly, in some areas around the Puget Sound. For instance, median home prices dropped ever so slightly for Mercer Island, Bothell, Snoqualmie, Redmond, and Kirkland last month.
Interest rates and job growth also play into the record-breaking summer; we’re experiencing the lowest rates since last November, and job growth remains very strong.
The luxury market continues to outpace last year’s market in a huge way, with 504 homes selling over one million dollars last month in King County compared to last year’s 332 homes, equating to a 51% increase in homes sold. A total of 24 uber luxury homes sold (priced above $3 million), compared to last year’s 14 homes, a 71% increase.
About John L. Scott Real Estate
Founded in 1931, John L. Scott has served the Western Regional real estate industry for over 85 years. The John L. Scott network is made up of 107 offices and more than 3,200 sales associates in Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho. In 2016 John L. Scott completed over 37,000 transactions, with over 13 billion dollars in sales volume. For more information please visit www.johnlscott.com