Both pending sales and new listing activity around Western Washington surged during March as buyers, sellers, and brokers emerged from February’s record snowfall.
Brokers added 10,516 new listings of single family homes and condos to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service inventory last month, the highest monthly volume since August 2018. Compared to the same month a year ago, new listings across the 23 counties in the report were down slightly (79 fewer units).
MLS members also reported 10,261 pending sales during the same timeframe, the highest number of mutually accepted offers since July, and nearly matching the year-ago total of 10,311.
“After the housing adjustment in 2018, this year’s spring market is back to frenzied in the more affordable and mid-price ranges,” remarked J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. Noting March is the start of the prime-time selling season, he expects this year “will be no exception.” He also commented on improved affordability from last fall’s price adjustments in the close-in job centers of Seattle and the Eastside. “This improved affordability, along with lower interest rates and very strong job growth, all point us in the right direction for red-hot acceleration again this year,” Scott stated.
Year-over-year prices area-wide were up 3.5 percent, rising from $401,761 to $415,950, with most counties reporting gains. King County was an exception. Prices there were flat (down 0.4 percent), slipping from the year-ago median of $625,000 to last month’s figure of $622,500, but rising from February’s price of $604,000.
Compared to February, prices rose 2.2 percent system-wide. The four-county Puget Sound region had larger month-to-month increases, led by Kitsap County, up 5.9 percent from February. Prices in Snohomish County jumped nearly 5.5 percent, while King County’s median prices rose more than 3 percent when comparing February to March.
Commenting on the uptick in new listings and new sales, broker Dean Rebhuhn pointed to lower mortgage interest rates and a growing selection of properties as drivers of activity. “Well-priced properties are selling. Buyers who are getting fully underwritten loan commitments are winning the prize — the home,” stated Rebhuhn, the owner of Village Homes and Properties in Woodinville.
At month end, there were 12,017 active listings of single family homes and condos in the Northwest MLS database. That represents an increase of more than 36 percent from a year ago when there were only 8,825 active listings. Inventory more than doubled in King County compared to a year ago, rising from 2,060 active listings to 4,263 at the end of March. Nine counties reported less inventory than 12 months ago.
Even with improving inventory, there is less than two months of supply overall and in seven counties, including Pierce (1.2 months), Snohomish (1.3 months), Kitsap (1.4 months) and King (nearly 1.9 months).
Lewis County Real Estate By the Numbers
New listings in March 2019 — 112
New listings in March 2018 — 119
Total active listings in March 2019 — 202
Total active listings in March 2018 — 211
Pending sales in March 2019 — 142
Pending sales in March 2018 — 138
Median sale price in March 2019 — $250,400
Median sale price in March 2018 — $225,000