Scarce Listings Drive Up Home Prices

"Low inventory" has been the phrase describing our real estate market for months now, and it doesn't look like that will be changing any time soon.

The median price of single-family homes sold in King County last month hit a new high of $514,975, up about 20 percent over the median price a year ago, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) said Monday. This all-time high comes at the same time as the region experiences record-low inventory, creating a hot and active market well before the typically busy spring home-buying season.

The widely-watched gauge of supply (the ratio of active listings to pending sales) hit its lowest level since at least 2003 in all three counties in February, according to The Seattle Times' analysis. Normal is about six months of supply, and last month King and Snohomish counties each had less than a month's supply, while Pierce County had just over a month's supply.

According to The Seattle Times, the historic shortage of homes for sale combined with a recent drop in interest rates, has caused the dramatic run-up in prices, experts say. In February, King County had 1,923 homes listed for sale, the MLS reported, but a greater number of pending sales that hadn't closed yet: 2,299.

"We cannot continue to sell more homes than we list," said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate. "When are we going to start seeing some listings? That scares me more than anything else."

The current run-up in prices isn't like the 2006-2007 bubble, Gardner said, because buyers have more skin in the game and lenders are vetting borrowers more closely. Still, Gardner expects price gains to slow down eventually.

The Seattle Times stated the Eastside remains the most expensive submarket: It's median price, $739,975, was about 20 percent higher than a year ago. Southwest King County and North King County also saw median prices rise roughly 20 percent to $320,500 and $497,500, respectively.

So if you're still waiting for a sign to sell your home, and you haven't jumped into this profitable sellers' market yet, give me a call and we can get your home listed to sell for top dollar.

For more information, read the original article from The Seattle Times.

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Posted on March 11, 2016 at 9:23 am
Steve Harwood | Category: Home Selling, Local News

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