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Brokers, home buyers welcome growing inventory and market returning to "some sense of normalcy"

Latest Press Release - June Statistical Data

KIRKLAND, Washington (July 6, 2022) - Housing statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service for June show signs of a shifting market, creating opportunities for some buyers. Compared to a year ago, Northwest MLS (NWMLS) brokers reported a healthy jump in inventory, double-digit drops in both pending and closed sales, and the smallest year-over-year (YOY) increase in prices since June 2020.

"What the changes mean in general terms, are more houses on the market, longer market times, stabilizing home prices, fewer showings and open house visitors, fewer offers at one time, and more price adjustments," said Frank Wilson, Kitsap regional manager at John L. Scott Real Estate.

"It's nice to see a more balanced market for buyers," remarked Dean Rebhuhn, owner at Village Homes and Properties in Woodinville, pointing to the increase in new listings, more price reductions, and still favorable mortgage rates as factors that are creating opportunities for buyers. "The return of financing and inspection contingencies are now the norm," he reported.

Northwest MLS brokers added 14,223 new listings of single family homes and condos to inventory during June, up from both May, when they added 13,075 homes system-wide, and a year ago, when they added 13,111 properties to the database. Last month's total was the highest volume of new listings since May 2019 when brokers tallied 14,689 new listings.

At the end of June there were 13,405 active listings of single family homes and condominiums in the Northwest MLS database, which includes 26 of the state's 39 counties. That's more than double the inventory of a year ago (6,358 listings), and the best selection since October 2019 when buyers could choose from 14,379 listings.

Both pending sales (mutually accepted offers) and closed sales declined from a year ago. MLS members reported 8,937 pending sales during June, down 27.5% from the year-ago total of 12,328, and down 3.8% from May.

Closed sales also fell from a year earlier (down about 17.2%), but last month's total of 9,047 completed transactions nearly matched May's volume of 9,096.

"While there was a decrease in closed and pending sales in June, there is no reason to panic as we continue to move toward a more balanced market," said John Deely, executive vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain. "Having the standing active inventory rise above the closed and pending categories in June means we are finally building inventory, which is healthy for the marketplace. It slows down the steep price appreciation we have been seeing and provides a bit more time for buyers to look at more properties."

The latest MLS report shows area-wide prices rose about 10.4%, from a median price of $589,000 to $650,000. On a percentage basis, that is the smallest year-over-year (YOY) gain since June 2020 when prices rose around 5.7%.

Seven counties had YOY price hikes of 19% or more for last month's sales of single family homes and condos: Douglas, Ferry, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, and Whatcom.

San Juan County had the highest median price last month, at $940,000, for it 25 sales of single family homes and condos.

King County had the second highest sales price last month, coming in at $851,000. That represents a 9.1% increase from a year ago, but a slight decline (3.4%) from May's figure of $880,000. Median prices topped $1 million for both Vashon and the Eastside map areas, as well as for areas encompassing North Seattle and Lake Forest Park.

Prices of single family homes (excluding condos) system-wide rose about 10.5% from a year ago. Condo prices increased by a similar amount (10.2%).

Commenting on prices, Deely acknowledged they're "leveling out," but commented, "We are still not a buyer's market by far." He believes some of the slowdown in pending and closed sales is simply part of a seasonal cycle this region experiences in June and July once school is out and people begin to travel. "In fact, travel is hitting peak numbers this summer as the world continues to open," he stated.

Wilson also commented on the changing market, noting the uptick in months of supply. It reached nearly six weeks (1.48 months) by the end of June. "While we have seen an increase in market time to almost a month and a half, there is a long way to go for the market to reach a neutral level which is typically found between four and six months of inventory," he stated.

Commenting on the Kitsap market, where there is about 1.3 months of supply, Wilson said it is "nowhere close to flipping to a buyer's market," adding, "Often change is good for one group but bad for another. In this case the change is good for buyers but does not really hurt sellers. Sellers who correctly price their home in today's market are still able to get top of market prices. Buyers have more choices and may see a little bit of flexibility on price and terms from the seller."

Northwest MLS director Meredith Hansen echoed those remarks. "With higher interest rates and more inventory, we are seeing sellers becoming more flexible in what terms they will accept," reported Hansen, the founder/operating principal at Keller Williams Greater Seattle. "It is an excellent time for buyers who were discouraged in the past frenzied market to step back in and find a home," she suggested, adding, "Buyers are not waiving financing and inspections like they were prior to this market shift."

Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, also commented on the "intensity adjustment" in the Puget Sound market, while noting sales activity remains strong. "Everything is coming together for buyers in the market, with increased selection of available listings and fewer multiple-offer situations to navigate. A strong contingent of buyers is taking note of new listings and poised to put an offer on the right home, in the right condition, at the right price."

Expecting "much will be made of the numbers that showed a significant increase in active listings" during June, Windermere chief economist Matthew Gardner said it's important to keep things in perspective.

"The pandemic heavily influenced the housing market with inventory levels essentially drying up in 2020/2021," Gardner stated. In analyzing June's data, he noted single family home listings in the tri-county area of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties rose more than 144% compared to a year ago. "This still represents the fourth lowest number of listings in any June for this region since 1999."

Gardner believes the market is trending back to some sense of normalcy. "The increase in listings has started to slow the rabid pace of price gains that we have experienced. This is a good thing, not a cause for concern," he emphasized.

Frank Leach, broker/owner at RE/MAX Platinum Services in Silverdale, concurred with some of Gardner's observations. "Kitsap County continues to see a robust market. Inventory is up 110% from a year ago," he exclaimed, pointing to the MLS report showing active listings soared from 288 to 606 listings. He expects the increasing supply in Kitsap County will help provide a more balanced market. Leach also noted both pending and closed sales slipped year over year, but prices surged more than 19%.

"Kitsap is in a building boom and builders are racing to meet demand," according to Leach. Open houses have resumed, but traffic "was off" at the end of June, which he suggested may be due to inclement weather and graduations. Leach also noted rents are rising across the county, pushing first-time buyers into the market. "Increasing interest rates are of some concern and buy-downs on interest rates are being used widely," he reported.

"Both rising mortgage rates and home prices hurt affordability for many buyers," stated Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecast at the National Association of Realtors, in an interview with a reporter for MarketWatch Picks. With affordability concerns and persistent inventory shortages, she said more people are renting, but rents are rising sharply.

"For institutional buyers, rising rents translate to larger profits," Evangelou explained, adding, "However, a larger market presence of institutional buyers increases market competition for first-time home buyers. Research has shown that institutional investors may be taking a significant portion of homes that would otherwise be sold to first-time and lower-income buyers."

Northwest Multiple Listing Service is a not-for-profit, member-owned organization that facilitates cooperation among its member real estate firms. With more than 2,600 member firm offices and 33,000 brokers across Washington state, NWMLS (www.nwmls.com) is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Based in Kirkland, Washington, its service area spans 26 counties, and it operates 21 local service centers.

Single Fam. Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

MONTHS OF INVENTORY

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avg. Price

Median Price

This month

Same mo., year ago

King

4,955

4,207

2,819

3,143

$1,067,968

$851,000

1.34

0.56

Snohomish

2,085

1,831

1,263

1,366

$835,570

$750,500

1.34

0.35

Pierce

2,173

1,954

1,493

1,446

$619,791

$560,000

1.35

0.48

Kitsap

702

606

456

475

$727,573

$603,025

1.28

0.54

Mason

226

237

141

117

$503,972

$460,000

2.03

0.72

Skagit

301

312

185

190

$612,703

$557,500

1.64

0.71

Grays Harbor

253

366

174

137

$428,578

$375,000

2.67

1.36

Lewis

205

291

134

113

$461,009

$450,000

2.58

1.03

Cowlitz

216

202

178

120

$404,260

$379,900

1.68

0.66

Grant

167

200

124

103

$393,139

$359,000

1.94

0.99

Thurston

762

597

569

515

$568,633

$520,000

1.16

0.40

San Juan

49

111

28

25

$1,148,840

$940,000

4.44

1.70

Island

251

259

173

177

$744,734

$560,000

1.46

0.61

Kittitas

158

200

111

97

$730,566

$520,000

2.06

0.99

Jefferson

90

97

73

53

$745,442

$729,000

1.83

1.11

Okanogan

94

168

69

80

$489,260

$373,750

2.10

1.64

Whatcom

633

608

332

353

$676,270

$610,000

1.72

0.77

Clark

121

134

87

75

$621,719

$550,000

1.79

0.54

Pacific

96

143

62

54

$293,953

$282,000

2.65

0.97

Ferry

11

27

13

7

$452,829

$425,000

3.86

2.40

Clallam

150

167

107

107

$552,130

$475,000

1.56

1.03

Chelan

192

247

124

101

$738,343

$610,000

2.45

1.24

Douglas

81

95

55

38

$556,941

$509,950

2.50

0.65

Adams

31

36

19

21

$318,875

$300,000

1.71

1.29

Walla Walla

95

107

72

66

$504,074

$443,771

1.62

0.67

Columbia

10

27

7

5

$173,800

$169,000

5.40

1.25

Others

116

176

69

63

$475,252

$424,900

2.79

2.13

Total

14,223

13,405

8,937

9,047

$801,139

$650,000

1.48

0.58

4-county Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined)

(totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2003

4746

5290

6889

6837

7148

7202

7673

7135

6698

6552

4904

4454

2004

4521

6284

8073

7910

7888

8186

7583

7464

6984

6761

6228

5195

2005

5426

6833

8801

8420

8610

8896

8207

8784

7561

7157

6188

4837

2006

5275

6032

8174

7651

8411

8094

7121

7692

6216

6403

5292

4346

2007

4869

6239

7192

6974

7311

6876

6371

5580

4153

4447

3896

2975

2008

3291

4167

4520

4624

4526

4765

4580

4584

4445

3346

2841

2432

2009

3250

3407

4262

5372

5498

5963

5551

5764

5825

5702

3829

3440

2010

4381

5211

6821

7368

4058

4239

4306

4520

4350

4376

3938

3474

2011

4272

4767

6049

5732

5963

5868

5657

5944

5299

5384

4814

4197

2012

4921

6069

7386

7015

7295

6733

6489

6341

5871

6453

5188

4181

2013

5548

6095

7400

7462

7743

7374

7264

6916

5951

6222

5083

3957

2014

5406

5587

7099

7325

8055

7546

7169

6959

6661

6469

5220

4410

2015

5791

6541

8648

8671

8620

8608

8248

7792

7179

6977

5703

4475

2016

5420

6703

8130

8332

9153

8869

8545

8628

7729

7487

6115

4727

2017

5710

6024

7592

7621

9188

9042

8514

8637

7441

7740

6094

4460

2018

5484

5725

7373

7565

8742

8052

7612

6893

6235

6367

5328

4037

2019

5472

4910

7588

8090

8597

8231

7773

7345

6896

6797

5788

4183

2020

5352

6078

6477

5066

7297

8335

8817

9179

8606

7934

6122

4851

2021

5216

5600

8002

7716

8674

8824

8049

8586

7880

7405

6022

3943

2022

4405

5560

7312

6908

7482

6031

 

 

 

 

 

 

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