What a year so far. I saw a lot of jokes on social media about being on the 90th day of January and wondering when it would be over, and it sure felt that way to me with one of the wettest months on record! Through February 6th we had the third wettest start for a year with 11.98″ inches of rain measured at SeaTac. In east King County we received even more rain than that so if you’re in Woodinville or close by I’ll plug my favorite local weather observer, Brie Hawkins. Brie runs Little Bear Creek Weather which lives streams weather data from her home-based station in Woodinville. You can also find Little Bear Creek Weather on Facebook for more detailed analysis of the Woodinville and surrounding areas microclimate. Now the weather has been soggy but the housing market has not! Let’s break down what has been happening so far in 2020:
January launched the 2020 real estate market into an interesting start. We saw record low inventory with 7,791 active listings in the 23 counties covered by the NWMLS. King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties account for over 50% of those listings with 4,053 active listings between the three counties. The surprise here is the total active listings for January was down 33% compared to the same month last year.
In terms of supply we’ve also fallen to a low 1.54 months of inventory. That means it would take about 1.5 months to sell the current active listings on the market. Compared to January 2019 . A balanced market is 4 to 6 months of inventory and even with the traditional spring influx of supply I question if we’ll even see a single month above 3 or 4 months through the summer (the annual average has been under 3 months since 2015).
As a final point to drive home the current inventory status and demand in our region, we’re seeing the number of pending sales outpacing active listings in all major Puget Sound counties.
With low inventory and high demand prices are definitely up. The median price in January was $422,750 for residential homes and condos. Compared to January 2019 that is up 10.7%. King County tops the charts with the highest median price of $589,950 for residential homes and condos. If you back condos out of the equation the median price for residential homes in King County last month was $630,525 followed by Snohomish County at $509,950.
Somewhat surprisingly King County isn’t buoying the ten percent price increase with only a 4.4% price increase from January 2019 to 2020. Counties outside the metropolitan area were bigger influencers with counties like Kitsap and Mason showing 11.8% and 15.3% price increases respectively. The total dollar value of sales closed in January 2020 was $2.3 billion for residential homes and $267 million for condos, an increase of 11.7% from January 2019.
It is definitely a seller’s market right now. Early last year we were looking at a hot market with multiple offer scenarios and waiving contingencies so with even less inventory this year it tells me this is possibly the best time to sell in recent history. Spring time always leads to an influx in inventory so with the current low inventory and increased median prices there isn’t any compelling reason to hold back from listing now if you’re able to. Priced right, homes listing now have the potential to get lots of early action in terms of showings which can lead to a multiple offer scenario.
On the flip side for buyers we have a strong economy, low unemployment, and low interest rates which means competition for available homes is strong. The competition is especially prevalent at the entry and mid-range price points. Having an experienced agent who can help buyers put their best foot forward is critical right now, especially in a multiple offer scenario. Having your purchase strategy locked in and an agent on your side who can get you into homes you like as soon as they come on the market is a great start for buyers.
If you’re looking to buy or sell don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have. I’m happy to help and there is never any pressure.
All information and statistics in this post was derived from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.