My posts these past few months have been focused on the market and the impact to the market from the COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t expect that to change for awhile since we are in unprecedented times right now. Plus now that the original stay-at-home order was issued over two months ago, we have data to see how the pandemic and such an order can shape our local real estate market.
Before I jump into the statistics I’d like to talk about what changes are coming for the restrictions on real estate activities now that we’re exiting the strictest phase of the stay-at-home order. For a review on what restrictions were put in place for the real estate during the initial stay-at-home order check out my COVID-19 Market Update.
Now that we’ve experienced the quarantine period of a few months, the Puget Sound housing market is adjusting to the new operating rules of doing business issued by the governor’s office. For April we took a hit with new listings and available inventory as uncertainty loomed, however some good news is telling us that region-wide prices have increased nearly 6.4% year-over-year!
The Northwest MLS (NWMLS) reported for April that inventory fell about 21% from a year ago. The amount of listing in April this year was 10,282 compared to 12,955 in the same month last year. This is to be expected as industry leaders and local analysts are noting that pandemic type scenarios will cause a significant dip in real estate activity. The dip can be felt most in the early hit areas like Seattle and King County. We need to put ourselves in a national context and remember that one of the first major US outbreak sites was a nursing home in Kirkland. The good news is with King County hitting a “bottom” of new inventory early then others, we are in a good position for early recovery.
As I mentioned a little earlier prices are looking good and still increasing despite some of the early spring chills we saw. For King County, prices rose 4% year-over-year to $650,000 and in Snohomish County prices were up nearly 6%! It is also interesting to look at prices in the outlying urban counties. I will be looking at these closely to see if a shift towards work-from-home means more people leaving city centers behind. Pierce County and Kitsap County have both seem double-digit gains year-over-year. Prices in those counties combined have increased by 12% to $397,750.
I have personally become much busier since the pandemic began. While inventory is still fairly low, I am seeing bidding wars and demand for available properties increase. This pattern will be interesting to watch during the summer to see if the seller’s market trend (which we have been in for years now) continues.
With digital marketing being the dominant way homes are found; I do not see any of the Covid related restrictions hampering an agent’s ability to sell a home. Things like open houses not being allowed should not be of concern to sellers right now. Your prospective buyers will find the house they want to see online and schedule a showing with their agent to see it. Because this is a sellers market a buyer will know they need to be prequalified and prepared to move quickly if they like something they see. I don’t see any of the restrictions hampering the home sales process other than removing those buyers from the buyer pool who are not comfortable buying or selling a home right now due to the pandemic.
As always never hesitate to contact me with any real estate questions.