What a year! This will be my final blog entry of 2020 so I want to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year! I also hope you made it through the holidays unscathed. At my house this year we busted out the Christmas Tree before Thanksgiving and put our lights up in the backyard instead of the front so we had something to look at. The rules are definitely out the window in 2020. After three closings within a week of Christmas it was nice to take a couple days to unplug, reflect, and recharge. Speaking of reflection I also want to say how grateful I am for my current and past clients. This year I closed on 31 purchases and sales for my clients – my busiest year ever! My business is mostly based around referrals from past transactions so it really means a lot to me when a client recommends me to a family member or friend. Every review, Facebook referral, and recommendation means so much to me.
I also had two fun things happen at two different listings recently. I thought both of these instances were a great example of how I partner with my clients to create attractive and engaging listings. The first one was a call from HGTV that I wish could have worked out. They wanted to showcase my pending listing on one of their real estate shows about houses that sell quickly vs. houses that sit on the market. The show was featuring a home that was having trouble selling near one of my listings in Everett. They wanted to bring their camera crew into my listing to use it as an example of how to prepare and list a home in the area if you want it to sell quickly. Fortunately for my clients (and unfortunately for HGTV) my listing did sell extremely quickly so I had to tell the producer we were closing soon and the furniture was all gone. It would have been fun to see the hard work we did to get it market ready highlighted on TV!
For the second one I had listed a beautiful, early 1900s Victorian home in Seattle last month. A day or two later I woke up to a Facebook message “hey your listing is on one of the real estate pages I follow!” Sure enough there it was on the “For The Love Of Old Houses” Facebook page that has over 3 million followers! Both of these instances felt like icing on the cake for my busiest year yet in one of the wildest housing markets Seattle has ever seen. Now let’s a look at the Puget Sound real estate market by the numbers and see how things have been trending since my last update.
Issuing it’s final press release of the year, the NWMLS is reporting that from November 2019 to November 2020 home prices are up 13% and closed sales are up 23%. The closed sale numbers increasing so much during the start of the holiday period which is traditionally slow for real estate is significant, but it would have surprised me if it didn’t increase so much. It is a signal that the demand for housing still greatly outpaces the available inventory in our area. I can tell you though as an agent who currently has multiple buyers looking all over King and South Snohomish counties, it does feel like activity on new listings backed off just ever so slightly about a week before Thanksgiving. I am sure this will change after the New Year but we can also hope for a surge of new inventory in the spring.
In my past market updates you will see me writing about months of inventory as a weathervane for the market. In my fall update we were sitting at .8 months of inventory across our region (a balanced market is 4-6 months). I thought the holiday period might give buyers even a slight reprieve, but that did not pan out with the November months of inventory dipping slightly to .73 months. If the trend continues we might as well rename this metric “weeks of inventory” instead of months.
The evidence of the supply squeeze is further bolstered by looking at new listings vs. active listings from November 2020. In terms of available inventory there were 6,505 active listings last month which was a decrease of 42.8% from the prior year. Compare that to new listings which were up by 18.2% with 6,425 homes added in November. Looking at those two stats side by side really tells the revealing picture. Yes we have a few more listings but demand continues to outpace the supply at a level I’ve never seen during my career in real estate.
No surprise that prices continue to increase across the region. Residential home and condo prices rose by nearly 14% to a median price of $495,000 last month. I’m not really surprised here but it is still impressive to look at the ever-increasing King County average home price. That 13.8% increase from November 2019 to November 2020 resulted in an average home price of $850,236 in King County last month! Snohomish and Pierce counties trailed with average prices of $579,100 and $484,014 respectively.
Finally in pricing I think it is interesting to watch condos trend under the average with just an 11% price increase YoY. What is interesting to tack on here is the number of condo listings are up 39% YoY compared to only 18% when you add in single family homes. It is too early to tell but we may be seeing a new trend where Covid lockdowns have condo owners wishing for more space and a yard.
It has been a challenging and amazing year all at the same time. I look forward to what 2021 brings and wish you nothing but success in the coming year!