Now that spring, traditionally some of the busiest months in real estate, is in full swing – let’s see what the market is telling us. Right now the market is busy and so am I. Between March and April I had 7 closings and I’ve already had a closing in May! I recently updated my reviews and testimonials page with feedback from some of those closings so feel free to check out what my clients had to say!
Before we jump in I feel that this update finally encapsulates the wild seller’s market we’ve been seeing so far in 2021. I’ve shown low inventory and consistent price increases in prior updates, but the numbers never felt as shocking as some of the anecdotes we’ve been hearing. That is about to change. The data in my market update posts is calculated by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) on a monthly basis, so when looking at real estate metrics on month-over-month level we looking at lagging indicators. For example, a home that went pending on March 10th and closed on April 10th wouldn’t be reported until now (May 2020). Now that we have the data on closings that went pending in March and beyond, I think you’ll be impressed by some of these numbers.
Real Estate Volume and Supply
Good news for buyers here. We are finally starting to see a bit of an increase in inventory. Brokers across the 26 member-counties added 12,043 new listings of homes and condos last month. This was an increase of more than 57% compared to April 2020. Compared to March of this year, the volume of new listings rose 14%.
At then end of last month there were only 5,616 active listings which was a year-over-year (YoY) drop of 45% compared to the 10,282 active listings at the end of April 2020. That is a huge drop in available inventory, but it is reflective of demand and not new listings. This decline means buyers are quickly submitting offers on new listings, which then depletes the active listings. A metric which compliments the decline in active listings is pending sales. Pending sales continue to increase, which is basically the inverse of active listings. In April 2021 member-agents reported 10,583 pending sales, up ~47% from the year prior.
Even though this looks good for buyers I want to point out an important factor when making this comparison. March and April 2020 were early pandemic months and the market was facing much uncertainty at the time. But if we go back two years to April 2019, we added ~3% more listings in April of 2021 so overall supply conditions do seem to be improving.
Closing Data and Price
This is the most significant but probably not surprising call-out. The median closing price in April 2021 was up 25% compared to the year prior! That is for all NWMLS member counties across the Puget Sound region. In King and Snohomish counties we saw median YoY price increases of 15.38% and 24.14% respectively.
In April of this year my fellow NWMLS agents and I sold 8,791 homes. The breakdown was 1,281 condos and 7,510 residential homes. If you back condos out of the equation the median price increase jumps to 26.47%. Speaking of King and Snohomish counties, they represented over 50% of the NWMLS closing volume last month with 3,402 closings in King County and 1,285 in Snohomish. I’m still watching and waiting for a month where the King County average sales price exceeds $1,000,000 but looks like we still have a little ways to go. If you look at only residential home sales in King County last month, the average closed price was $830,000!
The data presented in this post lines up with that I’m seeing out there in the real world. New listings are still extremely hot but I’m generally not seeing the frenzy of the past few months, which may be a nice reprieve for buyers. With factors like the backlog of pent-up demand and skyrocketing costs for construction, I see prices continuing to trend up. With any investment there is risk, but even in light of the recent price increases I still search for investment properties every day. That is where I think things are headed!