Seasons change and so is the Greater Seattle Area real estate market. In this post I’ll be diving into the latest Seattle real estate trends. Read on to see how buyers are starting to see a more balanced market via current home prices and inventory. All data in this post is provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS).
Price growth has slowed across the region compared to earlier this year with prices up 5.1% from a year ago. Considering that Seattle-area home prices increased 25.5% from July 2020 to July 2021, the curbed price growth should be a sign of relief for home buyers. The median price of a home in King County last month was $799,000 compared to $745,000 a year ago (an increase of 7.25%). Out of the metro counties, Pierce County saw the lowest median price growth of 5.20% from a year ago. The average median home price in Pierce and Snohomish counties last month was $526,000 and $700,000 respectively. For September 2022 the region-wide median home price was $599,000 compared to the 2022 high of $660,000 in May of this year.
Real estate brokers reported 7,504 closings for September, which was down 27% from a year ago with 10,289 closings. Even though the number of closings is down, the available inventory in the form of active listings is up significantly. The table below shows the number of active listings at the end of September for the past three years. The data is inclusive of all 26 NWMLS member-counties.
|Active Listings, Sept. 2020||Active Listings, Sept. 2021||Active Listings, Sept. 2022|
The jump from 7,757 active listings at the end of September 2021 to 15,008 at the end of September 2022 means fewer bidding wars and more options for buyers. The current months of inventory across the NWMLS is 2.00 months, with the metro counties of King and Snohomish closing September with 2.02 and 1.63 months respectively. While we were used to “weeks” of inventory last year with the metro counties falling below 1.0 months of inventory in 2021, a balanced market is 4-6 months of inventory so we’re still technically in a seller’s market.
Here is an area that is not benefiting buyers. In an attempt to curb inflation, the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, driving up the cost of home loans. Looking at data provided by Freddie Mac, the annual percentage rate (APR) for a 30-year fixed rate home mortgage has increased by 266 basis points from January to September 2022. The current interest rates are the highest we have seen since 2008. Fannie Mae predicts rates may continue to rise into 2023 accompanied by home prices decreasing if we enter a recession. Prospective buyers will need to weigh waiting for potentially lower home prices against the ever increasing costs of home loans.
Buyers who were sidelined by the bidding war frenzy in 2021 and early 2022 should consider revisiting the market. That said, now is still a great time to sell because prices are only cooling from all-time highs. The biggest change for sellers right now will be expecting to be on the market longer with the possibility of a price reduction depending on what level of action the listing sees. Visit my contact Jennifer Beeler page if you’d like to discuss the home buying or selling process with me.