Despite hike in inventory, new home demand, market still favors sellers

by Lindsey Wells

As the economy slowly recovers from the throes of COVID-19, home inventory in Western Washington has begun to regenerate gradually and sales are increasing. Despite this, the market still favors home sellers, according to a report by Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate’s chief economist. 

A total of 27,280 homes were sold in the region during this year’s third quarter, a 6.4% increase from the same period in 2020. “This increase matched what we saw in the second quarter this year,” Gardner said. 

The quarter’s sales growth was fueled by a 28.4% increase in the number of homes for sale, the report said. Listings rose the most in Grays Harbor (+62.6%), Lewis (+53.6%) and Skagit (+52%) Counties. 

The number of homes for sale wasn’t the only thing that surged; home prices rose 18.9% from a year ago. This brings the average sale price of a home to $726,168; another record, according to the report.

When compared to Q3 of 2020, price growth was most robust in Clallam, San Juan and Jefferson Counties, but all markets saw prices rise more than 12%. 

Average sales prices pulled back 1.1% compared to the second quarter of this year. “Given the massive increase in value over the past few years, it is not at all surprising,” Gardner said in the report. “They key indicator has been a softening in list prices and that naturally translates to slower price growth.”

Homes were on the market for an average of 17 days in the third quarter. This was 19 days fewer than in the same quarter in 2020 and one less day than in the second quarter of this year. 

Considering the region’s housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates and more prominent economic factors, Gardner said the current market still belongs to sellers. 

“Even with inventory levels increasing in most markets, the region’s housing market remains remarkably tight,” Gardner noted. “That said, I do see some of the heat dissipating and I am hopeful that if inventory levels continue rising, we will start a slow move back toward a balanced market.”

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