Buyer hesitancy, weather change possible factors in October’s slow market activity

by Lindsey Wells

Real estate brokers are “detecting indecisiveness by some buyers who are getting mixed ‘work from home’ messages from their employers,” according to a report by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

This hesitancy, coupled with cooler, wetter weather and increased mortgage rates, were likely factors in October’s slower market activity.

John Deely, executive vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain, suggested the cooler activity may result from several factors and expressed some optimism. “While the overall slowdown in the market is seasonal and can be attributed to people being priced out of the market, as well as a slight uptick in interest rates, supply chain issues experienced with construction materials late this summer are beginning to normalize,” Deely said in the report.

In King County, home prices were up 9.5% from a year ago, increasing from $685,000 to $750,000. Within the county, prices in Seattle registered the smallest gain at 5.3% compared to the same period in 2020. 

On average, homes in Seattle sell after seven days on the market compared to nine days last year. According to a report by Redfin, Realtors sold 1,144 homes in October, down from 1,263 last year.

“The trends provide a mixed message as to whether demand will return to the cities as quickly as anticipated,” said James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington. “With millennials looking for value and increased opportunities to purchase a home in the suburbs, it could be an interesting few months as to whether the lifestyle of the city and employers can change the balance of demand back to the city.”

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