Northwest MLS: No seasonal slowdown for Washington real estate this year

by Lindsey Wells

While real estate markets across the country slowed around Thanksgiving, that was not the case for Washington, where buyers and sellers were unusually active.

Based on the latest report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, numbers for new listings, pending sales and closed sales were comparable to year-ago totals, while prices rose more than 15%.

“The so-called seasonal slowdown normally sees serious buyers gain an advantage over casual buyers who take a break during the holidays,” said Mike Larson, managing broker at Compass in Tacoma. “The difference this year is that there are fewer buyers taking a break, and demand remains high.”

Northwest MLS figures showed 8,571 pending sales across 26 counties in November, nearly matching the 8,584 mutually accepted offers from last year. Closed sales totaled 8,976, marking a slight improvement from 12 months ago, when MLS members closed 8,875 transactions.

“Waived inspections and funds committed upfront in the event of a low appraisal are not as common, but sellers still have the upper hand,” Larson noted in the report. “Buyers still need to be very bold and very intentional with their offers.”

The current median price of homes in King County is $740,000, down from July, when prices peaked at $789,000. In addition, total active listings in the county are down 60% from a year ago, which “speaks to the continued inventory crunch,” said John Deely, executive vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain.

Prices within Seattle are essentially the same as a year ago: $765,000 for November’s closed sales, compared to last year’s $760,000.

Kitsap County saw a 2.45% increase in active listings in November. The number of closed sales was almost 6% higher than the same month in 2020.

Looking ahead to 2022, Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, predicts single-family home prices will increase by around 8% in King and Snohomish counties and by almost 11% in Pierce County. “Although still well above the long-term averages, affordability issues and modestly rising interest rates will take some of the steam out of the market in 2022,” Gardner said in the report.

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