Seattle-area housing activity dropped in January as market remains ‘virtually sold out’

by Patrick Regan

Housing market activity throughout Washington and especially King and Snohomish counties dropped year over year in January, in part due to the continued minuscule housing supply. 

January listings in King County plummeted 59% compared to the same month in 2021, according to Northwest MLS data released this week. Snohomish County listings declined 40% year over year.

“The year started off with more of a whimper than a boom thanks to listing inventory in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties being lower than any January on record,” Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, said in a news release.

King, Pierce and Snohomish counties all have less than two weeks of housing supply, Northwest MLS reported. About half the counties in the 26-county Northwest MLS footprint had less than one month of housing supply.

“The market remains virtually sold out, and there is a significant backlog of buyers looking for a home to purchase,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate

“Given the market conditions, nearly all homes are going under contract within a week of being listed, and multiple offers are commonplace in price ranges where there is a shortage of available homes for sale.” 

With supply so low, prices continued to rise. January prices increased 14.9% across the Northwest MLS territory compared to the same month in 2020.

King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties had 4,405 pending home sales in January. That’s 800 fewer than January 2021 and the fewest in January since 2011.

“The market is crazy,” Dick Beeson, managing broker at RE/MAX Northwest Realtors, said in the news release. 

“The massive reduction in inventory has led to fewer pending sales and super-charged prices. Many properties have literally gained 40% to 50% appreciation in just the last two years or so, a rate of increase no one can comfortably live with.”

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