Puget Sound housing inventory climbs but still not where it was pre-pandemic, Northwest MLS reports

by Patrick Regan

Housing inventory continues to improve across the Puget Sound region, but it’s still below pre-pandemic levels from three years ago.

September data from Northwest MLS showed housing inventory is on the rise, while closed sales and prices have dipped. The median home price in the NWMLS hit its peak of $660,000 in May. The median home price in September was $599,000.

Measured by months of supply, there are only two months of housing inventory across the 26-county NWMLS. That’s an improvement from one year ago when there were only about three weeks of supply but still short of the four-to-six months of inventory real estate analysts consider a balanced market, NWMLS reported.

In September, King County had 2.02 months of housing supply, Pierce 1.84 months, Snohomish 1.63 and Kitsap 1.61. Those inventory numbers are more than double what they were a year ago but still not as high as three years ago, before the pandemic.

“It’s worth noting that current inventory levels in King and Snohomish counties are still around 13% lower than they were in September 2019 prior to the pandemic-induced market shift,” Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, said in a NWMLS news release. 

NWMLS brokers reported 7,504 closed sales during September, down 27% from a year ago.

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, cautioned against comparing current market data to the pandemic years. A better measure, he said, is how things look now compared to the months and years before the pandemic. 

“We can’t compare today’s housing market to the low mortgage rates of the COVID housing stimulus years,” he said. “In September, we experienced about the same number of new listings as we did pre-pandemic but with less intensity and a lower percentage of homes going under contract.”


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