Northwest MLS housing inventory reaches highest point since January 2019

by Patrick Regan

There were 14,214 active listings of single-family homes and condos across the Northwest MLS system at the end of October, more than double a year ago.

The uptick in supply boosted the months of inventory figure to 2.2, the highest level since January 2019. The inventory figure still leans in favor of a sellers market. Most industry professionals say a balanced market includes four to six months of inventory.

The increased inventory represents a shift in the market driven primarily by rising interest rates, experts said. More buyers are looking for creative financing methods, such as rate buy-downs and adjustable-rate mortgages, said Meredith Hansen, of Keller Williams Realty and a member of the NWMLS board of directors. 

“We are continuing to move into a more traditional market,” said John Deely, executive vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain. “Buyers are out looking and watching the market, and they have more time to make informed choices with the help of seasoned brokers.”

NWMLS reported 6,435 pending sales in October, down about 39% from October 2021, and 6,464 closed sales, an annual drop of 35%.

The median price across the NWMLS 26-county footprint on last month’s sales of single-family homes and condominiums was $595,000. That was an increase of about 3.5% from 12 months ago but a decline from May’s price peak of $660,000.

October closings in King County had a median price of $811,000, up more than 8% from last year’s $750,000.

Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, believes some buyers are waiting until mortgage rates stabilize. But, he said, he had “bad news for those buyers who are sitting on the fence waiting for home prices to implode.” He expects home values will take a slight dip in 2023, but “those who hope to pick up a home ‘on the cheap’ are likely in for a long wait.”

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