Approaching a “new normal market” in Northwest MLS

by Emily Marek

Pending sales in the Northwest MLS reached the highest level since October, according to January Northwest MLS report.

Prices of closed sales also went up 0.41% year over year in January, with a median price of $557,250 across 3,264 closed home sales. Completed transactions were significantly higher this time last year, when the median home price was $555,000. Additionally, prices rose year-over-year in nine of the 26 counties included in the Northwest MLS report.

“We saw a favorable spike of intensity in the market in January,” said chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate J. Lennox Scott in a news release. “With fewer new resale homes coming onto the market, there’s a shortage/low level of unsold inventory, especially in the more affordable and mid-price ranges where approximately 80% of sales activity takes place.”

While active listings are much higher than they were a year ago, the full selection of 7,179 single family homes and 1,041 condos was still down 13.2% from the month prior. New listings in the Northwest MLS also trailed 2022 levels in January.

“While residential inventory is popping above six months in a few of our reporting counties, which is at the upper edge of a balanced market, our most populated counties — King, Pierce and Snohomish — are still sitting at one to two months of inventory, which is indicative of a seller’s market,” said John Deely, vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain.

“The spring real estate market is here early,” said broker Dean Rebhuhn, owner of Village Homes and Properties. “A combination of pent-up buyer demand, attractive prices and low inventory in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties are driving sales.”

This “new normal market” posited by Rebhuhn may also be partly attributed to newly lowered interest rates. Freddie Mac reported last week that the weekly average in the U.S. for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was 6.09%, a full percentage point lower than its over 7% peak in November. This decrease means that nearly three million more potential homebuyers can now qualify for a $400,000 loan.

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