The Western Washington housing market is moving at much more sustainable rates than it was a year ago, according to data from the latest Northwest MLS Monthly Market Update.
Realtors added 5,231 new listings to the NWMLS in February, a 34% decrease year over year. However, it’s an increase of about 300 properties compared to January. There were 7,920 active listings in the NWMLS at the end of last month.
In February 2022, frenzied buying meant that inventory couldn’t keep up with demand. A year later, housing inventory is at 1.7 months. While that’s considerably lower than levels seen in a healthy market, it’s a 152.7% increase from last year, when inventory was shrank to about three weeks.
“Many homebuyers are making their buying decisions now while inventory is available,” said Frank Leach, broker and owner at RE/MAX Platinum Services in Silverdale and board member for the NWMLS.
Skyrocketing interest rates have deterred sellers from returning to the market, Leach said, adding, “The reason there’s so little inventory is because sellers are worried about finding a replacement home and are reluctant to give up their sweetheart 3% and 4% mortgages.”
Pending listings are also down from 2022 levels. Only 6,230 properties went under contract last month, a 19.1% decrease from February 2022. Closings have decreased by 17.3% year over year.
The median closing price for homes and condos across the Northwestern Washington area was $575,000 in February (a 1.7% decrease year over year). However, in the tri-county area (King, Pierce and Snohomish counties), 71.6% of available homes had a listing price over $600,000.
“Prices adjusted last month, depending on locale,” said Dick Beeson, managing broker at RE/MAX Northwest, Tacoma/Gig Harbor. “But there’s no slippery slope into the recession of 2008-2011 when there was a 30% price reduction. The lack of inventory guards against that situation occurring again. We’re perking along finding the new normal of a post-coronavirus market.”