Increasing Inventory Contributes to a Slowdown in Seattle-Area Home Price Growth
After nearly a decade of declining inventory in the Seattle area, The Seattle Times reports that the number of homes for sale “is finally starting to rise — and in a big way — as the rapid-fire market that has led to extreme bidding wars and lightning-fast sales slows a bit.” Referencing a report released by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the Times says that the number of single-family homes increased by 43-percent in June 2018 compared to this same time last year, while condo inventory skyrocketed by 73-percent.
As the article notes, it isn’t that there has been a huge wave of new homes coming onto the market, it’s that “homes already on the market are sitting unsold for longer.” And after month-after-month of declining inventory rates, the number of homes available in King County has grown for the past three months consecutive months on a year-over-year basis.
Though buyers have felt some relief, “inventory is just over half its long-term average” and thus has a long way to go; it has not been enough to slow home price growth by much, as home prices in King County rose 9.2 percent in June at a median sales price of $715,000. With inventory rising, buyers do have the benefit of a little more breathing room before deciding to make an offer, and “they may even be able to bypass some uncomfortable conditions that have become standard in today’s market, like waiving inspections and putting down huge, nonrefundable cash deposits.”
Looking further out around the Sound, the median sales price on the Eastside reached $978,00, a 10.5 percent increase year-over-year. Snohomish and Pierce counties also saw 10.5 percent gains, while prices in Kitsap County grew by 5.7 percent.