Brokers say home buyers “finally get some relief” with return to “more traditional market”
*NOTE* – the data we are looking at is from the full month of September. The NWMLS comprises 26 of Washington’s 39 counties, mostly in the western part of the state.
Here are the bullet points from the newest press release from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which provides housing market data for most of Western Washington:
- Active listings are nearly doubled from a year ago, pending sales declined more than 31%, but prices in most counties are still rising.
- “Though technically still a seller’s market, it is more favorable to buyers than it has been in a decade,” though inflation and rising mortgage interest rates have greatly impacted affordability.
- “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.”
- “We can’t compare today’s housing market to the low mortgage rates of the COVID housing stimulus years (2020 to spring 2022).” He suggests pre-pandemic data provides a more realistic comparison, noting “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.”
- The median price in King County increased 6% from a year ago.
- In general, “sellers are still realizing nice gains.”
- Gardner pointed out home prices “remain positive compared to a year ago,” adding, “I don’t expect that to change through the end of 2022.” By spring, however, he believes “it’s likely that year-over-year prices will start to trend negative. That said, I firmly believe that this will only be a short period of correction, so homeowners in the Puget Sound area shouldn’t be too concerned.”
- Uncertainty about the direction of mortgage rates is prompting buyer hesitancy.
- Allison Schrager, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist who covers economics, recently commented about buyers “sitting on the sidelines until rates or prices or both decline.” She faults the Fed’s interference, writing “don’t count on rates falling to those pandemic lows. They were the result of extraordinary market manipulation from the Fed,” suggesting there will be a “hangover from the very low rates in 2020 and 2021.”
To read the full press release, click here.