By BBJ Staff
“Nobody likes this market — not sellers, not buyers, not real estate brokers.”
That’s according to Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX in Gig Harbor, in a Northwest Multiple Listing Service press release this week. That was after another month of low inventory and high prices in the real estate market for August, according to the NWMLS’s monthly numbers. Beeson went on to explain.
“Sellers aren’t necessarily happy because they think they could be leaving money on the table. Buyers think they’re paying too much. And brokers think sales are more complex and fraught with peril than previously, making them harder to close,” he said.
He said Seattle and surrounding areas are “forever changed” by the market.
“The change isn’t going to be painless,” he said. “Housing scarcity and increasing prices are sore spots.”
Across the NWMLS network, which includes 23 counties in Western Washington, the median price for a home rose to $379,000, an increase of 8.3 percent from August of 2016.
In Whatcom County, the median home price rose to $344,000, an 11 percent increase year-over-year. The median price of a single-family home is now $359,950, and in the NWMLS area that covers most of Bellingham, the median closing price for single-family homes sold for the month was $422,500. That’s a jump up 14.2 percent year-over-year.
“Of course, that old law of supply and demand has its natural effect,” Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain, said. Across the NWMLS service area, 13 counties reported a double digit decline inventory compared to a year ago.
Whatcom County was able to avoid that trend, adding 524 new listings in August for a total of 974 active listings — only slightly fewer than last year. In August, the county reported 2.37 months of inventory.
“We continue to see low inventory drive the story in the Puget Sound region,” Grady said.
And inventory may get squeezed even further, as fewer houses go on the market going into fall and winter, J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott, said.
“As we head into fall, September and October will see new listing inventory drop by about 20 percent from the summer months, so the next two months will be the best opportunity for the selection and availability for buyers to purchase a home,” he said, in the release. “Starting in November, the number of new listings will drop by another 30 percent over the winter.”