Housing inventory shortages persist despite increase in new listings
June News Release
KIRKLAND, Washington (June 6, 2016) – Just as expected, the month of May had an uptick in new listings (12,272), but just as many buyers (12,275) made offers on homes during the month to keep inventory depleted, according to the latest figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
“Inventory is being squeezed from all directions,” reported Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo. He said the pool of house-hunters includes young first-time buyers, renters whose rents are escalating, buyers who are returning to the market after recovering from a foreclosure or short sale, investors, and baby boomers who are purchasing for their retirement needs. Additionally, in Kitsap County where his office is located, there are military families who are transferring to a base there and want to buy.
By month end, member brokers reported 15,198 active listings in the Northwest MLS database. That’s down more than 22 percent from a year ago when buyers could choose from an inventory of 19,515 listings across the 23 counties served by the listing service.
“The May housing market was not just hot, it was frenzy hot,” commented J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “Brokers are working like bees in a hive as the housing market creates a buzz of sales activity in the Seattle-Central Puget Sound area.” By his analysis, 80 percent of the homes coming on the market in King and Snohomish counties are selling within the first 30 days. “Many sell within the first week,” Scott reported, adding, “A healthy/normal market would have 30 percent selling in the first 30 days.”
MLS figures show there is only 1.76 months of supply system-wide. In both King and Snohomish counties, there is barely more than one month of supply – well below the 4-to-6 months that many experts use as an indicator of a balanced market.
“With less than two months of inventory, every new listing seems to draw multiple offers,” Wilson remarked. He also said homeowners who want to move up in this same market know they face a conundrum: “If we sell today, will we be able to buy tomorrow?”