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Real Estate Market Report: Seattle vs. National Trends

Published on October 21, 2015

By most indicators, 2015 has been a good year for the real estate industry in almost all areas. As of this past August, home sales have risen year-over-year every month for 12 consecutive months, both locally and nationally. Below is the current market report for local and national real estate so you can see how Seattle (and surrounding area) measures up!

Increase in First-Time Homebuyers

NAR notes the recent increase in first-time homebuyers, a demographic many have been keeping a waiting eye on. The share of first-time buyers rose to 32 percent in August, an increase from the 29 percent share seen in August 2014.

The following information was obtained from a recent article published by NWMLS. For the complete article, please go here.

Housing Market Sales Slowdown Expected Around Seattle 

According to spokespersons from Northwest Multiple Listing Service, low inventory, new rules for mortgage closings with the introduction of the new TRID (TRID is the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule that became effective 10/3/15), and affordability concerns will more than likely slow home sales around Western Washington during the remaining months of 2015 and into early 2016.

The latest statistics from the MLS show a double-digit drop in inventory, a double-digit jump in closed sales, and a near double-digit increase in prices from a year ago.

Home & Condo Prices Are Still Rising

Single family home prices across the 23 counties in the MLS report rose nearly 7.6 percent from a year ago, from $297,500 to $320,000. Single family homes in King County commanded the highest median price at $490,250, up 6.6 percent from the year-ago figure of $460,000, but down from June’s high of $500,000.

The condo market remained hot with both sales and prices up by double digits. Members reported 1,183 closed sales during September for a gain of nearly 30 percent from a year ago.

Pending and existing home sales have increased year-over-year for 11 consecutive months. Existing home sales were 6.2% higher this past August than 2014. The median existing home price also increased 4.7% year-over-year this past August, making it the 42nd consecutive month of year-oer-year gains.

Low Inventory Considered the Cause for Rising Prices

The MLS report for September shows pending sales continue to outnumber new listings, resulting in inventory declines in most of the 23 counties in its service area. That imbalance leads to rising prices, despite an expected slowdown.

MLS members added 8,772 new listings during September, down slightly from the year ago total of 8,878. At month end, there were 19,724 active listings in the database, down 23.3 percent from the same time a year ago when inventory totaled 25,717 properties.

Dwindling inventory continues to be a drag on activity, but some brokers believe new construction activity is encouraging as we move into the new year.

Inventory remains somewhat tight and was at a 5.2 month supply in August. This has remained somewhat steady throughout the year, however, and most real estate agents are seeing these numbers reflected in their sales.

Overall, the market is going strong and looks to continue moving in that direction into the beginning of 2016!

In our market, great properties can get snapped up quickly. You can get instantly notified when new listings hit the market by signing up for alerts with our RealScout portal! Get instant access to every NWMLS listing, narrow down properties by features, easily add your own notes, share with a partner or friend, save favorites, and more.