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Northwest sales hinge on one key problem

…And the solution doesn’t seem to be coming soon

Tight inventory supply is holding back the housing recovery in the Northwest as brokers report rising prices on fewer sales in March.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service recorded that there were 9,183 pending sales during the month, roughly 300 fewer than the same period a year prior.

However, this is a significant jump compared to February, with a 26.7% rise in pending sales in March, or 1,936 transactions.

“The only thing holding back sales is the lack of inventory,” said John Deely, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors.

A prime example: one recent listing that Deely had priced at a fair market value drew more than 40 offers.

“The depth of buyer demand appears to have no bottom in the most popular price ranges,” added Deely.

Compared to last year, closed sales were about the same as twelve months ago, with 5,753 completed transactions, just slightly above 5,745 closed sales in 2013.   

In addition, the median price on last month’s sales of single family home and condominiums that sold across the 21 counties in the MLS report grew 6%, rising from the year-ago figure of $258,500 to last month’s price of $274,000.

And the forecast does not look to be too much brighter.

“Once again we entered the year with a low inventory of homes for sale, and we believe the shortage will persist through this year and into 2015 in price ranges where 90 percent of sales activity is occurring,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate

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