In an unusual trend, the Northwest real estate market is heating up heading into the holidays, taking some of the fear away from last month’s threat of a slowdown into the rest of the year, the most recent report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service said.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service explained that with holidays approaching, real estate brokers usually expect a slowdown as buyers and sellers shift their attention elsewhere. However, this year is different, say some industry leaders.

“Today we have one of the best markets we’ve ever seen for sellers,” said Ken Anderson, managing broker and owner at Coldwell Banker Evergreen in Olympia. “Buyers are still surging to the market and inventory is low. It’s a very good time to sell. Owners who are eager to make the next move don’t have to wait six months or until spring to act,” added Anderson, a former board member at Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Pending sales jumped 7.8% from a year ago in October, rising from 8,643 transactions to 9,317.

For 19 of the 23 counties in the latest MLS report, the number of pending sales surpassed the number of new listings added to inventory.

There were 8,094 new listings in October, about the same as 12 months ago when members added 8,102 listings. With those additions (the fewest monthly total since February) inventory at the end of the month stood at 18,068 listings, well below the year-ago total of 23,501 for a 23.1% year-over-year drop.

And prices are going up for those who choose to sell, with prices on last month’s closed sales jumping nearly 9.7% from a year ago. Area-wide the median price for sales of single-family homes and condos that closed during October was $318,000, compared to a price of $290,000 for the same month a year ago.

“If we just had more homes to sell the number of closed units would have increased even more during October,” said Mike Gain, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate.

“Selling more homes at a faster rate than we are replenishing supply shows just how good the local real estate market really is,” said Gain.

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