The housing prices in the Northwest continue to increase, in some areas up to double-digit increases, as the housing supply continues to lessen, according to MLS figures.
Pending sales dropped 4.5% from March compared to last year, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Inventory also fell about 25% during that time, creating a 9.4% price increase.
This market activity has left some real estate professionals scratching their heads, as usually the market sees an increase in inventory during this time.
“I feel like we planted our tulips upside down in Kitsap, as if the spring housing market has sprung in the wrong direction,” said Frank Wilson, John L. Scott’s branch managing broker. “Instead of growing up, things are growing downwards.”
The Northwest has an inventory of about 1.8 months supply; a four to six month supply would be considered a balanced market.
“We are virtually sold out of inventory and there’s a pipeline of stalled buyers,” said John Scott, chairman and CEO of property search manager, John L. Scott.
The blame for the unbalanced market is placed solely on the lack of listings for sale.
“It’s not for any other reason except there aren’t enough homes coming on the market to satisfy pent-up buyer demand,” Scott said. He also points to listing shortages for the steady escalation of home prices.
Scott also explained the problems sellers face when deciding if they should put their house on the market.
“In today’s market sellers want to find their next home before they list their current home, but because of the severe inventory shortage it’s hard to win in a multiple offer situation,” Scott said.
He said some sellers are hesitant to put their home on the market because they fear it would sell instantly and they might not win their next home. “It’s a Catch 22 situation,” he said.
Members of the military community are also struggling in the market. In multiple offer situations, VA loans are last choice compared to cash or conventional.