While home sales are up in the Northwest, inventory shortages are constraining housing activity, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Pending sales increased 12.2% to 11,898 in the Northwest during August, up 1,295 transactions.

While brokers added 11,411 new listings to the Northwest MLS in August, they presented even more offers for buyers, 11,898. With just 18,336 listings at the end of the month, housing inventory remains below a two-month supply. This is down 11.6% from last year.

Four to six months of supply would be considered a balanced market for buyers and sellers.

This report comes just after last month, when the supply of homes improved slightly in the Northwest.

“The market remains just as intense as July,” said J. Lennox Scott, John L. Scott chairman and CEO. “The best opportunity for homebuyers to find a home will be in the next 60 days.”

“We expect a repeat of conditions from last winter when every available home that came on the market in areas with a shortage of inventory received quick action,” Scott said.

The median home price in the Northwest for August’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums was $350,000, an increase of over 11% from last year’s $315,000.

“We expect median prices to continue to increase, and likely at an accelerated pace through the fall,” said Mike Grady, Coldwell Banker Bain president and chief operating officer. He attributes the anticipated increase to dwindling inventories.

Deidre Haines, Coldwell Banker Bain principal managing broker of South Snohomish County, described the market as being in the “midst of the summer slowdown, but not as slow as usual.”

Healthy appreciation rates and low interest rates are sustaining activity, Haines said. She anticipates a post-Labor Day uptick, but said the forthcoming election is causing “confusion, distraction and frustration” with potential negative impacts for the fourth quarter.

Because of this uncertainty, while America grapples with who to vote for in November’s Presidential election, analysts at Goldman Sachs are certain about one thing: the Fed will likely not raise interest rates before votes are casts.