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Real Estate

Northwest housing activity slowdown shows more balanced market

Homebuyers continue to struggle with limited housing supply

While it is still clearly a seller’s market in the Northwest, some signs seem to be pointing towards a shift to a more balanced market, according to a report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

This is welcome news, considering last month’s report showed the market remained intense.

From last year, the volumes of new listings increased 14.5%, pending sales increased 9.3%, closed sales increased 9.5% and prices increased nearly 9% in September, according to the report. Inventory for single family homes and condominiums across the 23 counties in the report dropped about 8% from last year.

While new listings increased by 1,275 more than last year to 10,047 new listings, pending home sales of single-family homes and condos still outnumbered the new listings. Brokers reported 10,463 pending home sales in September.

Because of the modest increase in the number of new listings and the slowing pace of sales and prices Windermere Real Estate president OB Jacobi said the market could be slowly beginning to rebalance.

“The increase in listings is pretty unusual given that the number of listings usually declines between August and September,” Jacobi said. “Considering how desperate we are for inventory, I hope this trend continues as we head further into the fall months.”

MLS director Frank Wilson said one area, Kitsap County (near the Seattle area), is moving into the fall cycle, evidenced in part by slowdowns in listings and sales when compared to mid-year activity. He also reported fewer people at open houses and fewer multiple offer situations.

“We are still heavily weighted to a seller’s market, but a small shift might be telling, we’re seeing more price reductions than in the recent past,” Wilson said.

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