Real Estate

Northwest housing market cools amidst raging wildfire

But slowdown is limited

Wildfires raging across the Western U.S. are partially responsible for pull home sales down in the Northwest, cooling some parts of the housing market.

Smoke and ash are covering parts of Washington state, and overall the housing market is cooler in the Northwest Multiple Listing Service area, which covers 23 counties in and around Washington state.

“Even in a fire there are some cooler spots, and seasonally, the housing market is in a cooler spot,” one real estate broker noted.

Pending home sales reached 11,867 transactions in the in August, down 0.9% from last month, the latest report showed. By the end of the month, there were a total 15,987 active listings in the Northwest, down 12.8% from last year.

However, despite the slowdown, demand remains strong in the area.

“For August, we experienced a more robust market than anticipated,” said Diedre Hanes, Coldwell Banker Bain principal managing broker of South Snohomish County. “Compared to years past, we’ve seen very limited slowdown.”

It is not unusual to see a cool down in the housing market at the end of summer, Northwest MLS Director Frank Wilson said. Wilson described activity as a “fast-paced seller’s market,” but said the “stagnant pool” is beginning to grow as sellers realize they can’t overprice their homes, “even in this market.”

Total home supply continues to shrink, including single-family homes and condominiums, came in at 1.55 months in August, down from July’s 1.62 months and from last year’s 1.9 months. This restricted home supply sent home prices up 8.3% across the MLS area.

“Of course, that old law of supply and demand has its natural effect.” said Mike Grady, Coldwell Banker Bain president and chief operating officer. “With King County prices escalating at such a fast rate, up 17%, the ripple effect will continue to push prices throughout the area, first in neighboring counties, then throughout the region.”

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