Housing activity in the Northwest increases as improving inventory creates more opportunities for buyers, according to the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. The Northwest MLS covers 23 counties in Washington state.

Although interest rates have threatened 2018’s market, 14,524 new listings were added during May. This is the first time since May 2008 the volume topped 14,000, according to the report.

 “With eyes peeled for potential shifts in a market that’s felt like ‘more of the same,’ the recent uptick in new listings hitting the market catches my eye -- the most new listings in more than a decade,” said Robert Wasser, owner and broker at Prospera Real Estate in Seattle and an officer with Northwest MLS.

During May, the Northwest saw an increase of about 3.8% in active listings, which snapped a streak of 44 months of negative numbers. This was the first time since 2014 that Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported a gain.

There was a slight drop in both pending and closed sales, which the report attributes to inventory shortages. In 2017, the median sales price for transactions of single-family homes and condos that closed area-wide during May was at $420,000, a jump of nearly 11% from $378,475 in 2016.

 “What we are experiencing is actually a good thing as inventory leans toward a more balanced market,” said George Moorhead, Bentley Properties designated broker. He also reported a shift from move-up and luxury home buyers to more first-time buyers with “a more level playing field between buyers and sellers,” according to the report.