Possible Relief for Seattle – King County Home Buyers

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service issued a press release indicating that we are finally seeing an increase in new listings being added to the market. The 14,524 new listings that came on during May, in the 23 counties that the NWMLS serves, are the most listings added in one month in 10 years. In King County, there were almost 1000 homes added to the market creating just over one month of inventory – the first time since September of last year. Here’s a link to the NWMLS market snapshot for May 2018.

I’m hearing that real estate agents are noticing a shift in the marketplace where they are actually starting to consider offers with some contingencies to the purchase and sales agreement.

From the Press Release:

“Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain, said the significant increase in inventory means a slightly easier time for buyers to locate and purchase homes “for the time being.” He said the broader selection enables more buyers to purchase homes regardless of escalating prices, slightly higher interest rates, and fewer cash sales involving Chinese nationals. Grady attributes the dip in Chinese activity to that country’s policies making it more difficult for people to take their cash out of China.”

I find the comment about investors from China interesting. In my West Seattle neighborhood, there are three homes (in a row!) that were purchased well over list price using cash from Chinese investors that are being used as investment property – when they are even occupied. More often than not, they appear vacant. I’ve often thought that if the City of Seattle wants to have a tax to help affordable housing, they should look at foreign investors who bid up homes just to have a place to keep their cash….that’s probably a subject for another post.

More from Grady:

“Commenting on the inclination of more homeowners who are willing to list and sell at this time, he is hearing of more boomers and friends planning to move to states where housing costs less. “One good friend decided Seattle was too expensive to live in his retirement, so they’re selling their 1,400 sq. ft. $600,000 home in Lynnwood and retiring in North Carolina where they purchased a 3,000 sq. ft. home for $300,000,” he said adding, “It may be something to watch as our boomer population retires.”

I am seeing this as well…it could be the time for boomers, or folks who are nearing retirement, to “take the money and run”.

Mortgage rates have been returning to a more historically “normal” level. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the local market.

It does seem as though sellers are sensing that if they want to get top dollar for their homes during record high prices, they need to take action and list soon. As more homes are listed, competition will cool the market – which will be a refreshing welcome for battle weary home buyers.

If you’re considering selling your home and/or buying a new home located anywhere in Washington state, I’m happy to help you!



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