Local inventory is up as buyers and sellers prep for spring real estate market

February’s snowfall temporarily slowed down sales.

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

If you’re looking to purchase a home this winter or spring, you’ll likely benefit from the uptick in inventory at all price levels in the Kirkland area. Mona Spencer, branch manager for John L. Scott’s Redmond office, said many buyers in February appreciated the options and the less hurried pace in the local market.

In Kirkland, there were 250 homes for sale in February, which is more than double the number of homes for sale in February the year prior. When looking at months of inventory in Kirkland, the city had 0.8 months of inventory in February 2018, and just a year later we are at 1.7 months of inventory.

Spencer said these numbers are encouraging and a move in the right direction toward a balanced market, though multiple offer situations are still a possibility for well-priced homes in certain areas.

“We did see fewer buyers in February competing over more homes,” said Spencer. “There are fewer frenzied bidding wars, which gives buyers an opportunity to include inspection contingencies and finance contingencies in their offers. However, we are still seeing some multiple offers depending on price point, location and condition.”

Kirkland was hit with multiple inches of snow in February, which led to school and business closures affecting many residents. Though snow did slow things down a bit, Spencer said the local real estate market wasn’t brought to a complete standstill due to the weather.

“Our snowy February slowed down sellers from putting their homes on the market,” said Spencer. “It also slowed down buyer viewings of existing listings due to challenging driving conditions. The sales that happened during the snow were buyers that were very motivated to purchase. Once the snow melted, listings and sales picked up.”

As the snow has melted and temperatures increase, many homeowners are looking to do a bit of spring cleaning and home improvement. Some spring cleaning and repairs can translate to a higher return on investment when homeowners do decide to sell. A recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions detailing year-end sales numbers for 2018 noted that the highest profits from home sales are in the West, with an average return on investment in Seattle of 70.7 percent.

Getting the ball rolling on repairs now can pay off in spring, when Spencer said the market sees the most listings and buyers. She anticipates many of the buyers this April, May and June will be current renters who may take advantage of the inventory and interest rates to begin building equity.

“If interest rates stay low, inventory continues to grow, and our local job market stays strong, we should see a solid spring market,” said Spencer. “If interest rates remain low, it will help buyers with affordability. Renters entering the market realize that they are paying the landlord’s mortgage and are therefore not building their own equity, may not be able to have pets and are not able to control rising rental costs.”

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