Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate comments on the NWMLS October housing numbers and gives his take on the market.
“We’re heading into winter with a repeat of last year’s conditions: low inventory, a backlog of buyers, and historically low interest rates. Last month was the best October on record, and the surge-hot market continues on a seasonality basis. Starting in November, as daylight savings time falls back, so will home sales activity. The farther we move into November the more we’ll start feeling the typical seasonal drop when new listings coming on the market decline by 50 percent on a monthly basis when compared to spring and summer markets. But buyers are still out there, and just like last year, we’re going to see a strong winter market where the inventory remains tight throughout the season.
Last month there were more pending home sales than new listings in King, Snohomish, Kitsap, and Pierce counties compared to a year ago, especially in areas and price ranges where 90 percent of the sales activity is taking place. Out of the four-county area, Kitsap County was the only one that saw a slight increase in new residential listings over last year, and pending sales increased by 20.70 percent. Price appreciation is driving the strong Kitsap market.”
We are seeing a slight decrease in the number of multiple offer situations for new listings, but in areas close to job centers, especially on the Eastside, like Bellevue’s Somerset neighborhood, multiple offer situations and bidding wars continue. A recent example: JLS Broker Ann Pierson had a listing in Somerset in the mid 900s. During the first weekend they had an open house with traffic of over 300 visitors (mostly Chinese) and 29 offers came in the Tuesday after the open house (all Chinese). The family who won the home was relocating to Bellevue from China for a job with Expedia, and the home sold for over $1.1 million dollars.
October 2016 market characteristics:
These market conditions will continue until at least into the summer of 2017.
October 2016 was the best October on record for pending homes sales in history for the Puget Sound real estate market. We saw a decrease in new residential listings compared to a year ago in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties, but Kitsap County saw a slight increase from 373 last October to 401 last month (residential resale only, not including condo).
Expect inventory to drop by 50 percent on a monthly basis now until February of 2017.
Pending home sales outpaced new inventory for the month of October in the four-county area.
In the luxury market, sales activity of homes above one million is strong.
Interest rates continue to be historically low in the mid threes.
Katie Garrity is with John L. Scott Real Estate.