A recent report ranked our area as the most competitive real estate market in the country, with 71% of homes selling within two weeks. While the number of new listings in November were up compared to a year ago, there just wasn’t enough inventory to meet the current surge in demand.
In King County there were 37% fewer single-family homes on the market – 1,621 homes this November vs. 2,592 a year ago. Inventory in Snohomish County is even more strained. At the end of the month there were just 416 homes for sale as compared to 1,204 a year ago, a 65% drop. Both counties had about a two week supply of homes at the end of November. A four month supply of inventory is considered balanced. Buyers in the market for a condominium in King County had much more options. Condo inventory was up 39% over last year.
The inventory-starved market sent home prices higher. The median single-family home price in King County was up 10% over a year ago to $730,500. Home prices in Snohomish County rose 14% to $566,000. In a survey of homebuyers looking for a home during Covid-19, 82% said they would go over budget to get their ideal home. Record-low interest rates have helped soften the blow of soaring prices a bit. According to Freddie Mac, rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to their lowest level, at 2.71%, for the 14th time this year.
With low inventory and high demand, buyers need to be ready to compete. That means being pre-approved or willing to offer cash, and working with an agent on a plan that includes counter-offers, escalation clauses and other strategies to help win the sale. As many consider working remotely long-term, our home has become more important to us than ever.
The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market.