As we bring the 2018 real estate market to a close in December…the holidays, shifting consumer confidence, slower activity and fluctuating interest rates have contributed to the changes we’ve experienced yet we are still in a seller’s market with added buyer support as inventory has dipped below a two months supply; the first time since July (4-6 months is considered a balanced market) yet nothing like the crazy multiple offer and under a month of inventory market we saw in our not-too-distant past.
Members of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) saw 3,631 new listings of single family homes and condos added to the market in December (10.4 percent fewer than a year ago) bringing the total active listings at month’s end to 12,275 (up from 8,553 from a year ago). The 12,275 active listings was down from November when we reported 15,830 active listings; and down from 2018’s peak in September of 19,526 units.
Measured in months of supply, there was 1.93 months of supply at the end of December compared to the same time a year ago when we had 1.12 months of supply. Supply at months end for Snohomish County was 1.53 months, Pierce County was 1.52 months and King County was 1.71 months. Condo inventory in King County has surged to over four times as many condos listings than it had 12 months ago. For the most part, inventory has climbed each month since May.
Pending sales were down around 8.4 percent from this same time last year (5,677 units compared to 6,198) and closed sales were down almost 16.6 percent (6,374 compared to 7,642).
In 2018, brokers reported 92,555 closed sales compared to 99,345 in 2017; a decrease of roughly 6.8 percent. The median price of last year’s closed sales of single family homes and condos in the 23 counties served by the NWMLS was $402,000; up $32,000 (8.64 percent) from 2017.
I predict we will see increases in inventory throughout 2019 yet not quite getting us to a balanced market by year end (remaining in a seller’s market), prices will increase area-wide at around 5.5 percent and rising interest rates possibly bringing us to around 5.5 percent by the end of 2019.
This is still a great time for both buyers and sellers to enter the market as our economy remains healthy and our market remains strong; let Hewitt Property Group guide you to the information necessary to make the right decisions in 2019.