NWMLS brokers report brisk activity, noting “too early to tell” if coronavirus will soften sales.
Northwest MLS representatives who commented on last month’s activity reported little impact so far from the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.
“It’s still too early to tell if the broadening effects of the coronavirus will sideline buyers,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate. “What we do know is that news of the virus led equity markets sharply lower and this caused mortgage rates to drop significantly. Therefore, the question is whether buyers will put their search on hold until the virus has abated, or if they will decide to move forward so they don’t miss out on near historic low mortgage rates,” he added.
David Maider, broker/owner at Windermere Real Estate/M2 in Everett, agreed with Gardner. “It remains to be seen if the coronavirus scare will have any impact at all on the local real estate market other than to lower interest rates,” he stated.
Member-brokers added 7,786 new listings to the MLS database during February. That was a jump of nearly 25% from the same month a year ago when record snow hindered activity. Compared to January, last month’s inventory improved by 1,269 listings for a gain of nearly 19.5%.
February’s new listings (7,786) were the highest since October, but they fell short of matching demand. Brokers reported 8,355 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) for a YOY gain of more than 21%. Inventory remained tight. At month end, there were 7,655 active listings in the 23 counties included in the MLS report. That was a 32% drop from the year ago total of 11,275. All but two counties (San Juan and Douglas) reported declines. Thurston County had the largest year-over-year drop, at 45.7%, followed by Snohomish (down 42%) and King (down 40.7%).
There is only 1.45 months of supply area-wide, according to Northwest MLS data. It is even more sparse in the four-county Puget Sound region where there is barely over a month’s supply (1.1 months). Snohomish and Thurston counties had the distinction of having the sparsest inventory, with both areas reporting less than a month (0.93) of supply.
“The Snohomish County housing market continued on a torrent pace during February,” said NWMLS director David Maider. Low inventory, a return to historically low interest rates, and plenty of buyer demand are stimulating the activity, according to Maider, owner/broker at Windermere Real Estate M2 in Everett. In many cases, sellers are receiving multiple offers exceeding the asking price, he added.
The report covers: Seattle residential neighborhoods of West Seattle, South Seattle, Central Seattle, Queen Anne-Magnolia, Ballard-Green Lake, North Seattle, Shoreline-Richmond Beach, and Kenmore-Lake Forest Park. Eastside residential neighborhoods of South Eastside, Mercer Island, West Bellevue, East Bellevue, East Lake Sammamish, Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, and Renton Highlands. Downtown Bellevue and downtown Seattle condominiums.
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© Copyright 2020. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.