Redfin’s monthly Seattle real estate insider report draws from our proprietary database of information on homes for sale and that just sold, along with insight from our agents to get a sense of what’s going on in the market right now. If you’d like to receive the report via email, just sign up.
Welcome to Real Estate Bizarro World, where falling supply means falling prices and scarce demand still leads to multiple offer situations. 2011 continues to shape up as an unusual year for the Seattle-area real estate market, with the number of homes for sale in February falling when it should be rising, the number of buyers still near all-time lows, and prices showing persistent signs of weakness.
So what does it all mean for home buyers and sellers around Seattle? Read on for an analysis of February’s data and on-the-ground intelligence from our agents in the field.
Inventory Still Slipping
Decreasing inventory continued to plague the Seattle-area housing market across the board in February, slimming the selection of homes for 2011′s potential buyers at an even faster pace than last month.
|City||Compared to Jan. 2011||Compared to Feb. 2010|
Change in # of King County Houses for Sale on February 28th 2011, By City
“I wish there was more inventory on the market, I really, really do,” pines Michelle Swierz, a Redfin Agent in Sammamish. Northeast Seattle Redfin coordinator Ruby Manuel agrees: “Inventory definitely seemed unusually low in February.”
Things may pick up in March though, as Ruby reports “a lot of listing clients in the last couple of weeks, some of whom are ready to put their house on the market as soon as next week.” Here’s hoping.
Scarce Sales, Bargain Buyers
Sales are gaining steam as we head into the usually busy spring season, but still came in below last year’s levels in most neighborhoods. The buyers that are out there hoping to buy in the coming months are serious about their search.
|City||Compared to January 2011||Compared to January 2011 Adjusted for # Weekdays||Compared to February 2010||Compared to February 2010 Adjusted for # Weekdays|
Change in # of King County Houses That Sold in February 2011, By City
Although it may take a while with the shrinking selection, buyers are willing to pounce when they find the right home. “I have a client searching for a home around $400,000 who has looked at 130 homes,” explained West Seattle Redfin Agent Kevin Broveleit. “If something new comes on for them, we have to see it within 48 hours, or we will not get to see it.”
According to Kevin, most of the demand that is out there is focused on a fairly narrow price range, leading to an often frustrating situation where despite the low level of competition, the good homes can go fast.
It’s the same story on the Eastside. “There are a lot of people looking,” said Michelle, “and when a well-maintained, updated, well-priced home comes on the market, it goes quickly.”
Choosy Buyers Drive Down Prices
Despite the dearth of homes on the market, prices continued to slip across most of the region:
|City||Median Price in February 2011||Median $/SqFt Change since January 2011||Median $/SqFt Change since February 2010|
Change in Median Price of King County Houses That Sold in February 2011, By City
With prices still dropping, buyers are exercising their muscle. “Buyers have a price in their head of what they’re willing to pay for a house, and they’re not willing to budge,” said Michelle. “They want to battle. They go into it looking for a deal and ready to beat people up.”
“Buyers are not acquiescing to sellers,” agreed Kevin. “It may be a seller’s market by the numbers, but you need to be careful because buyers are very cautious and risk-averse.”
Want to know what’s happening in your neighborhood? Download our comprehensive spreadsheet and dig into the data for yourself! Inside you’ll find county, city, and neighborhood information galore. You can also liven up the place by posting a comment below.