22 March 2012

Seatte Real Estate Market Update ~ Best Time for Sellers Since '07

February statistics for both Northwest Multiple Listing Service and Trendgraphix are in and the market continues to fire on all cylinders for sellers.  Ask any Seattle Realtor and she or he will tell you that this is unequivocally the best time for sellers since the peak of the market in the summer of 2007.  All one needs to do is take a quick glance at the graph below.  When the red "pended" line (properties that went under contract in February) turns sharply north towards the rave green (Go Sounders!) "for sale" bar, we can almost see inventory evaporate on the street.  Clues are abundant that sellers are feeling more optimistic:  "flippers" are returning to the market and successfully buying and remodeling homes for profit, new construction is selling in presale before completion, sellers are advertising "offer review" dates when they will sit down and choose a buyer to work with, and offer-makers are completing "preinspections" and then waiving inspection and financing contingencies and offering more than list price to compete for a home.  As the market heats up, buyers are having to recalibrate their expectations.  Accustomed to many years of distress, buyers now must contemplate the very real prospect of having to enter a multiple offer.  All this being said, there is still distress in the market.  Approximately 25% of all single-family homes listed in Seattle on the NWMLS are either bank owned or short sale properties, and condos in town and all properties outside of robust urban and suburban areas like Seattle and Bellevue are not necessarily on this same speedier pace.  Distressed in Seattle, however, does not always mean less sell-able these days, as distressed homes are virtually matching the pace of sale for non-distressed homes (2.3 months of inventory for distressed homes vs 2.1 for non-distressed homes).  Take a look at this example:  as I write, I am involved in a short sale multiple offer (go figure) where 10 offers showed up.  The same home sold quickly but with only an offer or two in hand this past summer, and subsequently fell apart through the rigors of the short sale process.  (Incidentally, this is why median prices for distressed single-family homes in Seattle clocked in at $255K, while non-distressed homes garnered $405K.)  This home very starkly demonstrates how the market has changed in just over half a year.  The take-away is that it's a pretty darn good time to be a seller.  Stay realistic about price and take the extra effort to prepare your home for the market, and good things can come your way.  How long this will last is hard to know, so seize the moment. 

Why are things on such a frenzied pace?  Why is inventory so low?  There's lots of speculation on these topics and lots to discuss.  Give a call sometime and we can grab a coffee, a drink, or a bite and get caught up on Seattle real estate! 

The graphs below represent statistics for all Seattle single-family homes in February and are provided by Trendgraphix.

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