Traditionally, the market slows during the last few weeks of summer as locals go on vacation and families begin backto-school preparations, but the month of August showed minimal signs of slowing.
According to the most recent report released by the Northwest MLS, closedsales volume in August was up nearly 6 percent throughout the MLS territory despite inventory being almost 13 percent lower than during the same period last year. The stats also show closed sales prices for single-family homes in August were up again year-over-year. Prices were up by 18.18 percent in King County, 9.82 percent in Pierce and 13.75 percent in Snohomish.
Falling mortgage rates continue to influence the market. With mortgage rates remaining low, many homeowners are choosing to refinance instead of selling. This is part of why inventory remains low throughout our region. Falling rates allow buyers to increase their home search price range and withstand rising home prices resulting from competition over sparse listings.
Multiple offers are still common, especially for those listings in the affordable firsttime buyer and mid-level/move-up buyer price ranges. Move-up sellers are in a great position to get a good return on their investment when they sell, and they can take advantage of low interest rates for their next home purchase.
Baby boomers on the brink of retirement may have the most to gain from our current market, which can help them fund a comfortable retirement. According to a recent Zillow report, Seattle sellers who have owned their home for an average of nine years gained 53.1 percent, or about $185,000 on a 2016 sale.
Brokers caution that sellers still need to price properties appropriately. They cite an increase in the number of “stagnant” listings, which are properties that have been on the market for a while, with few or no offers at the asking price.
As we move into the last quarter of this amazing year, pricing looks to be a critical factor in getting ahead of the slowdown that traditionally comes with the colder months.