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Seattle Home Prices Tick Up, Inventory Down, Multiple-Offer Sales Increase

While 18 of the 20 cities in the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed flat prices or price drops last month, Seattle was one the of the two cities that actually showed a home price increase, albeit a very small one. Home prices in the Seattle market rose 0.1% from February to March of 2011. The real story is probably not that prices are rising, but that competition for scarce homes by buyers has risen significantly as of late.

Inventory of homes for sale in our market are down 14% from one year ago, a significant decrease in available homes. With virtually no new construction available and less resale homes than last year, buyers are finding that the well-priced homes are garnering a lot of attention and a lot of offers. We still can't compare total sales to the rush of "home buyer tax credit" sales of last year, but the competition is definitely increasing.

There are a lot of reasons for the lowered inventories, especially of homes in the first-time homebuyer range, but the overall effect is that we have a fairly disjointed market. Lower-priced homes are selling quickly when they are priced correctly. Luxury sales are still strong as compared to the past few years. The gap in the current market seems to be the middle-tier of move-up buyers, who are satisified to stay in their current homes at the moment.

Nevertheless, our market seems to be stabilized in terms of pricing for the moment. Banks releasing a large inventory of foreclosed homes on the market would normally be seen as a negative for most metropolitan areas' prices, but Seattle could actually use a few more well-priced homes at the moment. Sales volumes would probably increase significantly, and until the current buyer pool is satisfied, prices would most likely remain stable, even with the higher level of distressed sales.

  • May 31 2011 - Downtown
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Answers (1)

Yes, I totally agree and posted a similar story last month.  The national news continues to talk about the huge impact foreclosures have on the real estate market, but it's not as big of an issue for most of the neighborhoods in Seattle.  I agree that multiple offers are more common now, and many homes are selling in just a day or two. 
  • May 31 2011
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