Northwest home sales expected to stay strong this winter

As the Northwest’s housing market wraps up one of the best Octobers on record, it’s predicted to head into a strong winter market where conditions look very similar to last year.

According to the October report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, home sales around Western Washington outgained new listings again in October, fueling competition for scarce inventory and pushing prices higher.

The report found that MLS members reported 9,950 pending sales during October, but they added only 7,591 new listings, the lowest number since January.

Looking at a yearly basis of pending sales, there were 633 more mutually accepted offers last month than twelve months ago for a gain of 6.8%.

In addition, sales that closed also improved, rising from the year-ago total of 7,769 completed transactions to last month’s volume of 8,554 (up 10.1%).

“While the stock market remains somewhat skittish regarding the upcoming presidential election, this feeling clearly has not transferred to the housing market,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate.

 “Unfortunately for buyers who were hoping to have more homes to choose from this fall, listings in October fell to levels we haven’t seen since the 1990s – and at this point, we probably won’t see any sizable increase in inventory until the spring at the earliest,” he added.

When it comes to inventory, active listings dropped more than 13% compared to a year ago, with further shrinkage expected.

By the end of October, there were 15,690 single-family homes and condominiums offered for sale in the MLS system, which encompasses 23 counties.

“The further we move into November, the more we’ll start feeling the typical seasonal drop when new listings coming on the market decline by 50% on a monthly basis compared to spring and summer months,” suggested J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

“We’re heading into winter with a repeat of last year’s conditions: low inventory, a backlog of buyers, and historically low interest rates,” he said,

Scott predicts “a strong winter market where the inventory remains tight throughout the season.”

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