Northwest sees new listings soar by 50%

Northwest Multiple Listing Service brokers saw an uptick in new listings during March as the housing market saw an increase of 50% from February in new listings.

The report, which covers 23 counties in and around Washington state, showed brokers added 10,321 new listings during March. Brokers also added an even greater number of pending sales, 10,447, leaving inventory near historic lows.

“Although we’re seeing better news for buyers related to increases in new listings during the past three months, we’re continuing to sell inventory at a faster rate,” said Mike Grady, Coldwell Banker Bain president and chief operating officer.

“This lack of supply continues to put an upward pressure on home prices,” Grady said. “We’re in for yet another frenzied spring.”

A recent report from CoreLogic confirms that this spring home-buying season looks to be the strongest in recent memory.

Inventory from the MLS area remained below 10,000 for the second straight month. The selection of active listings increased 7.5% from February to 9,774 listings, but dropped 23% from last year.

“It’s a straight up crazy, frenzy market in King and Snohomish counties [The two counties in and above the Seattle area],” John L. Scott chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott said. His analysis shows about 75% of homes are selling within the first 30 days.

And this lack of inventory continues to place upward pressure on home prices. March’s median single-family home price increased 10.9% annually to $355,000.

However, one expert warns that real estate agents should exercise caution when pricing homes to sell.

“This doesn’t mean sellers can just slap a price they like on their listing and expect it to fly off the shelf,” said Diedre Haines, Coldwell Banker Bain principal managing broker of South Snohomish County. “We certainly don’t need or want [overpriced] inventory that just sits there, gets stale and becomes stigmatized.”

“Agents need to be diligent with pricing and sellers need to be realistic,” Haines said, noting today’s buyers are well informed and more sophisticated than in past markets.

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