For frustrated house hunters, it seems there’s hope.
Within the Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s coverage area, the volume of new listings added to inventory during June (13,658) was the highest total for any single month since May 2008 (14,176 new listings).
“This time of year, we see more new listings coming on the market than pending sales, and June didn’t disappoint,” stated J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott.
That, coupled with some slowdown in the pace of sales and the moderating number of multiple offers, is slowly leading to some summer breathing room in the market. The development was expected by industry observers, though Puget Sound’s central counties — including Pierce — continue to see tight inventory.
Pierce is among seven counties reporting less than two months of supply (the others are Cowlitz, Douglas, King, Kitsap, Snohomish, and Thurston). In general, four-to-six months is considered to be a balanced market.
“Inventory continues to go lower as prices continue to climb in Kitsap County, leaving us with about 1.5 months of supply and home prices that are up more than 12 percent from a year ago,” said MLS director Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo.
Prices continue to surge, with year-over-year prices up about 11.4 percent in the King-Pierce-Kitsap-Snohomish region.
Despite their upward trajectory, prices still matter, according to Northwest MLS director Dick Beeson, who cautioned sellers to “be wary” about unrealistic pricing.
“The market sizzles while sellers fiddle,” quipped Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Gig Harbor. Noting 80-to-90 percent of sellers in the Central Puget Sound counties are accepting offers on their homes within 30 days of listing and marketing it, he acknowledged, “There is no end to the pain buyers are experiencing as they search for a home.”
Still, Beeson advocated hope and persistence for buyers as the market eases somewhat.
“Diligence and prior planning are necessary to win the day,” he said. “Buyers must be pre-underwritten for a loan, not just pre-approved. They must act decisively, not weakly or slowly. They must keep their composure and perseverance as they lose out on offers before finally winning.”