Rising interest rates, rising prices and rising consumer confidence are creating a “positive cyclone of home sales activity,” according to members of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. A robust job market around the Greater Seattle area is also spurring sales, though mostly in King County.
Member-brokers reported 9,565 pending sales during July for an increase of more than 13.6 percent from a year ago – the highest year-over-year gain since January. Last month’s mutually accepted offers across 21 counties also marked a slight improvement from June.
The number of closed sales and the prices on those transactions both rose by double digits compared to a year ago. Members’ completed transactions area-wide out-gained year-ago volume by 27.5 percent. The median price of those closed sales, which included single family homes and condominiums, was $282,363, up 10.8 percent from year-ago.
Despite improving inventory overall, supplies remained low, particularly around job centers. Area-wide there is about 2.6 months of supply, indicating a seller’s market. Thurston is one of three counties have less than three months of supply. The existing supply in the capital area would be exhausted in about 2.9 months in a “normal” market. Pierce County’s supply is even lower at 2.3 months.
Brokers believe robust private sector job growth should have a positive impact on sales momentum. Although some economists expect weaker U.S. economic growth for the remaining months of 2013 and moderating home price increases, brokers say investors are active participants in the local housing market.
Buyers searching for single family homes may have an easier time than those seeking condominiums.