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Could Seattle’s housing market finally cool off in 2019?

The housing market in the Puget Sound region has done well during the ongoing pandemic. (AP)

With Seattle’s home prices already falling, recent reports see that trend continuing into the new year.

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According to Redfin, a handful of major housing markets that saw prices go up in 2018 will “experience the biggest slowdowns in price growth in the first half of 2019.”

Such markets include Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver, and Honolulu, where Redfin expects “demand to cool the most.”

That seems to fall in line with data published in a recent report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. In the report, the NMLS predicted less of a free-fall in home prices, and more of a balancing of rates.

“I expect this trend (toward a more balanced market) to continue into 2019, which will cause appreciation to slow somewhat, while giving buyers more options,” OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, said in the report. “This does not mean the real estate sky is falling, rather it’s a much-needed shift towards a more sustainable, balanced mark.”

If you’re looking to take advantage of that right at the beginning of the new year, though, you might want to pump the brakes. The report predicts a sellers’ market to start 2019, as the backlog of holiday home-buyers begin searching in January.

As for that surge, it could very well last past the beginning of the new year before things eventually even out.

“We will experience a strong/surge housing market in the spring, which will taper off to a strong market for the remainder of 2019,” said J. Lennox Scott, John L. Scott Real Estate CEO, in the report.

This aligns with falling home prices in late-2018 across the Seattle area.

According to the Case-Shiller home-price index, single-family home costs declined 1.3 percent in September, following a 1.6 percent drop the month before. What’s especially striking is how widespread the drop is; it extends from Pierce to King to Snohomish counties.

There’s an old saying that claims “there’s never a good time to buy a house.” Buyers in 2019 will hope that doesn’t ring true, as house-hunters keep their collective fingers crossed for a much-awaited buyer’s market in Seattle.

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