Puget Sound housing market continues to favor buyers in 2019
The housing market in the Puget Sound region continues to favor buyers far more than it did in 2018, with active listings increasing, and prices leveling out.
“As we head into the prime buying and selling season, we’re seeing better news for buyers in King County,” said Coldwell Banker Bain president and COO Mike Grady, in the latest report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The median price for a residential home in King County increased by just over 3 percent between March and April, but dipped 4.83 percent compared to April 2018. Snohomish County’s median residential home price saw a 1.18 drop from last year at this time, with homes in Pierce County actually seeing an increase of just under 5 percent.
That came as King County saw a massive 78.5 percent growth in inventory over 2018, following closely by Snohomish County at 57 percent.
This all is a stark difference from Puget Sound’s booming seller’s market in past years, to one where buyers have more time to make decisions, and more options to choose from.
“Buyers now have three-to-four weeks instead of three-to-four days to make a decision,” Grady said.
In terms of why median prices over last year seem to be dropping, that can be attributed to a number of factors, including more inventory, lower interest rates, and a steady economy.
According to one estimate, mortgage rates are averaging just 4.4 percent for a 30-year fixed loan. That in turn has led to two demographics competing as buyers: Older homeowners trading down to smaller houses, and first-time buyers looking for value.
That being so, RE/MAX principal managing broker Dick Beeson noted that buyers should still be “ready to rumble,” with the market generally tending to heat up in the summer months.
In the days ahead, price increases are still likely to continue slowing down compared to last year.
“We are very slowly trending away from a complete seller’s market, instead of double-digit increases we saw in 2018,” said Grady.
Meanwhile, things continue to be difficult for renters in the state’s biggest metropolitan area.
According to a report from Apartment List, median rents in Seattle increased for the fourth straight month in April, since a decline in December. Boasting the most expensive rent of any city in the Seattle metro area is Bellevue, with a 0.4 increase over March, and a 2.6 percent increase over last year.