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Puget Sound housing market ‘remarkably stable’ despite pandemic

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

Even while Washington residents continue to grapple with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, the housing market in the Puget Sound region has actually remained largely consistent.

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“We’ve seen, obviously, lower choice out there — no big surprises there in terms of new listing activity,” Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “That obviously has pushed pending sales down, but prices have remained remarkably stable.”

While the spring housing market in Western Washington has definitely slowed down, “it has not come to a halt.” That saw median closing prices on residential homes rise 3.6% in King County year-over-year in April, almost 5% in Snohomish County, and over 13% in Pierce County.

That’s a starkly different market than the one Puget Sound saw in April 2019, when median residential home prices actually dipped by nearly 5% year-over-year in King County, and just over 1% in Snohomish County, while Pierce County saw a 5% increase.

With a strong market from a seller’s standpoint, it’s also seen options dwindle for buyers looking to operate on a budget, especially with supplies as low as they are.

“[The market is] virtually sold out everywhere locally in the more affordable and mid-price ranges,” John L. Scott Real Estate CEO J. Lennox Scott said in a recent news release.

That said, Gardner points out that the bulk of the economic impact from the coronavirus crisis has been been to renters.

“A very substantial proportion of them are actually renters and not homeowners,” he noted. “And this, therefore, has had a greater negative impact on the apartment market and on people not paying their rent rather than the ownership housing market.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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