DAVE ROSS

‘Some relief’ for Puget Sound home buyers over last month despite rising prices

Jul 8, 2021, 10:38 AM
Seattle housing prices, inventory, relief...
A Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house for sale in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin)
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin)

After a month where bidding wars sent home prices in the Puget Sound region skyrocketing, prospective buyers could finally be seeing some semblance of relief on the horizon.

Puget Sound home buyers ‘finally got some good news’ amid rising prices

In recent months, King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties have all seen record lows in housing inventory, dropping by over 4,800 listings year-over-year in May. Things appear to have ticked back up, though, with June seeing the highest volume of new listings in almost a year and a half among those three counties.

That’s something Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner says could end up “easing the pressure a little.”

“Buyers need some relief, so I hope this trend continues,” he said in the latest report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

As for whether that pace is maintained through the rest of the summer, other analysts remain skeptical, pointing to a handful of unique circumstances over the last month.

“We believe that rather than that being an indication of a flattening of the market, this is a result of our extreme heat events, a typical summer slowdown as schools let out and people start vacations, and, this year, the reopening of the country and discontinuation of COVID-19 restrictions,” Coldwell Banker Bain Executive Vice President John Deely said.

How pandemic is leaving lasting footprint on Puget Sound housing market

This is all while the cost of buying a house in the Puget Sound region continues to ascend toward “dramatic” levels, Gardner describes.

In King County, the median sale price for residential homes rose by over 18% year-over-year in June, with similar 32% and 25% increases in Snohomish and Pierce counties, respectively.

That said, Gardner also cautions against reading too far into those numbers.

“The issue here is very simple: Any year-over-year comparison really is not informative,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “I say that because let’s remember what was going on last spring into the summer of 2020 — we’ve got to take these numbers, quite frankly, with a pinch of salt.”

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‘Some relief’ for Puget Sound home buyers over last month despite rising prices