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Puget Sound area housing market cools with slowdown in sales, sharp increase in active listings

Jun 7, 2022, 10:23 AM
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A Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house for sale in Seattle, Washington.(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

By the end of May, hopeful buyers in the Western Washington housing market could choose from nearly 9,000 active listings, up close to 60% year over year.

Two counties more than doubled their active listing in the last year: Snohomish and Douglas, with percentage increases by more than 135% in both counties, according to analysis and data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“The significant increase in the number of homes for sale has some speculating that the market is about to implode, but that is very unlikely,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate.

“What’s more likely to occur is that the additional supply will lead us toward a more balanced market, which after years of such lopsided conditions, is much needed,” he added.

Economist: Puget Sound region housing market appreciation ‘unsustainable’

Pending and closed sales are down year over year (a decrease of 11.7%), but up from the previous month (an increase of 8.2%).

“The additional supply of homes for sale is giving buyers more choices, which is something they haven’t had in several years,” Gardner continued, noting that May’s increase in sales over April indicates that rising mortgage rates have not yet impacted the housing market.

Sale price also appears to be slowing down, although prices are still on the upswing, with last month’s system-wide median price of $660,000 up 12.8% from the one-year mark of $585,000 in May 2021. Comparing percentages, that was the smallest year-over-year increase since December 2020 when it was 12.2%.

“In May, we saw a slowdown in the steep price increases we have witnessed so far this year,” added John Deely, executive vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain.

He noted prices for single-family home sales (excluding condos) in King County jumped from $775,000 in January to a whopping $995,000 in April, a change of $220,000 in only four months (a jump of 28.4%). Prices for single-family homes in King County were nearly unchanged from April ($995,000) to May ($998,888).

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Puget Sound area housing market cools with slowdown in sales, sharp increase in active listings