Surging home prices prolong Seattle’s ‘bidding wars’ era

Mar 20, 2024, 1:36 PM

Photo: The Seattle area is seeing more buyers than sellers as home prices surge....

The Seattle area is seeing more buyers than sellers as home prices surge. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Home prices are surging again in the greater Seattle area which means the era of the “bidding wars” is not over.

The median home price increased 7.7% in the greater Seattle area between January and February and prices jumped 10.2% in February, compared to the year before, according to new numbers from Remax Gateway.

Broker: Seattle has more buyers than sellers as home prices surge

“The Seattle area in general tends to have many more buyers than sellers, but that trend has been exaggerated in the last several months and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon,” Managing Broker, John Manning, told KIRO Newsradio.

Survey: Washingtonians ‘unhappy’ with the lack of affordable housing

Manning explained it by using a real estate industry metric called “month of availability.”

When there’s a balance in supply and demand, there are six months of availability.

“In other words, if another home came on the market from today, it would take six months to sell out all the homes that are on the market,” he said.

But he said in the greater Seattle area, “We’re in a market currently where we have about two WEEKS of homes available.”

Why is there a lack of available homes in Seattle?

Why the short supply? He said there are several reasons.

One is due simply to the amount of land available for home construction.

“Western Washington is somewhat constrained between the Puget Sound and the mountains,” Manning explained.

He pointed out the region also features low unemployment and good job opportunities.

“There’s always – generally speaking – more people moving into the region than there are moving out, so there’s always a solid demand for housing,” he said.

Another major factor is the Federal Reserve has raised its key rate 11 times in a year and a half, according to Bankrate.

Bankrate survey: Interest rates soar as Americans carry more credit card debt

In response, mortgage rates have increased. Manning said people who bought homes or refinanced at lower rates may be reluctant to sell.

Homes that DO come on the market aren’t staying there for long. In King County, Manning is seeing multiple bids for homes.

“One in (Seattle’s) Capitol Hill for example, where there were sixteen offers for one home, and that one soared in price to several $100,000 above its list price,” he said.

He expects home prices to continue to rise through May, as spring tends to be the busiest time for the housing market.

Heather Bosch is an award-winning anchor and reporter on KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of her stories here. Follow Heather on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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Surging home prices prolong Seattle’s ‘bidding wars’ era