It’s been the best summer for sales activity ever, with June, July and August clocking in a record number of transactions, according to Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.
“The other big stories are the high sales activity compared to new listings coming on the market, with pending sales activity virtually matching the number of new listings in August and record low inventory,” Scott said.
In Bellevue, homes continue to sell quickly, and oftentimes with multiple offers. New listings were up 7.3 percent compared to August 2016, and pending home sales increased 4 percent. That being said, overall inventory is down 22.4 percent from last year. In fact, as the summer market comes to a close and we head into fall, low inventory appears to be the new normal.
According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, last month was the lowest August on record for total active inventory. In King County, listings are down almost 21 percent from August 2016; listings are also down 10.6 percent in Snohomish, 14.46 in Pierce and 18.85 in Kitsap counties.
Julia Nordby, office leader of John L. Scott Bellevue, said Bellevue is still experiencing a very strong market with significant price appreciation month over month.
“The market has cooled ever so slightly in outlying areas but remains a strong seller’s market for everything within a 30 minute commute to downtown Bellevue and Seattle,” she said. “Overall, we have seen a few more building inspection contingencies in our contracts, and even a few home sale contingencies.”
Nordby also said there’s opportunity for buyers with homes that have been on the market for over two weeks.
“Sellers of those homes tend to be a little more willing to negotiate on price and terms.”
Approximately 7 percent of all pending sales on the Eastside fail to close for one reason or another. Therefore, Nordby suggests that buyers who aren’t selected in multiple offer situations should take the time to write backup offers.
September and October will see new listing inventory coming on the market drop by about 20 percent from the summer months. So the next two months will be the best opportunity for selection and availability for buyers to purchase a home, because starting November the number of new listings will drop another 30 percent over the winter.
Interest rates and job growth also play into the record-breaking summer; the market is experiencing the lowest rates since last November, and job growth remains very strong, Scott said.
The luxury market continues to outpace last year’s market in a huge way, with 504 homes selling over $1 million last month in King County compared to last year’s 332 homes, equating to a 51 percent increase in homes sold. A total of 24 uber luxury homes sold (priced above $3 million), compared to last year’s 14 homes, a 71 percent increase, Scott added.