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Our goal is to provide you with professional, knowledgeable and dedicated representation with a focus on your desires and goals while making our association one that you will keep for life. If you are interested in buying or selling property around Seattle let a member of our team of talented and professional real estate brokers meet with you to discuss your needs and goals and assist you with your next move.
The Seattle area real estate market as we start 2021 has one of the most extraordinary situations ever seen in this area. A lack of inventory in 2019 which grew throughout 2020 has turned into absolute scarcity of supply of available properties in comparison the current demand for them.
The 2020 housing market was outstanding and remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which was its extraordinary resolve through the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though things looked bleak in March and April as the initial shut down took place the market took off from there and ended with both large increases in sales volume as well as sale prices.
December 2020 saw brokers in the entire NWMLS membership throughout western and central Washington sell 9008 homes and condos; an increase of 27% from December 2019. The median sale price of those properties rose 12% from last year to $488,00 this year. In King County the volume of sales rose 28% over 2019 and median sale price rose 10% to $676,000.
When comparing the month of December against the past decade the month’s total of new listings (5,260) was the largest since 2010 (5,460). By month end, there were 4,732 total active listings throughout the MLS database, which encompasses 25 counties. That’s down 44% from a year ago when there were 8,469 listings.
Measured by months of inventory, there is only about two weeks of supply (0.53 months) overall. Only five counties had more than a month of supply, well below the four months of supply used by housing analysts as a gauge of a balanced market. In the Seattle metro area we have inventory levels at extreme lows with King County at .63 months, Pierce County at .33 months and Snohomish County at .26 months.
With inventory back below one month in we expect that 2021 will show even faster rising home prices as a result of the severe lack of inventory. While buyers continue to benefit from low interest rates, there are simply not enough homes for sale. These elements indicate that the first quarter of 2021 will likely be an active market and will continue until the supply issue is abated or the market slows due to other external factors.
As to be expected in a market with an imbalance of supply vs. demand, prices continue to rise significantly. What makes this current market different from what happened in 2007-08 is that it is being pushed upwards by the lack of supply and not speculation or exotic loan products. Although it is an a market driven by an extreme situation it is also one that is based upon solid metrics and not prone to a crash. Our expectation is for 2021 to be a year with a highly active market that is beneficial for sellers, challenging for buyers and will require real estate brokers with the experience and talent such as ours to help them navigate through it to success.
The Seattle metropolitan area is made up of three counties - King which encompasses the city of Seattle and spreads eastward; Snohomish county to the north and Pierce to the south. Puget Sound forms the western border of the Seattle area and stretches 100 miles north and south and connects to the Pacific Ocean via the Straits of Juan de Fuca. The region was formed by ancient glaciers which carved out the many waterways that are spread throughout the area. To the east of Puget Sound rises the Cascade range of mountains and Mt. Rainier, the tallest and most prominent of the mountain chain. The Seattle area and Puget Sound was first explored by George Vancouver in 1792, who claimed it for Great Britain and named the sound after his Lieutenant - Peter Puget. The first non-native American settlers in the area started a town in present day Tumwater with the Seattle area adding its first in 1852. Seattle was the main travel and trade port with Alaska and the rest of the United States and grew around a shipbuilding industry in its early years. The Tacoma area south of Seattle had a significant smelting industry where copper, gold and silver were processed. In the world war years the Seattle area developed a number of heavy industries with the Boeing company building airplanes and a number of companies building ships around Seattle and Tacoma. The Boeing company maintains a large presence throughout the Seattle area to this day with multiple facilities in and around Seattle. In recent years the Seattle area has expanded its growth around the technology industry with Microsoft and Amazon leading that new era. The Seattle area is the most populous part of Washington state with an estimated population of over 3.7 million.