As we near the end of 2020, it continues to be a strong seller’s market across most of the region. Inventory remains low and prices are up significantly over this time last year.
We continue to see low inventory across King County. Prices have leveled off in most areas but are up significantly over this time last year.
As we head into the second half of 2020, it is a good time to look at how the Seattle area market has performed so far and what trends we should watch moving forward. Buyer and seller activity remained pretty balanced through April. However, in May and June, we began to see the number of active buyers outpace the new homes coming onto the market.
This was especially true in areas outside of Seattle, where inventory levels are at historic lows. Median prices for homes closing in June were at or near their peak levels. July and August are typically months when we see buyer activity decrease and inventory levels rise, so it will be interesting to see if things have become a bit more balanced as we head into the fall.
As we continue to track the local real estate market’s response to Covid-19, perhaps the biggest surprise has been how quickly buyer activity has rebounded. During the first 20 days of May, the number of pending homes was 90% of what we would expect to see based on the 5-year median. Seller activity has also rebounded quickly and new listings in May have been at 81% of the 5-year median. The total number of available homes continues to be slightly below (96%) the 5-year median, and well below (62%) where it was at this time last year.
It’s difficult to know what the rest of 2020 will hold for the local real estate market. The year began with low inventory and strong buyer demand. During the 1st quarter, we saw home prices appreciate 12% across King County. The Covid-19 outbreak began to slow buyer and seller activity in March, and caused both to decline significantly in April. As we head into the 3 months which typically see the greatest number of homes hit the market, the question to watch will be whether buyer demand can keep up or whether we will see inventory levels rise and and prices start to soften.
During this current “Stay Home Stay Safe” period, the primary focus of the local real estate industry has been on doing everything we can to keep our families, our clients, and our communities as safe and healthy as possible. Most real estate activities have either been paused, are being conducted remotely, or with significant precautions in place.
It is difficult to know the full impact that the Covid-19 outbreak will have on our local market. As brokers, we continue to work to keep our clients as informed as possible about how it may impact the decisions they need to make both now and in the future. In that spirit, here are a few trends that may be worth watching as we move forward.