NWMLS: “May was a Grand Slam” …For Home Salespeople

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May market stats have been published by the NWMLS this morning. Here’s their press release.

Brokers suggest improving inventory may mean”season of opportunity” for weary house hunters

Would-be buyers who have been shut out of the real estate market should test the “real estate waters” during the summer months suggests one industry leader.

“Summer might provide some competitive relief for weary buyers,” said Gary O’Leyar, owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, pointing to some of the newly-released statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service as indicators.

Despite murmurs of the possibility of relief for disenchanted house hunters, May was a hotbed of activity. Brokers notched 9,188 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) in the four-county region, the highest ever reported for the region. Overall, members reported 12,607 pending sales, up 2.7 percent from a year ago.

“May was a Grand Slam month for housing activity,” exclaimed J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

A more lengthy quote from J. Lennox Scott was distributed by email:

“May was the best month for sales activity of any month in history in the four-county area of King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap Counties. As Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Mariner’s, used to say: “My, oh my! Get out the rye bread and the mustard Grandma, it’s grand salami time”. We finally saw new inventory come on the market in May, and although we had a slight delay in the timing, the spring Puget Sound housing market is in full swing and just as intense and frenzy as it has ever been.

Based on J. Lennox Scott’s quotes in recent NWMLS releases, Seattle Bubble commissioned this exclusive artist’s depiction:

artist's depiction of J. Lennox Scott
artist’s depiction of J. Lennox Scott

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

May 2017 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 2,149 +13.8% -20.3%
Closed Sales 2,576 +26.8% +2.7%
SAAS (?) 1.31 -0.9% +2.0%
Pending Sales 3,455 +23.6% -1.3%
Months of Supply 0.83 -10.2% -22.4%
Median Price* $632,250 +1.2% +12.9%

Pending sales have now been down year-over-year for four months in a row, but for three of those four months, closed sales have increased, which is certainly a bit odd. Perhaps this is indicative of a shift from last year toward fewer pending sales falling through. I’ll see if I can find anything else interesting in the data about that.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales increased 27 percent from April to May. Last year over the same period closed sales rose 17 percent. Year-over-year closed sales were up three percent.

King County SFH Pending Sales

Pending sales shot up 24 percent from April to May, and were down one percent year-over-year.

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

Listings rose 14 percent from April to May, which is much better than the meager four percent gain we saw last year. Year-over-year listings were still down 20 percent.

Here’s the chart of new listings:

King County SFH New Listings

New listings shot up month-over-month as they tend to most years in May, gaining 26 percent from April. They were also up 5 percent from last year. New listings slightly outpaced pending sales for the month.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. “Demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade (unlike pending sales from NWMLS).

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

We’re still in the midst of a very strong seller’s market, but at least the supply and demand balance isn’t getting appreciably worse for buyers.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Year-over-year price growth fell off slightly from April to May but is still well into double-digit territory.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994 (not adjusted for inflation).

King County SFH Prices

Another new all-time high, although the pace of growth is not as strong as last year at this time, so there’s that I guess.

May 2017: $632,250
July 2007: $481,000 (previous cycle high)

Here’s the article from the Seattle Times: No escape for priced-out Seattleites: Home prices set record for an hour’s drive in every direction

May Stats Preview: Inventory Edges Up, Sales Surge

NWMLS posted their stats this morning, but first here are our regular monthly “preview” charts. Now that May is behind us let’s take a look at the local housing market stats for the month. Short story: Sales shot up, listings improved a little but are still scarce…

Case-Shiller: Seattle Housing Market the Hottest In US

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to March data that was released this morning, Seattle-area home prices were:

Up 2.6 percent February to March
Up 12.3 percent year-over-year.
Up 12.7 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 2.4 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 10.9 percent.

Seattle home prices as measured by Case-Shiller shot up yet again to a new all-time high in March, and let the nation in month-over-month and year-over-year price gains for the second month in a row.

The near hockey-stick shape of some of these home price charts is starting to concern me.

High Seattle Home Prices Now The Subject Of Tasteless Bus Ads

This bus ad was spotted by Redditor /u/moroccahamed on /r/SeattleWA:

[caption id="attachment_104531" align="alignnone" width="720"]Tasteless Codefellows Bus Ad You know who can afford a house in Seattle? SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS.[/caption]

I feel like an ad like this is more likely to add to the already high level of animosity toward software developers than it is to get people to sign up for a coding academy…

Sales Fall Off In Cheap King County Neighborhoods

It’s been a few months since we took a look at the in-county breakdown data from the NWMLS to see how the sales mix shifted around the county. I like to keep an eye on this not only to see how individual neighborhoods are doing but also to see how the sales mix shift affects the overall county-wide median price.

In order to explore this concept, we break King County down into three regions, based on the NWMLS-defined “areas”:

  • low end: South County (areas 100-130 & 300-360)
  • mid range: Seattle / North County (areas 140, 380-390, & 700-800)
  • high end: Eastside (areas 500-600)

Here’s where each region’s median prices came in as of April data:

  • low end: $330,000-$520,000
  • mid range: $559,950-$964,250
  • high end: $699,475-$2,203,000

First up, let’s have a look at each region’s (approximate) median price (actually the median of the medians for each area within the region)…

NWMLS: Home Prices Hit New Highs, Listings Still Scarce

April market stats have been published by the NWMLS yesterday. Here’s their press release: Shrinking inventory putting “stranglehold” on sales

You can practically hear OB Jacobi and J. Lennox Scott drooling over all those sweet, sweet high commissions. At least George Moorhead seems relatively level-headed, pointing out that prices might be getting a bit out of control.

Pending sales have been down year-over-year for three months in a row, and now closed sales have finally declined year-over-year as well. That said, even with the drop, closed sales in April came out higher than the April level in thirteen of the last twenty-four years. Given the continued extreme shortage of inventory, it’s no surprise then that strong demand + very low supply = surging prices.

April Stats Preview: Sales Slip As Inventory Shortage Drags On

NWMLS posted their stats yesterday, but I still want to share the regular monthly “preview” charts here. Now that April done let’s take a look at the local housing market stats for the month. Short story: Inventory is still almost non-existent, and it seems to be finally putting somewhat of a damper on sales.

Sales slipped slightly between March and April in both counties. Listings increased month-over-month, but it was a very weak gain for this time of year.