Full disclosure: The Tim is employed by Redfin.
Last Wednesday Redfin released their April market data. Here’s an excerpt from the narrative (which I also wrote):
“Buyers are excited to start looking for homes,” says Corey St John, a Redfin Capitol Hill Agent, “…until they see what’s available.” By this time of year, the selection of homes is usually in full bloom, but this year buyers have been faced with a lot of stale inventory. “Buyers are getting frustrated. They were thinking that by now there would be a lot of new homes coming on the market, but there just aren’t.”
That frustration appears to be simply turning many would-be buyers off completely, as sales continue to mark double-digit declines across most of the Seattle area.
With sales dropping off — not only from last year’s tax-credit-juiced levels, but even just since March in many cities — one would expect the few buyers that are out there shopping to have it pretty easy. Unfortunately, that’s not what our agents are seeing in the field.
“Most of the buyers we’re working with today either have been recently or are right now in a multiple offer situation,” says Corey St John. Cheryl McLaine, Team Lead for the Bothell/Redmond team, is seeing the same thing. “Well over half of our recent deals have been multi-offer,” she explains.
What explains this seeming contradiction? How do we have slow sales and lots of multiple-offer situations? It seems that the few buyers who are out there today are all interested in the same small selection of homes.
“Today’s buyers are detached,” says Cheryl. “They definitely feel that they can be picky.” So the majority of homes for sale today — which are either overpriced or need work — end up sitting on the market for months. Meanwhile, the few nice, well-priced homes that come up tend to go fast.
That would seem to explain Redfin’s claims of the market suddenly heating up. It’s not that there are a ton more buyers out there, it’s just that the few buyers that are making offers all seem want the same homes, because most of what’s on the market is junk, overpriced, or both.
You can download the full spreadsheet from Redfin here, and as usual, I’m going to map the data here.
In the map below each zip code with enough sales in April is shown as a dot, with the size of the dot determined by the number of sales in that zip code in the month. Each dot is color-coded based on whichever measure you select below the map. You can view the month-over-month or year-over-year changes in inventory, sales, median prices, or median prices per square foot. There is also a county selector that allows you to narrow, expand, or modify the view to your liking.
Sales volume is still slipping in most places, but continues to rise in a few. The biggest winner in King County was the U. District (98105), where sales shot up from 14 in March to 24 in April. King County’s biggest decline was in Renton (98057), where sales fell 58% from 12 in March to 5 in April.
Here are the zip codes with the most SFH sales in April in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, and Kitsap County:
- King: 98115 — 61 sales.
- Snohomish: 98258 — 55 sales.
- Pierce: 98387 — 67 sales.
- Thurston: 98513 — 38 sales.
- Kitsap: 98366 — 31 sales.
Inventory continued falling in most places in April, declining month-to-month in 41 King County neighborhoods, flat in 2, and rising in 29. Year-to-year continues to come in worse: 10 neighborhoods saw inventory increase, and the remaining 62 are all lower than a year ago.
The median price fell from a year ago in 51 King County zip codes, and rose in just 12. The median price per square foot was down in 54 zip codes and up in just 6.
Anything stand out to you about your neighborhood in this month’s data?