It’s time once again for the monthly reporting roundup, where you can read my wry commentary about the news instead of subjecting yourself to boring rehashes of the NWMLS press release (or in addition to, if that’s what floats your boat).
To kick things off, here’s an excerpt from the NWMLS press release:
J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott, Inc. called 2015 “the best start ever for sales activity.” Citing MLS figures, he noted cumulative pending home sales in the four-county Puget Sound area for the first five months of the year are outpacing the previous record year of 2005. “This time,” he emphasized, “the housing market is built on a strong foundation of qualified buyers.”
“Locally, home prices are continuing to rise at a steady pace, and they continue to outpace both inflation and wage gains,” observed Mike Gain, CEO/president at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest. Pent-up demand is pushing inventory lower, he notes. Gain believes the supply challenges could be alleviated if more sellers put their home on the market. “Sellers may never see a better time to be a seller,” commented Gain, a former chairman of the Northwest MLS board.
Mike Gain expects historically low interest rates, a growing economy, improving consumer confidence and consumer finances will continue to fuel activity and push up the numbers. “Anyone who can buy a home today at today’s prices with today’s low interest rates should do it. In my opinion, prices and monthly payments will never be lower than they are today.”
I love it when salespeople throw around over-the-top hyperbole and absolutes like “never.” No way that will ever come back to haunt them.
This month I could only find three articles in the local media outlets about the latest NWMLS numbers, despite waiting all weekend for more stories to come in. Apparently “yeah, it’s still a terrible time to be a homebuyer” is not considered very newsworthy.
Read on for my take on this month’s local news reports.
The [inventory] shortage in King County is historic: May marked the third month in a row the county had less than a month’s supply of homes and condos for sale, which hasn’t happened since at least 2004, according to a Seattle Times analysis of MLS data.
“You’re at crisis levels. Something’s got to be done,” said Stephen O’Connor, director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington. “There has to be some level of comprehensive strategy here to figure out how to bring in more supply.”
With interest-rate hikes on the horizon, buyers appear willing to duke it out in bidding wars and pay a premium for living in King County’s urban corridors to avoid long commutes and surging rents, real-estate agents say.
“It’s like buying a loaf of bread for $10 because there’s nothing left on the shelf and you’ve got company coming,” said Mark Ossinger, a Seattle-based designated broker for Fathom Realty.
Oh man, I am totally going to get into the bread sales brokerage business.
Puget Sound Business Journal
The number of condo and house sales in the central Puget Sound region jumped 15 percent last month over the previous year, even as the number of residences for sale dropped precipitously.
The result: an even tighter housing market with home prices climbing at more than 9 percent, according to data the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) issued on Thursday.
In a balanced market, there is a four- to six-month supply of inventory. But in King County there was only 1.2 months of inventory last month, and several neighborhoods near Seattle’s job centers had less than a month of supply.
To be honeset, there isn’t much substance to the PSBJ article this month. It was mostly just a slight rehash of the press release.
Tacoma News Tribune / The Olympian
Severe inventory shortages.
Prices up, and multiple offers for homes for sale in many neighborhoods.
According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, May was a great month to be selling a home but a not-so-good month if you were looking to buy.
“The crush between the lack of inventory and desperate buyers may soon generate the next TV reality show,” stated Dick Beeson, an MLS director and principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma.
Similar story in the News Tribune this month. I guess there is only so much you can say about low inventory.