News that hits us where we live.
December 2014 | Seasonal Inventory Doesn’t Slow Buyers
The holiday season is in full swing and the most special gift this year is that interest rates have dropped down to touch the upper 3 percent range. Buyer interest remains strong this winter with no signs of slowing.
Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) for November jumped nearly 3% from twelve months ago, rising from 6,624 pendings to 6,821. For the four Puget Sound region counties (King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish) the total of 5,220 pending sales marked the highest level for November since 2006 when these counties reported 5,292 sales.
In King County, prices rose 5.2%, from $379,202 to $399,000. Nearby counties had sharper increases, led by Kitsap at nearly 11.4%. In Pierce County, prices jumped 10.7 % while in Snohomish County the year-over-year gain was nearly 9%.
Not surprisingly, brokers reported a falloff in the volume of new listings added to inventory from October to November, in part because some sellers opt to focus on holidays rather than home showings.
November saw 5,521 new listings added, compared to 8,102 during October. November's figure also trailed the year-ago total of 5,853. As the month ended, buyers still had a choice of 20,864 active listings, down 5.4% from a year ago.
Although some sellers postpone listing their homes during the holidays, there are advantages that might be overlooked. Open houses tend to attract more serious and motivated buyers and competition is limited. In addition, many buyers feel interest rates could rise next year and realize that now is a good time to take advantage of rates under 4%.