Housing supply in Northwest reaches all time low

Pending home sales hit an all-time high in the Northwest, but new listings took a plunge, according to the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

The report, which covers 23 counties in and around Washington state, showed that new listings added during November dropped to an 11-month low. This could increase home prices as buyers fight over the dwindling inventory, which is now at an all-time low.

“Last year’s holiday season ended up being the best time to sell a home around King County as sellers took the winter months off, but buyers remained persistent,” said Robert Wasser, Northwest MLS director and Prospera Real Estate owner/broker. “The supply of homes for sale hit a post-recession low, and so far, this year is mirroring last winter’s trends.”

Inventory decreased by 13.2% in November, but pending home sales increased 94% in the Northwest. Prices increased by 11% compared to last year.

This left a housing supply of just 1.69 months, a new low. King Country showed the lowest level of supply at just 0.96 of a month.

Pending home sales totaled 8,217 for the month, compared to the 5,779 new listings.

The cause for the sudden surge could be the oncoming winter months, but there is also another factor causing borrowers to flood the market.

“November’s pending sales for the four-county area of King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap were the highest since 2005,” said J. Lennox Scott, John L. Scott Real Estate chairman and CEO.

“There were 44% more pendings than new listings,” Scott said. “Every time interest rates increase 0.5% we see these surges because buyers become anxious about increasing rates – but on a historical basis rates are still amazing.”