May marked a month of new records

May was a month of record-setting highs and lows for some key housing market indicators tracked by Northwest Multiple Listing Service.




Northwest MLS director Robb Wasser, branch manager at Windermere Real Estate/East in Bellevue, noted the number of active listings for single family homes dropped from April to May for the first time in at least 20 years. The month-to-month decline was small (only 83 listings), but compared to 12 months ago, May's inventory plummeted by 4,824 listings (down 46.6%).

Months of inventory of homes and condominiums fell to just over two weeks (0.59 months) system-wide, which encompasses 26 of Washington's 39 counties. Only March 2021 and December 2020 have been lower when both months ended with only 0.53 months of supply.

Year-over-year price increases measured by percentages appeared to hit a new high with the median price on last month's 9,374 closed sales soaring 30% from a year ago.

A check of Northwest MLS data shows prices on the 8,011 single family home sales (excluding condos) that closed last month sold for 107.3% of the asking price. In the 4-county Puget Sound region (King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap), the figure was 108.6%, while in King County it was 109.5%.

"Everything is about breaking records this past year with record-breaking housing prices, record-breaking low inventory, and record-breaking consumer savings rates during the pandemic," remarked Meredith Hansen, owner/designated broker at Keller Williams Greater Seattle. "All this equals a very strong, chaotic market that may not slow down for the next year," added Hansen, who is also a member of the NWMLS board of directors.

"Last month's listings came in lower than we would normally see due to the month starting on a Saturday and ending with a holiday weekend," noted J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO at John L. Scott Real Estate. "New resale listings typically go on the market on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday," he explained, adding, "In today's instant-response market, new listings often go pending over the weekend or early the next week."

Scott expects an elevated number of new resale listings for just three more months before the fall housing market. "This time period will be critical for home buyers looking to secure their home of choice while interest rates are at historically low levels."