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More Buyers Compete For Fewer Houses: Experts Say This Could Go On For Years
By Marc Stiles, Puget Sound Business Journal
Typically home-buying activity falls off during the summer months, but not this year in the metro Puget Sound region, where buyers are competing to buy fewer homes while paying significantly higher prices.
The lack of condos and houses for sale is nothing new as real estate agents have been clamoring for additional inventory for more than a year. Now the shortage is getting worse even though slightly more homeowners are putting their condos and houses up for sale. But it’s not nearly enough to keep up with demand, according to a report that the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) issued Monday.
“The only real problem we are experiencing today is the lack of inventory,” said real estate broker Mike Gain, CEO and President of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Seattle.
A year ago in June, there were 13,650 condos and houses for sale across the four-county metro region. Today, there are only about four-fifths as many. The decrease comes as demand among buyers grow. Last month, pending sales shot up to just over 8,000. That was 14 percent higher than in June 2014.
More buyers competing for fewer homes means higher prices. During June, the highest metro prices growth was logged in Snohomish County, where the median price of closed condo and house sales hit $347,250, or 10.8 percent higher than June 2014.
The median price in King County last month was $450,000 or 9.8 percent higher than a year ago. In Pierce County, the median sale price went up 9.4 percent to $251,000, and in Kitsap County the median price of sold homes increased 6 percent to $265,000.
Real estate brokers say first-time buyers are fueling the market as tenants grow tired of paying ever-rising apartment rents. In addition, more people are moving to the region to fill a growing number of jobs. Across the state, non-farm employment rose by 7,700 positions from April to May, according to early estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One expert, John L. Scott Real Estate Chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott, said the shortage of homes available for sale and rising prices aren’t going to go away anytime soon. In fact, he thinks the inventory shortage will continue for years.
“That shortage will go hand in hand with a steady price appreciation in home value,” he said.
-This article was written July 7th, 2015 by Marc Stiles from the Puget Sound Business Journal