Fall is here in the Pacific Northwest; in the real estate market, that typically means that home sales slow for the season. However, that trend has been altered by the pandemic, an election year,
A Fresh Look at Fall: 2021 Seasonal Market Update
Dated: October 22 2021
Fall is here in the Pacific Northwest; in the real estate market, that typically means that home sales slow for the season. However, that trend has been altered by the pandemic, an election year, low interest rates and many more unique motivations for buyers and sellers than we’ve ever seen before.
So what can we expect to happen in fall and winter 2021? While it might be spooky season, I’d like to disclose that we don’t actually have crystal balls to predict the future. What we can look at are trends, statistics and behaviors happening in our market and present a few educated guesses on what to expect.
September is always a very telling month in Real Estate. Sellers push for a last chance to list their home prior to Labor Day weekend, taking advantage of the motivated buyers that are back from vacation and want to move before school is back in session. This September, we saw the market remain highly active (and even frenzied!) with brokers reporting year-over-year gains in closed sales and prices in addition to growing stability in the condo market.
This very active market can also be attributed to pent-up buyer demand, job and lifestyle changes as well as inventory shortages. By the end of September, NWMLS (Northwest Multiple Listing Service) members reported a drop in active listings by nearly 15% versus the prior 12 months.
James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington noted, “While one could expect months of supply to increase around the end of summer, shortage of supply still remains a significant issue, indicating demand still exists in many submarkets… With decreases in active listings in King and Snohomish counties, price pressure may increase in urban areas of the region as people return to the city for work.”
Prices are beginning to level out as we near the holiday months, per an annual trend of the market softening. However, as interest rates continue to be historically low, it is advantageous for buyers to stay motivated during these months -- much of their competition may hold back due to the bidding wars they experienced this summer and their upcoming holiday travel plans. Sellers who list their homes in the last quarter of the year also tend to be highly motivated.
With all this, is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? I’d still say… both. Sellers are selling at the highest prices ever, with year-over-year gains of up to 18% in some counties. A shortage in inventory means less listing competition in their areas, so their wishful pricing can still be justified… it just may show a need for more patience. Buyers will be more focused on their specific housing needs and finding sellers who have room for negotiating. That’s why hiring the best broker to understand and advocate for all of your needs is of the utmost importance.
If you’ve had thoughts of buying, selling or investing (or you know of someone who has), please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to help navigate the market for you this season and leave the scary parts to Halloween!
Amy Villalba manages Fresh Looks public relations, advertising and brand marketing. Her 20-year background in financial services marketing has made her an expert at branding, communication, product de....
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