This week’s press release from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) provided a hint of hopeful news for local home buyers. NWMLS data shows the number of active listings added to the market in June was at it’s highest level in 17 months.
In the tri-county area (King, Snohomish and Pierce counties) single family and condo inventory was up 14% in June compared to May. It’s tough to know how the typical summer slowdown when buyers and sellers take a vacation break, could impact the market. With the easing of COVID restrictions, more people may choose to travel and temporarily abandon their home search.
If there’s a pause in the summer market, it isn’t likely to last long. Tech companies continue to lease large blocks of office space, so it can be expected hiring will accelerate as well which will put demand on available housing inventory. Tech industry growth may also increase demand for the urban housing market in the third and fourth quarters as employees return to downtown offices and the many buildings under construction, and already leased, are completed and occupied.
Condo sales activity was hit hard in the early days of the strict COVID restrictions, mostly due to concerns about living in a community setting and navigating elevators and common areas. As those restrictions have eased condo sales have increased – nearly 60% compared to a year ago – and prices have increased more than 20%. Interest in urban living will likely continue as employees return to downtown workplaces and companies ramp up hiring.
For buyers who decide to stay-cation and continue their home search efforts, July and August could provide opportunities. Staying ahead of the fall hiring cycle and corporate relocation schedule could pay off for buyers this summer.
Robin Myers lives and works in downtown Bellevue. She is a Realtor® with Windermere Real Estate specializing in condominiums and urban lifestyles.