Real Estate

Summer slowdown skips Seattle housing


Record-tight supply and rising buyer demand are adding up to serious frustration in Seattle's housing market. Millennials, military families and relocating workers are adding to already pent-up demand in the market, which has limited space for new construction.

Seattle, Washington.
DeAngostini | Getty Images

"The velocity of sales activity continues at a very fast pace with pending sales eclipsing new listing inventory. This sales activity is keeping the selection of available properties at historic lows," wrote John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in a monthly release from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS).

Seattle usually sees a summer slowdown, but sales were flat in August from a year ago, after rising 8 percent in July annually, according to NWMLS. The number of active listings dropped 33 percent from August 2014, leaving less than one month's supply in the city and barely two months in the surrounding areas. A four to six month supply of homes for sale is considered a balanced market.

The median price of a Seattle home sold in August was $536,000, a stunning 23 percent jump from August 2014. Price rises were not quite as steep in surrounding areas, but were still in the double digits.

Charlotte, North Carolina.
Charlotte homebuyers want it new

"Buyer's aren't pushing back, they're paying new historical highs for Seattle real estate because they see the value," said Robert Macdonald, a Realtor with Lake & Company Real Estate in Seattle. "While some sellers are aggressively pricing their homes going into the fall, the buyers for these homes are savvy. They've likely already made two or three offers and they know the value."

Homes that don't connect to buyers or are overpriced will still sit, despite the tight market.