The short answer is yes, the long answer is, well…longer.
Based on our observations, we are already beginning to see inventory diminishing. In the last quarter of 2018, we pushed to almost two months inventory level which over the last several years we had been sitting at just under one month’s supply. Because of this increase and combined with political uncertainty, prices stabilized last year after a dramatic increase in price in the first quarter of 2018. At this point in the year, there has been an uptick in buyers and inventory has dropped to about 1.5 months supply (which keep in mind, a healthy normal market is somewhere between 4-5 months supply).
So what do we expect for this year? That is the question we have been asked over and over again by concerned buyers and sellers. Well, the answer is, we hope to see a more balanced market. We believe you should see an average price increase of around 5% for the year in Seattle with some neighborhoods being higher than others. This is great news for buyers who have been feeling enormous pressure over the last few years to get into the market. Buyers are able to take a step back and breathe when the right house comes on the market. Does this mean you shouldn’t be prepared to react quickly if you find the perfect house that five other buyers like as well? No, of course not! We always want to keep you in the best spot, so you stand a fighting chance should you need to.
Sellers, this means you still want to have the most alluring home on the market. Of course, this was always our advice to obtain top dollar, but now it is our advice to keep your home from sitting on the market for too long. The average days on market increased for the city toward the end of last year, but statistically, it only increased by one week on average. We are seeing homes get scooped up in a matter of days as buyers come back with renewed energy. We have noticed an increase in the number of houses selling and the speed at which they are selling in January. More to follow as stats are released!
Our economy both locally and nationally is quite strong, but the perception of a potential recession has started to spook folks. What may send us into a recession in 2020 is likely due to factors outside of the housing market. In the past, Seattle has bounced back pretty quickly after any recession and even in the midst, we typically only see a price stagnation or a small dip in price for about a year (outside of the housing crash of 2008). Even if we head into a recession in 2020, we are confident in Seattle. We are finally starting to see more condo buildings being built and Seattle companies are not slowing their hiring. The economy is strong and steady, and our crystal ball is seeing the same results in the housing market.