Feb 24, 2023 - Real Estate

Seattle's real estate market is "coming back to life"

Data: Redfin; Chart: Axios Visuals

With sellers still on the sidelines in the Seattle metro area housing market and buyers coming out of hibernation, demand may be outpacing supply, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report.

  • That could lead to sharper price increases in spring after a relative flattening of the market at the end of last year.

Why it matters: Relief from the region's sky-high pandemic home prices was welcomed but may be short-lived, especially with mortgage rates creeping up again.

By the numbers: Based on Redfin data, Seattle's median home sales price was $715,000 in January, up 0.7% from January 2022 and up 1.56% from December.

  • The number of homes on the market last month — 2,988 — was down about 16% from the previous month.
  • In January, 1,523 Seattle homes were sold, down 33.90% from January of last year.

Zoom in: In Seattle, more homes are now selling below the list price, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report. That puts Seattle in second place in the U.S. for the largest decrease in close-to-list price ratio.

But inventory is down, homes are still expensive and monthly mortgage costs are up after a brief respite last month, according to Zillow's Monthly Housing Report for January. Other Zillow findings:

  • The mortgage on a typical home in Seattle with a 20% down payment was $3,346 in January. That's 38% more than a year ago and almost double the $1,848 seen in January 2020.
  • New listings were down 32% year over year and it's now taking about 37 days from the time a house is listed until a sale is pending; that’s 32 days longer than it took in January 2022.

Zoom out: Nationally, median home sales prices have crept up 1.3% from one year ago, and sales fell for the 12th month in a row, writes Axios' Brianna Crane and Sami Sparber.

What’s next: Spring, typically marked by higher demand, more competition and steeper home prices, is right around the corner.

  • If spring 2023 follows typical trends, we should expect more buyers in the near future.

What they're saying: What happens next will be heavily influenced by mortgage rates, Zillow senior economist Jeff Tucker told Axios Seattle.

  • "The market is coming back to life," he said. "It's not the crazy frenzy of 2021 and early 2022, but it's not the doldrums of October and November either."

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