We had to laugh when we saw the recent Redfin post 2013: Calling All Sellers! (Where are you?!?), as this is our sentiment exactly. According to the NWMLS the number of active listings in January was up 1% from December, but down a stunning 44.7% from January 2012, leaving us with a meager 1.4 month supply of homes (a 6 month supply is a balanced market).
We’ve been experiencing this first-hand as we work with buyers who are well-qualified and raring to go, but have nothing new to see! Yes, the market typically slows during the holiday season, and takes a while to build itself back up, but 2012 was nothing like a typical market. The theme was a continually increasing demand combined with an ever dwindling supply, which of course drove home values up all the way through December.
January’s stats compiled by local real estate appraisers Alan L Pope & Associates shows 72% of homes on the market in King County receiving an offer. That’s the highest absorption rate we’ve seen in almost a decade, the second highest being 66.4% in March 2005.
The message is seemingly clear! If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling, now is the time. Competition is slim, market times are short, and multiple offer scenarios are the norm. In other words, it’s most definitely a sellers’ market in Seattle right now. So, what’s the problem?
Well, it’s pretty simple really…
Many homeowners either need to wait, or just plain want to wait to sell their home!
Underwater Homeowners. Many who bought during the housing bubble don’t have the ‘wiggle room’ to sell yet, as they risk losing a chunk of their down payment or even walking away with negative equity.
The Waiting Game. If there is no pressure to sell (job change, growing family etc…) and the market is on a steady rise from the bottom, then many homeowners would rather wait to see if they can get a higher price for their home in a year or two.
Renting Instead. The rental market in Seattle remains strong, with no indication that rents will go down in the next few years, so some homeowners are opting to go ahead and buy now, but rent instead of sell their current home.
So, will 2013 be dubbed the year Seattleites waited to sell? Maybe, but we certainly hope not! These are all valid reasons not to sell right now, but there are also many advantages to jumping into the market, versus waiting until all your friends and neighbors do too!
For your additional reading pleasure, recent real estate headlines…
Brokers report brisk sales, but rising frustration for home buyers – NWMLS
City-by-city look at U.S. house prices – WSJ Marketwatch
Signs of a Housing Recovery Point to a Stronger Economy – NYTimes.com
The Year Everyone Was Wrong (Again) About Home Prices – WSJ