Seattle Market Update – February by the Numbers

Neither the snowstorm nor the increase in mortgage rates dampened buyer demand in February. Lack of inventory continues to be a frustration as there are way more prospective buyers than there are homes for them to buy. As a result, prices continued their upward climb.

While the number of homes for sale edged up this month, it was still far shy of demand. This is especially true of single-family homes. There were 7% fewer homes on the market in Seattle in February than the same time last year. Condo shoppers have more options as the number of units on the market in Seattle increased 84% from last February, likely due to the new construction condo options hitting the market this year in buildings like Spire, Emerald and Graystone.

With inventory so slim, competition is fierce. 43% of Seattle properties that sold in February sold over the list price. The median sale price paid was 9% over list price. Competition doesn’t show signs of easing any time soon. A hike in interest rates is expected to only increase buyer urgency. An average rate of 3.02% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the week ending March 4 is the first time since July that the benchmark mortgage rate climbed above 3%.

The enormous imbalance between supply and demand sent single-family homes prices soaring. In Seattle, the median home sold for $798,000, 9% higher than a year ago. Most areas in the county saw double-digit increases.

With seller review dates, escalation clauses and multiple offers now the norm it’s more important than ever for buyers to work with their broker to create a strategy that balances their wants and needs with their budget.

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