March 21, 2011

Why Are Homes Selling so Fast Right Now in Seattle?

The Seattle Real Estate market is, in my humble experience, sizzling right now.  Last spring things were discernibly slower than usual, although there was definitely a spring rush.  But this year quite often it's an all-out sprint to be the first one to get an accepted offer in on that new home on the market priced to sell and shined up pretty from head to toe.  This does not mean it's a seller's market as it seems to me that the buyer is still commanding a lot of respect and has lots of choices, but I am seeing full price offers lose out in competitive situations, as well as sellers refusing to come down from their prices as much as in the winter.  I have a couple little favorite markers you can use to judge the speed of the market.  One of them is the number of new homes on the market vs. number of homes gone "pending" on a daily basis.  (Last month more new homes were coming on than were going pending, this month it's the same, day by day...or more pendings than new listings, as in the case of today, when 375 new listings came on and 409 pended!).  And then you probably want to look at average absorption rate in an area, or what the average "days on the market" for a home is before it sells.  This could be problematic if you are comparing winter speeds to spring, but comparing this year to last year doesn't really make sense either, as they are quite different, so last year can't really be a baseline.  Why are buyers in a hurry right now?  I think it's like being in a buffet dinner just about 20 minutes after it opens, everything is spread out before you fresh and delicious, and you want to select and enjoy the food while it's hot.  It's still a little before the dinner hour so the crowds and competition are not really up to speed, still plenty of elbow room.  From Snohomish to Queen Anne to West Seattle to Bainbridge Island, there are a lot of new homes on the market as Sellers become encouraged to take the step by the increasing activity, and the interest rates are still low but threatening to go up.  For many buyers I've been talking with, that's why now is the time to move forward and take advantage of the selection.  And if you miss out on a good one, try not to stress as I strongly feel there will be quite a few homes coming on the market in the next month.  It's spring but even more, there is a pent-up energy as many who have been waiting the last couple years feel encouraged that the time has come to seriously search for their dream home.

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