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New data proves housing supply is down and demand is up

2017 looks like it will be a very interesting year, again


The January data are in and the story hasn’t changed. The market for single family homes in 2017 looks like an continuation of increased demand and decreased supply, which will probably lead to a continuation of increased prices and very busy agents.

Seattle Bubble has done their typically fine job of analyzing the data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) for King County. Their analysis is extensive (and somewhat overwhelming to those outside the industry), so let’s just hit a few key points.

Seattle Bubble

At the end of the month there were only 1,569 active listings. The only month that was lower has the previous month. To put that in perspective, in 2008 there were over 12,000 homes available. Even as recently as 2015 the level was 50 percent higher. Now, instead of the six months of inventory that is considered healthy, we have 0.99 months of supply. Compared to last January, that’s an 18.9 percent drop in listings and a 32.6 percent drop in months of inventory.

Demand remains high. There was a 20.4 percent increase in closed sales compared to last year. The Washington State Department of Licensing reported a 2.5 percent increase in drivers over the last twelve months with about 3,800 new drivers every week. That’s more than twice the number of active listings. Looks like the number of cars is increasing faster than the number of available houses.

The natural consequence, a 6.9 percent climb in median price to $525,000 with little or no expectation that the trend will reverse.

For the various measurements, when we’re not in record territory, we’re close to it. About the only thing that is moderate is the percentage price climb, but compare that to almost any other city and it will look enormous. 2017 looks like it will be a very interesting year.