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Seattle housing market inventory remains low, even for winter

There are 20 percent fewer homes on the market than this time last year, says Zillow


Most housing market updates in 2017 could be summarized with one sentence: Inventory is low as demand soars. This, in part, drove huge jumps in housing prices, with a recent report from real estate company Zillow finding that 52 percent of homes in the Seattle metro went above asking last year, for an average over list price of more than $20,000.

One reason for all those bidding wars: Inventory is even lower, and it’s not just the season. A new report by Zillow found that the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes Tacoma, Bellevue, and Everett, ended the year with 20.1 percent fewer homes on the market than December 2016. Homes are increasing in value, too, with a median home value up 12.5 percent from the same time the previous year.

While low inventory is a national problem, nationwide the problem is only half as bad as ours, at about 10 percent lower inventory with a 6.5 percent rise in median value. But we also are not the worst off; San Jose, California, also an extremely competitive market, saw a 40 percent drop in inventory and a 21.2 percent rise in median price.

Other metros with around a 20 percent inventory drop include Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Columbus, Ohio, although none had as high of a price increase as us. Sacramento is still a full four points behind Seattle.