It’s simple. Mix one part law of supply and demand; one part the more positive economy; and one part more ready, willing, and able buyers. Mix with more realistic pricing that meets the market demand. You now have the well priced homes selling and the most positive real estate market the eastside has had since mid 2007.
The supply of King homes and condos, the number of those for sale, is shown above. This week, near the end of the first quarter of 2011, there are about 2000 less homes and condos for sale in King County than last year at this time. This means there are 16% less homes and condos for sale. That’s a big difference. It’s noticeable in a lot of neighborhoods. It’s noticeable to a lot of buyers.
The eastside statistics mirror those in the county. There are pockets on the eastside where home sales are popping, because there are only a few really great homes that come on the market. I’ve seen this happen in different price ranges and different cities all over the eastside, including Bellevue, Kirkland, and Sammamish.
Supply is key to the more positive eastside real estate market. With less supply out there and more homes selling (other than March and April of 2010, which was the result of the tax credit) than any other month in a few years, this is a stronger real estate market.
With less supply, it’s a faster paced market. It’s happening in many eastside neighborhoods, but not all. It’s happening with some homes, but not all. With less to choose from, the better valued homes are selling more quickly. There are some great homes that I’ve previewed or shown over the last month and I can almost tell which homes will be sold inside of a week or two. Almost everyday we see the number of pending sales outstrip the number of new listings coming on the market. And yes, there are homes still sitting on the market for a long time, are distressed sales or homes that don’t sell. Despite this, there’s a big difference in the eastside real estate market.
Now I know you’re going to say this is not what you’re reading in the media. Here’s the latest real estate article in The Seattle Times continuing with the same doom and gloom report about the real estate market. From the this article:
In the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, prices are back where they were in September 2004, according to Case-Shiller.
Two things to consider when evaluating the above statement. The first is Case-Shiller lumps King County statistics in with Pierce and Snohomish Counties. King County has a far more positive economy than the other two counties. Seattle and Bellevue, the economic hubs of the region are both in King County. The number of distressed properties is much smaller in King County than elsewhere in the region.
The second thing to remember is Case-Shiller is reporting on the past few months, not what’s happening in the market today.
I agree with Case-Shiller regarding home values, although home values may not be quite as low as 2004 pricing in some areas. Prices are down and probably will stay at these levels for a while. I don’t anticipate prices going up any time soon.
But I do see a stronger market in many eastside neighborhoods. People are ready to move on, literally, and they’re tired of waiting. Buyers are ready to buy and more sellers are pricing their homes to meet the current market demand. All in all, right now the Seattle-eastside has the best real estate market it’s had since 2007. It’s not the old real estate market of the past, but it’s a good, realistic market.