Ah, springtime in Seattle, when people don shorts when the temperature cracks 50 and when Capitol Hill real estate listings are supposed to bloom in great numbers.
Spring is historically the busiest time of year for home sales, drops off a little in summer, picks up again in the fall, followed by winter hibernation.
As many home buyers in Seattle are currently discovering, the number of homes to choose from is low. Worse still, when a good one comes along, it is pounced upon by the hungry hoards wielding multiple and full price offers. Interest rates continue to be very enticing and many home buyers are finally getting off the fence and deciding to buy a home. So, no, you’re not imagining it, the number of homes for sale in Seattle has dropped well down from just two years ago.
Let’s look at Capitol Hill Seattle real estate to demonstrate the lack of Seattle homes for sale.
First, a comparison of the number of Capitol Hill single family homes (houses and townhomes) listings. Over the past 24 months there has been a 66% drop in the number single family homes for sale in Capitol Hill (63 in March 2010 and 21 in March 2012). During that same time, the number of new listings coming on the market has dropped BUT the number of sales has essentially stayed the same. Put those two factors together and you end up with a lack of Capitol Hill real estate listings. Note that data id mined from the NWMLS via Trendgraphix.
And now, a look at the Capitol Hill condo inventoryDuring the same two year period there was a similar drop in the number of condos listings, with 178 for sale in March 2010 and only 56 Capitol Hill condos for sale in March of this year. As with single family homes, the number of sales have remained relatively unchanged but the number of new listings has declined resulting in the current low inventory.
The main reason for the current low inventory in Capitol Hill and other Seattle neighborhoods is probably because only those sellers who have to sell their home are putting their home on the market. For example home owners who are relocating for a new job or their home has become too small because they are now Brady Bunch sized but bought a 3 bed home 10 years go. Sellers who are upside down on their mortgages have to either wait for the market to improve or go the short sale route.
Buyers, patience is a virtue if that’s any consolation!