Spring has officially arrived in Seattle, complete with cherry blossoms, allergies, rain and yes – even some more listings for antsy would-be buyers! Woohoo! But not so fast…even though we saw 82 homes come on the market in Central Seattle neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Montlake, and Arboretum – a number that is up 12.3% over February and up 7.9% over March of 2015, we still had sales outpacing inventory. The number of homes placed under contract last month was UP 39.4% over February, which was a 12.5% increase over last year.
As you can see in the chart below, buyers were quick to snatch up inventory, driving down inventory totals to just 1.1 months (still great news for sellers though!)
This excess demand is bringing most sellers multiple offers in just a matter of days, which ultimately helps drive up sales prices. The chart below shows that on AVERAGE, sellers in these neighborhoods were selling their homes for 3% more than their original asking price. And the average days a home was on the market last month was just 26 days. Keep in mind, that most sellers are opting to list their home and then waiting 7-10 days before reviewing offers, so in all likelihood, if this practice was not being utilized, homes would be selling at an even faster rate.
One reason sellers opt to delay their offer review is to give their home time to “sweep to” (that’s marketing jargon for “show up on”) third party websites like Zillow and Trulia, and other brokerage sites like Redfin, which helps ensure that their listing is seen by the most buyer eyeballs as possible. More exposure = more interest = potentially more offers = potentially more $$$. Even in this market though, your pricing strategy when selling matters significantly. Sure you could price your home low and then hope and pray you get 10+ offers and the market drives the price up. But what happens if you only get a couple offers near your low listing price? You’d probably be disappointed, especially if you could have started at a higher price and the same buyer would have happily paid that as well because they really love your house. Leaving money on the table is never fun!
As one would expect, the increase sales prices are driving up the average price per square foot of homes, ending March at $452 per square foot, the highest we’ve seen in the last 15 months (and a 22.2% increase over the same period in 2015).
If you are thinking about buying or selling in one of these core Seattle neighborhoods, let us know. Our team of experts can help you navigate the process and get the best deal possible – regardless of which side of the transaction you’re on!