Time to test the real estate waters

Brokers suggest improving inventory may mean “season of opportunity” for weary house hunters.

Would-be buyers who have been shut out of the real estate market should test the “real estate waters” during the summer months suggests one industry leader.

“Summer might provide some competitive relief for weary buyers,” said Gary O’Leyar, owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, pointing to some of the newly-released statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service as indicators.

Noting that the trend of multiple offers is still prevalent in the Seattle market, O’Leyar stressed that’s not always the case in areas outside the immediate Seattle area. In fact, he added, the market may “cool off” a bit during summer months as weary buyers find vacations and recreational pursuits more alluring than being in competitive bidding situations.

Ken Anderson, president/owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen in, agrees. “No one is talking about the large number of new listings coming to the market,” he notes. “New listings are at a seven-year high, and fifth highest all-time in our South Sound market,” according to his analysis.

Northwest MLS brokers added 13,497 new listings during May, improving on the previous month by 2,849 listings for a gain of nearly 27 percent. Compared to a year ago, the volume of new listings increased about 10 percent. Total active inventory is down from a year ago, but about 6.8 percent better than April.

The latest statistics show inventory system-wide is still squeezed (down 17.9 percent), pending sales rose slightly (up 2.7 percent), and sales prices are still rising (up 11.2 percent) compared to a year ago.

“The pace of the real estate market in Kitsap is heating up as summer rolls in. Buyers who work in King County but don’t want to drive north, east or south are now looking west for a housing solution,” said Northwest MLS director Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo. “The new ferry system is helping usher in this new thinking of ‘west is where to find a house,” he stated.

Last month’s pending sales in Kitsap County rose 8.4 percent from a year ago, which compares to a 2.6 percent decline in King County. The median price on homes and condos that sold in Kitsap County last month was $307,250 (up 7.8 percent from a year ago). In King County, the median price rose 15.5 percent from a year ago, and, at $560,000, was 82 percent higher than the median price in Kitsap County.

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