With a booming housing market projected to go into the spring months, local real estate expert,
Frank Hawkins of Hawkins-Poe Real Estate, Fircrest WA, along with Northwest MLS experts provide input on how March is shaping up for potential buyers and sellers.
Despite our chilly February weather, data shows that the market continues
to be hot, with residential inventory tight and median prices rising by double-digits across most of our counties. Northwest MLS figures show brokers
added a similar number of new listings of single-family homes and condos
last month (7,418) as compared to a year ago (7,786), for a difference of
368 properties. This was down 4.7%. For residential units (excluding condos),
there was a 6.8% year-over-year drop. Total active listings of single-family
homes declined nearly 44% from a year ago. The selection of single-family
homes fell more than 51% while condo inventory rose 7.9%. “A decline
in listing volume this year should not surprise anyone,” according to James
Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the
University of Washington. “We are virtually sold out of inventory everywhere
in the Central Puget Sound area.”
There are only about three weeks of supply of inventory in the MLS database, which covers 26 counties. For residential only (excluding condos), the
shortage is more pronounced at less than 3 weeks supply. For the tri-county
area encompassing King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, the MLS report
shows there were 4,896 pending sales in January and 5,232 sales in February
for a month to-month gain of 6.9%.
Freddie Mac reported an average rate of 3.02% for a 30-year fixed-rate
mortgage for the week ending March 4. That’s up five basis points from the previous week, and the first time since July 2020
that the benchmark mortgage rate climbed above 3%. Despite rates edging up and inclement weather during much of
February, eight counties in the Northwest MLS report showed year-over-year gains in pending sales: Adams, Douglas, Grant,
Kitsap, Lewis, Pacific, San Juan, and Walla Walla. System-wide, there were 7,724 pending sales in February, a year-over-year
drop of 7.5%. Compared to January when brokers reported 7,394 sales, the pending sales volume increased 4.5%.
Northwest MLS member-brokers reported 5,812 closed sales during February for a 10.4% increase over the year-ago total
of 5,265 closings. The median price on last month’s completed sales jumped more than 15% from a year ago, increasing from
$445,000 to $512,000. Twenty of the 26 counties in the report showed double-digit year-over-year price gains. “Even though
interest rates have ticked up a bit, they continue at near historic lows. interest rates, jobs, and lifestyle changes continue to
drive the real estate market,” stated Frank Hawkins, Designated Broker of Hawkins-Poe. He also noted an uptick in multiple
As Brokers with Hawkins-Poe Real Estate, we are working hard to help prepare buyers both emotionally and financially for
the realities they face and to help position them as the winning purchaser. With COVID-19 restrictions opening up, and open
house restrictions eased to allow more people at one time, our Brokers are also spending a good amount of time preparing
sellers to become comfortable with having people in their homes and to safely facilitate viewings. We are also managing and
analyzing all the offers.
“March historically marks the beginning of an eight-month primetime real estate market. After an intense winter in the local
real estate market, more new resale listings should be on the horizon. The positive, optimistic mood is unmistakable, and I’m
expecting that to continue through the summer as vaccines roll out, and things continue opening up,” concluded Hawkins.
For more information on buying or selling your home and preparing for the competitive market ahead, contact me today
to find out how I can best serve you.“