Housing inventory in Western Washington increasing as ‘some sense of normalcy’ returns

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service said June showed signs of a shifting housing market, meaning there has been a healthy jump in inventory.

According to a news release from the NMLS, there have been double-digit drops in both pending and closed sales, with the smallest year-over-year increase in prices since June 2020.

“What the changes mean in general terms are more houses on the market, longer market times, stabilizing home prices, fewer showings and open house visitors, fewer offers at one time and more price adjustments,” said Frank Wilson, Kitsap regional manager at John L. Scott Real Estate.

NMLS brokers added more than 14,200 new single-family home and condo listings in June, an increase from May a year ago, when they added 13,111 properties.

According to the release, last month’s total was the highest volume of new listings since May 2019, when there were 14,689 new listings.

There were more than 13,400 active listings of single-family homes and condos in the NMLS database at the end of June, which included 26 counties, doubling the inventory of a year ago.

Housing experts said pending and closed sales declined from a year ago, as there were 8,937 pending sales during June.

Closed sales also decreased from a year ago, but last month’s total reached more than 9,000 transactions, matching May’s volume.

“While there was a decrease in closed and pending sales in June, there is no reason to panic as we continue to move toward a more balanced market,” said John Deely, executive vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain. “Having the standing active inventory rise above the closed and pending categories in June means we are finally building inventory, which is healthy for the marketplace. It slows down the steep price appreciation we have been seeing and provides a bit more time for buyers to look at more properties.”

While there’s inventory becoming available, areawide prices rose about 10.4%, with the median home price pushing $589,000 to $650,000.

According to the release, seven counties had a year-over-year price increase of 19% or more for June’s sales of single-family homes and condos. The counties include Douglas, Ferry, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason and Whatcom.

Last month, San Juan County had the highest median price, with King County coming in second at $851,000, representing a 9.1% increase from a year ago.

While Deely acknowledges that prices are “leveling out,” he also said that “We are still not a buyer’s market by far.”

He believes that some of the slowdown in pending and closed sales is due to a seasonal cycle that this area experiences in June and July, when school is out and travel begins.

Expecting “much will be made of the numbers that showed a significant increase in active listings” during June, Windermere chief economist Matthew Gardner said it’s important to keep things in perspective.

According to the release, Gardner believes the market is trending back to “some sense of normalcy.”