Report: Seattle’s housing market cooled in August, matching historic trends

Written by MLHA Team

September 9, 2021

SEATTLE, WA – OCTOBER 31: A Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house, on October 31, 2017, that recently sold, in Seattle, Washington. Seattle has been one of the fastest and most competitive housing markets in the United States throughout 2017. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin)

Aerial view of houses in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood.

Rows of small houses cover the neighborhood of Beacon Hill in Seattle. Washington, (Photo by Joel W. Rogers/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Seattle, Washington. Aerial view of Laurelhurst. An upper class residential neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. Lake Washington sits on the left and Union Bay on the right. . (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Seattle-area housing market has historically cooled in August, and this year was no different.

new report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows a dip in listings, inventory, sales and median prices in August when compared to July.

The number of new listings in the 26 Washington counties examined in the report decreased by 11.5% from July to August, while the total number of available units fell by 6.6%.

“August showed a more traditional seasonal pattern with decreased activity as families took end-of-summer vacations and made back-to-school preparations,” Frank Wilson, a managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate in Bellevue, said in the report.  

Home prices also dipped in August. The median price on the 10,571 homes that closed last month was $579,000, a drop of $10,000 from July, according to the report.  

Matthew Gardner, a chief economist at Windermere Real Estate in Seattle, said he expects prices to continue to drop in the coming months.

“In King County, median list prices dropped from $740,000 in July to $729,000 in August,” he said. “I believe this is because we are hitting a price ceiling and the rabid pace of home price appreciation will continue to cool as we move through the rest of the year.”

The report also showed year-over-year decreases in new listings and the number of homes available. New listings fell by 4.2% between August 2020 and last month, while available units decreased by 22.6%. The median home price between that time did increase, however. The $579,000 figure for last month is nearly $100,000 more than the median home price of all homes sold in August 2020.

Where counties differed most was in the number of homes on the market. The report tracked available units using a metric called “months of inventory,” which estimates how fast existing homes on the market would last assuming no more listings are added and the rate at which homes sell is a constant figure based on the average of the last 12 months of sales.

The report said several counties — including Clark, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston ­counties — had only about three weeks of inventory left by the end of August.  Other counties — such as Ferry, Okanogan and San Juan counties — had several weeks of inventory left.

Despite these disparities Dean Rebhuhn, the owner of Village Homes and Properties in Woodinville, said low mortgage interest rates will likely keep inventory low throughout the state.

“He believes the historic low interest rates coupled with lifestyle changes continue to be market drivers and factors in keeping inventory at historically low levels,” the report said.

You can find a detailed county-by-county breakdown on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s website

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