Seattle sees monthly increase in housing inventory; prices continue to rise: report

Written by Desmond

April 27, 2021

A Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house for sale on October 31, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.

A real estate sign in Seattle.

Seattle has struggled with low housing inventory throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The limited number of houses on the market has driven prices up as homes have regularly received multiple offers from eager buyers.

But according to a new report from Zillow, for-sale inventory in Seattle went up about 11.3% month over month in March, after dropping about 8.2% month over month in February. Year over year, inventory is still more than 20% lower than it was at the same time last year.

Nationally, new listings in the U.S. went up about 30% month over month from February to late March, but total inventory was still down about 1.1%. Even though total inventory decreased, the drop represented the smallest month over month decline since July of last year and “follows much larger monthly drops of 7.5% and 8.1% in February and January,” the study found.

“Home value growth kept soaring and the rental market rebound carried on in March — but signs are emerging that the nation’s ongoing inventory squeeze may be starting to ease somewhat, just in time for the start of the traditionally busy spring home shopping season,” the study said. 

For-sale inventory was also up month over month in about 19 of the country’s 50 largest metro areas, including San Jose and San Francisco, the study found.

“March often sees a boost in inventory, and the return to some seasonal norms is a positive sign that supply is beginning to catch up with demand,” Zillow economist Treh Manhertz said in a news release. “With home values skyrocketing, vaccination rates rising and employees getting long-term guidance on where they can work, we expect an increasing number of homeowners to join the market and list in the coming months. That will come as welcome news to home shoppers who are seeing bidding wars and homes plucked from the market weeks faster than usual.”

Still, home prices have continued to rise in Seattle and in several large metro areas, making it difficult for people to find affordable homes in the region. The typical home value grew more than 13% year over year in Seattle, and was up about 1% between February and March.

Going forward, experts are expecting 2021 to stay a strong year for the housing market across the country.

“Although the rapid ascent of home values have stoked fears of another housing bubble, strong fundamentals underpin the market’s heat. Average credit scores among buyers are much higher than in the early 2000s, lending standards are tighter, and demand going forward — including from a wave of millennials aging into homebuying — is expected to keep sales strong in the coming months,” the report said.

Here’s how Seattle’s inventory in March compares to other metro areas. 

San Jose saw a 14.5% monthly increase in inventory.

SEATTLE, WA – 2009: The downtown skyline and Space Needle is seen from Queen Anne Hill in this 2009 Seattle, Washington, early morning city landscape photo.

Seattle saw a 11.3% monthly increase in inventory.

San Francisco saw a 9.5% monthly increase in inventory.

Scene of Boston skyline at the twilight time with express way and traffic over the bridge, USA downtown skyline, Architecture and building with tourist concept

Boston saw a 6.4% monthly increase in inventory.

Washington D.C.

Where: Maryland
Reasons to visit: Great waterfront activities, high-end restaurants, museums, and historic monuments.

Washington, D.C. saw a 6.4% monthly increase in inventory.

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