Low Listing Inventory in Seattle’s Real Estate Market

Residential Active Listings April 2016

We are still seeing low to the  lowest inventory in the Seattle market. As pictures say a thousand words, I am showcasing the the three charts which show the current climate. The absorption rate, or percentage of active listings that have gone pending is at 120%. How can that be? There was so little new inventory in April, that many of the homes that were on the market in past months have gone pending.

Average days on the market in Seattle are from seven to ten days, with open houses often seeing up to forty groups through, and up to twenty competitive offers with escalation clauses. One home near Broadview and Bitterlake had seven offers, with the highest being an offer from a California buyer who bought it sight-unseen.
Residential Sold Pending April 2016Another home was purchased by a buyer who offered $2,000 over what any other offer brought in. Evidently the sky was the limit for that buyer!

There are all sorts of tactics and strategies at play in the market.

On the selling side, it is important to price a home reasonably. Some sellers think that pricing high gives room to negotiate, but it has been shown through research that an overpriced listing brings in less profit than a reasonably priced listing.


Some listings are underpriced and when this is done intentionally to encourage a bidding war, can incur fines through our multiple listing service. Reasonably priced listings will still see some bidding (such as an eBay environment) in this market.

Residential Percent of Active Inventory Sold Pending April 2015

To arrive at a price range, I always research a neighborhood thoroughly – with the advent of the internet, there are so many statistics available to us it is possible to narrow down a price range accurately.

I also drive through the neighborhood and tour any active and pending homes. As it often will take a seller from one to six months to prepare their home to be sold, this is usually enough time to present research so that my clients can make an informed decision.

Configuration and condition of the home also needs to be considered. For example, some buyers will want a master on the main, while others may want three bedrooms and a bathroom (or two) upstairs. The latter seems to be in more demand.

I was at a get-together in Canada last month, and one of the guests was another Realtor. The host asked, casually, what is my home worth? The Realtor said, “While I am not prepared to answer this question now, I’ll ask you how old is your roof, water heater, heating system, and electrical? Have you updated your kitchen or any of the rooms?”

If you are thinking of selling your house, consider your potential market and what they may be looking for.

For buyers, I recommend looking at least ten percent below what you are qualified or prepared to pay. I recently had clients who were looking up to nine hundred thousand dollars in cash, but we were looking in the seven to eight hundred thousand dollar range so we would be prepared to escalate.

Additionally, many buyers are waiving their contingencies such as financing and inspection – this is a very risky game to play which I don’t recommend.

Contact me for more information, I would love to help you buy a new home or sell your current home so that you can upgrade or downsize!