Local housing market may be warming up

May 5, 2011

Remember the bidding wars over Seattle area homes before the housing bubble burst? Well, we're not returning to those crazy days just yet, but the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) says there are signs that the market may be warming up a bit. Home sellers in some neighborhoods are seeing multiple offers again. But it's not a boom; overall, the latest numbers show fewer sales and lower prices than a year ago.

NWMLS members reported 7,154 pending sales during April, a 24 percent drop from a year ago when buyers were scrambling to take advantage of a federal tax credit that expired April 30, 2010. But, when compared to 2008, pending sales in April were up 15.2%

NWMLS also reports 10,083 new listings were added in the 21 counties it serves during April, down 20 percent from the same month a year ago. 

Total inventory is down nearly 13 percent from a year ago. At month end, the multiple listing service inventory encompassed 34,862 active listings, including the new additions during April. A year ago, brokers represented 39,999 active listings of single family homes and condominiums (combined).

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, believes multiple offers are making a comeback because of healthy sales in recent months along with "a shortage of homes coming on the market and low foreclosure activity."

So, is the local housing market on the road to recovery? It may be a matter of perspective. Share your experiences in the comment section below.