For the four-county Puget Sound region, pending sales totaled 8,332, making last month the third strongest April in the past 16 years. Compared with prior Aprils, last month’s volume was surpassed only in 2015 and 2005.
“Our market is near historically low levels of absorption. This has things weighted in sellers’ favor,” remarked Ken Anderson, president/owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty and a former Northwest MLS director. “Successful buyers are working closely with their brokers to study the market, choose great lenders, and make smart choices in composing compelling but not careless offers,” he added.
Area-wide, members added 11,939 new listings to the MLS database during April, a modest improvement from a year ago when they logged in 11,495 homes and condos. With last month’s additions, total inventory at the end of April included 14,235 active listings, a sharp drop (down 21.5 percent) from twelve months ago when the selection included 18,132 residences.
We believe the frenzied market is altering some buyers’ behavior – and not all of it is prudent. Buyers are being forced to make large down payments or pay all cash at the same or higher rates than previously because of tighter loan requirements and seller requirements that buyers pay the difference between the appraised value of a home and the purchase price.This is becoming an expectation in King County and has filtered its way south into Pierce and Thurston counties. Buyers are forgoing the protective investigations of properties and waiving the escape-type contingencies to strengthen their offers, he noted. “Waiving financing is of particular risk when combined with bidding wars as we have seen an increase in low appraisals.”
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