Seattle Real Estate February 12, 2013

Low housing inventory makes it a seller’s market in Seattle

It's A Seller Market in Seattle

by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

So much for Seattle's housing slump. It's a sellers' market these days.

According to, metro home values rose 6.5 percent in the past year and are expected to rise another 4.6 percent this year. You can thank low interest rates and rising home values.

"When we decided to sell, the real estate man said, 'do you want to go on the market now?'" recalls Lou Watne. "We said sure."

That was right before Christmas. One week later.

"And we got three offers," says Watne.

So they now find themselves carefully wrapping up their 43 years in their northeast Seattle home. Their timing couldn't be better. Inventory is so low, buyers aren't always waiting for homes to hit the market.

"Got lots of buyers, don't have anything to show them at this point," says realtor Tim Lenihan with Windermere Real Estate.

What would it take for you to sell your house even it's not on the market? Many homes on Zillow have a "make me move" price. And even though it's often above what it's worth, Linehan is still interested.

"It's a shot in the dark but I feel like I'm at least trying to find my clients other avenues besides what's on the multiple listing service."

Linehan hasn't made anyone move just yet. But nothing is off the table.

Unless you're the Watnes, capitalizing on a housing market that looks to be on the way up.

"43 years enjoying your house has to count for something," says Watne.

Zillow Sr. Economist, Svenja Gudell released a statement, saying there are a few factors that are driving low inventory numbers in the Seattle area.

"For one, negative equity is still relatively high in the metro, at 34.2 percent. This means that some homeowners who want to sell aren’t able to, unless they bring money to the closing. Additionally, some homeowners don’t want to sell this close to the bottom, and would rather wait for home values to increase further before selling their home. On the demand side, we have seen both consumer and investor activity increase, which translates into shorter time periods for homes to stay on the market. In fact, the Seattle metro is a sellers’ market according to Zillow’s recent Buyer/Seller Index analysis, meaning homes in the Seattle metro are on the market for a shorter amount of time, there is a low percentage of homes with a price cut, and the sale-to-list price ratio is relatively high. These conditions paired with low interest rates and rising home values (metro up 6.5% annually) gives you the recipe for tight inventory in the area. "

It's not just Seattle seeing high demand and low inventories. Zillow compiled a forecast for 2013 of the hottest cities and neighborhoods in Western Washington.

For more information about the Seattle area real estate market, call Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner, Windermere Real Estate Seattle-Northwest 206-769-9577.