The first month of 2023 has already come and gone and we begin to look forward to what February and the winter market is already showing for the coming months. With input from Frank Hawkins, of Hawkins-Poe Real Estate and the Northwest MLS experts, we analyze what has occurred already and what is projected to happen.
According to the January report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, “Pending sales around Washington State reached the highest level since October and surged nearly 44% from December. Last month’s 5,776 mutually accepted offers were down about 9% from a year ago, but brokers seemed encouraged by the ‘favorable spike’.”
“This data is encouraging”, stated Frank Hawkins, President of Hawkins-Poe, Inc. Realtors in Tacoma. “The sticker shock home buyers experienced mid-year of 2022 has been mitigated by three events - all of which are advantages to the home buyer:
1. RATES: Mortgage Interest Rates have settled down a bit from their peak levels in late spring 2022. This is a sign of leveling off inflation (after a 40-year high) and also the government’s typical response to a recession (2 quarters of down markets).
2. Seasonal influx: Listings always surge in the spring and summer. The holiday lull has passed, the weather tends to dry out and life returns to venturing outdoors, making it the most popular time to list. This always relieves some pressure for the buyer who has been surfing the lowest-of-the-low inventory levels in winter.
3. Return of some buyer terms: Sellers have also adjusted to, and become more receptive to, the idea of more favorable buyer-friendly negotiations and terms. Home inspections have returned and sellers are ok with it.”
According to the NWMLS reports: “The selection of properties, based on the number of total active listings in the NWMLS database, improved significantly from a year ago, rising from 3,092 listings to 8,220 at month end. That total, which includes 7,179 single-family homes and 1,041 condominiums, was down about 13.2% from December’s selection.”
“That’s good news for buyers who are enjoying more selection and more time to shop because of the increase in inventory”, stated Hawkins. “I’m optimistic that the downturn of the market is over and spring will bring a very active market. Days are getting longer, mortgage interest rates have declined, and buyers will have more time to make their decisions. However, the inventory levels aren’t to a buyers’ market level yet, so don’t snooze on ‘the one’ for too long.”
The first quarter is also bringing an increase in sales price for some counties. Pierce County experienced an increase in the average sales price reporting $571,154 for January compared to $552,671 in December of 2022. Kitsap County also experienced an increase in the average sales price reporting $568,012 up from $543,733 in December of 2022. “It is not often that we report both a positive market for buyers AND sellers, but this might be just that”, concluded Hawkins.
MONTHLY UPDATE - February 2023 | Hawkins-Poe Real Estate hawkinspoe.com