2018 was one hell of a year! For the first half, buyers felt panicked, overwhelmed, and let down as the continuation of bidding wars in the Puget Sound area kept up. They found themselves more and more priced out of the neighborhoods they wanted to be in, sometimes unable to compete with cash offers, and stuck in a rental rut. On the flip side, a lot of sellers felt the same way – they wanted to upgrade to a new home, but needed to get their current home sold first, and were having a hard time placing contingent offers.
Sellers who had the time to spare had a great first half of 2018 – prices climbed up higher and higher and they were getting more than top dollar for their homes, without having to succumb to any inspection requests or shaky financing from buyers. Price increases? Well sure, why not? There doesn’t have to be a reason for them – just throw another $10,000 onto your listing price and someone will pay it!
Then the end of summer hit. Like a wrecking ball, for a lot of sellers. In Seattle city limits, for example, the average time on market for a home for sale was 14 days between March and June 2018. July through September that number grew just slightly to 18 days. And then suddenly at the end of the year, homes sat on the market an average of 30 days before selling – many of them starting to sell for less than list price.
We witnessed this for ourselves as brokers who represent buyers and sellers – traffic at our open houses died down. A Saturday afternoon that usually saw 20 or more people through a home was lucky to see three. Sellers were reducing their prices.
It’s 2019 now and this is finally a great time to be a buyer OR a seller, which is so rare! Sellers have gotten their pricing back in line where it should be – no more price hikes just for the sake of it – but prices haven’t really dropped overall. They’ve just gotten back to normal! Buyers are seeing a little luck with dipping interest rates, and with pricing back where it should be they’re starting to shop in the neighborhoods they want to be in again. Buyers are able to submit offers that may be dependent on an inspection, and sellers are getting traffic back through their open houses. We’re looking forward to a really great, stable year!