seattle inventory 2010 to 2012 thumb

Reasons For Seattle’s Low Housing Inventory

Multiple offers, jam-packed open houses, anxious buyers & real estate agents all caused by Seattle’s low housing inventory.  “I want to buy while rates are low!” is the battle cry of  Seattle buyers, but there is very little to be found.  Why?

Here are 5 reasons for our low inventory:

  1. Underwater Homeowners  Simply not enough or no equity to sell yet.  Those that are able to stay put are choosing to do so, rather than take a credit hit by doing a short sale.
  2. Bank Owned Property  Bank owned property or REO (real estate owned) properties are not coming on the market in the numbers that many predicted.  The ‘robo-signing’ scandal seemed to put the brakes on foreclosures in 2010.  And while figuring out that mess the banks seemed to have improved their processes of approving short sales.
  3. I’m Not Selling At The Bottom!  If property values are finally on the rise some homeowners are waiting for even greater gains.  If someone doesn’t need to sell then they are obviously tempted to wait for even greater gains.
  4. How Do We Sell & Buy?  In such a competitive market is very difficult (if not impossible) to purchase a home contingent on the sale of a home.
  5. New Construction  Seattle’s low inventory numbers are not helped significantly by new construction.  While many local builders are back to building it is just not possible to build enough.  Unlike suburban communities nearby (like Mill Creek or Kenmore), Seattle simply does not have the available land to provide huge numbers of new housing inventory.

We will see how the Spring market develops but it seems low inventory will be the storyline for 2013.

City of Seattle inventory numbers over the last three years:

seattle inventory 2010 to 2012

Active Listings, Number of
Month 2010 2011 2012
Jan 1,951 1,875 1,313
Feb 2,174 1,885 1,235
Mar 2,440 1,897 1,237
Apr 2,649 2,044 1,226
May 2,686 2,019 1,266
Jun 2,777 2,124 1,310
Jul 2,929 2,074 1,259
Aug 2,927 1,966 1,228
Sep 2,932 2,017 1,339
Oct 2,708 1,853 1,140
Nov 2,355 1,632 937
Dec 1,948 1,378 746