Seattle housing market simmers down

Seattle housing market simmers down (KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- The scene is bleak outside Josef Weiss’ West Seattle townhouse.

Three “for sale” signs line the street, just a block off the water – Weiss’ is one of them.

Weiss’ home of six years has been on the market 67 days, something almost unheard of in Seattle just months ago.

“We definitely didn’t think it was going to take this long,” Weiss told KOMO Tuesday. “We’ve lowered it three times now.”

For more than a year the Puget Sound region has been one of the hottest housing markets in the nation– full of bidding wars and skyrocketing prices.

It seemed nearly every real estate agent in town had a story about the lengths a buyer would go to.

But, according to Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, there’s been some change. According to an analysis released Thursday, Gardner found:

*Home prices are down 4.4% compared to the second quarter of this year.

*While home prices are slowing, houses are still selling. Houses sit on the market an average of 39 days, which happens to be four days less than the same quarter in 2017.

*King County continues to be the “tightest market” in Western Washington with homes taking an average of 19 days to sell.

Natalie English, who is working with Weiss to sell his house, said she’s seen Seattle neighborhoods going from having “zero inventory to about two to three months’ worth of inventory.”

English said the days are buyers waiving inspections and sellers refusing to repair or stage their homes before listing appear to be over.

It’s also the time that people on the verge of selling, are getting their house on the market quickly, she said.

“We’re not getting into the crazy bidding wars any more, buyers are having time to do their due diligence,” English said.

Weiss, who is hoping to move to Minnesota, said his girlfriend is getting nervous about the changing housing market.

“I just think people are freaking out, want to sell their home and have a lot of equity,” Weiss said.

Though more homes are on the market, Chris Siegfried, a mortgage consultant with HomeStreet Bank, said it doesn’t mean a return to the high-risk loans seen across the country a decade ago.

“Going through the loan process is scrutinizing,” Siegfried said. “We want to make sure that we’re working with qualified buyers.”

Both English and Siegfried believe there’s finally give and take on all sides – from buyers to sellers to the banks.

“Right now, in this current market it’s a little bit more level and sensible for people,” Siegfried said.

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