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  • Writer's pictureMindy Brown

The Low Inventory Effect


The video below from Matthew Gardner, Windermere's Chief Economist, refers to the effects of constricted inventory levels on the national housing market in a higher interest rate environment. Review the localized numbers that I gathered that pertain to King and Snohomish Counties and then check out what he has to say about the national trends.


Overall, inventory has been tight in 2023! Many people made moves in the pandemic-fueled market and are deciding to stay put. They utilized the lower interest rates to secure their long-term home and don't see a need to move anytime soon. Did you know the average person stays in their home for 10 years?


Others are not completely satisfied with their homes but feel attached to the lower rate and are pushing through the discomfort until rates settle. Some are deciding to come to market because their homes do not fit their lives anymore and some are bucking the rates and getting creative with financing. The buyers working the creative financing route with rate buy-downs will be rewarded when rates lower and prices go up.


Year-to-date new listings in King County are down 30% over 2022 and down 37% in Snohomish County. Closed sales are down 27% over 2022 in King County and down 27% in Snohomish County. Even though there have been fewer new listings year-over-year the closed sale percentage is tracking more favorably, which demonstrates buyer demand. This is why inventory is tight. In August 2023 there were 1.3 months of inventory in King County and 1.1 months in Snohomish County. This illustrates a seller's market.


Closed sales peaked in 2021 in both counties at 20,132 in King County and 8,663 in Snohomish County. As we venture away from these outlier pandemic years, consumers are wrapping their heads around the changing environment. Year-to-date, King County has had 16,069 closed sales and 5,344 in Snohomish County. Year-to-date, King County is pacing slightly higher than 2019, which was a normal market prior to the pandemic and Snohomish County is lagging behind by just a bit.


The pace of inventory has helped stabilize prices and created price growth since the start of 2023. Buyer demand exists because people's lives change and we have the Millennial generation out in full force. If your life is leading you to consider a move, please reach out. Please do not rely on the noise in the media, they will lead you astray.


I can help you dig into the data and devise a plan that relates to YOUR life. With equity levels astoundingly high (over 50% of homeowners in the U.S. have over 50% equity), moves are being made with great success. For buyers, the rates can be overcome with some creativity, lived with for now, or you can set a benchmark for when you're ready. If you are curious about how today's market relates to your goals or want to make a plan for the future, let's talk! It is always my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions.



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