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Signs of optimism despite reduced inventory



Northwest MLS, the source for the most current, accurate market listing data in Washington state, today released its Market Snapshot for the month of December 2023.


Market Recap


The new year kicks off with some hopeful signs for buyers within the real estate market. Interest rates proceeded to drop through the month of December to a current rate of 6.61% from the November level of 7.1%, with the Fed signaling additional cuts on the horizon. Yet inventory remains stagnant in accordance with typical seasonal patterns, and low inventory persisted to pressure home prices in the region, which were up about 5% year-over-year. According to Selma Hepp, chief economist for CoreLogic, “strong home price gains over the course of the year indicate that home prices in most Washington state markets have fully recovered from 2022 losses and are reaching new highs once again.”


CoreLogic’s Home Price Index forecasts another 3.5% appreciation over the course of 2024.


Important takeaways from December’s data:


  • NWMLS brokers reported 4,018 closed sales in December 2023, an 11% drop from the number of closed sales in December 2022. While 16 of 26 counties in Washington experienced year-over-year decreases in the number of home sales, seven counties saw year-over-year increases, including Clallam, Cowlitz, Grant, Adams, Walla Walla, Island and Kittitas counties.

  • The median price of homes sold increased in 16 of 26 counties and decreased in 10 counties relative to December 2022. The three counties with the highest median priced homes sold were San Juan County ($1,450,000), King County ($775,000) and Snohomish County ($675,000). The three counties with the lowest median priced homes sold were Okanogan ($275,000), Ferry ($254,900) and Columbia ($152,750).

  • The inventory of homes on the market has continued to decline throughout Washington, with 15 of 26 counties seeing a year-over-year decrease. Overall, there was a 20% decrease in the number of active property listings in December 2023 when compared to the same month in 2022.

  • While still subject to inventory shortages, condominium sales appear to be less impacted by market woes. Compared to December 2022, the number of condominium sales in the state experienced a mere 6% decrease, while seeing a 7% increase in median sales price.

“Washington counties covered by NWMLS have followed seasonal trends in transaction volume and inventory levels, both seeing a typical drop when compared to spring and summer months,” said Mason Virant, associate director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at The University of Washington. “Inventory levels continue to be low as current owners with low-rate mortgages remain reluctant to sell. This has led to a continued decline in year-over-year transaction volume and inventory levels in the market.”


About Northwest Multiple Listing Service


As the leading resource for the region’s residential real estate industry, NWMLS provides valuable products and services, superior member support, and the most trusted, current residential property and listing information for real estate professionals. NWMLS is a member-owned, not-for-profit organization with more than 2,500 member offices and 30,000+ real estate brokers throughout Washington state. With extensive knowledge of the region, NWMLS operates 20 service centers and serves 26 counties, providing dedicated support to its members and fostering a robust, cooperative brokerage environment.


NWMLS now offers a home listing search and comprehensive broker database at https://www.nwmls.com.

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