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Relief for homebuyers: King County housing inventory improves over 2017

King County homebuyers saw relief in July, but it's not the same story across the region.
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King County’s real estate market continued to see a cooling effect in July with year-over-year inventory up and sales down, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Monday.

Housing inventory – or how long it would take to sell all houses on the market without more being listed – improved 6.5 percent since last July, according to the Northwest MLS. At the same time, pending sales and closed sales are down 7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

"It has been a long time coming, but we finally have some solidly good news for buyers in the Puget Sound area," OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, said in a statement.

In July, Seattle and King County saw the highest housing supply levels since 2015, according to Robert Wasser, owner of Prospera Real Estate.

Industry leaders said the increased inventory has had a calming effect on prices as sellers have had to let go of expectations of multiple offers or massive price escalations.

However, it isn’t the same story across the state. Of all counties in Western Washington, King County saw the largest gains in inventory year-over-year. Snohomish County inventory improved slightly, but Pierce County saw a decrease in inventory coupled with more pending sales and increased prices.

“Pierce County has, for a handful of years, been the affordability solution for buyers who would otherwise buy in King County,” Northwest MLS director Mike Larson said. “I think the craziness of the King County market has magnified that fact even more.”

Industry leaders cautioned that while the market has cooled, it is by no means cold. King County still only has 1.57 months of inventory, which is below a healthy inventory of four or five months, according to President and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain Mike Grady.

“We are still a seller's market,” Broker Keith Bruce said. “Much more inventory is needed to meet the overall demand for quality homes in Seattle."

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