Contrary to omnipresent news reports, median home prices did not fall year over year in King, Snohomish, or Pierce Counties—comprising the Seattle Metropolitan Statistical Area (“MSA”)—nor in five other Western Washington counties during any month of 2018. Even on the Eastside, prices didn’t come up short until December.
Starting in August, however, changing perceptions of the future direction of prices caused some buyers to delay purchases, and inclined others to reduce their offers to sellers. Faced with fewer—or lower—offers, sellers stalled acceptance, protracting the median cumulative days on market, which rose 66.7% in November and doubled the previous year’s figure by December in the Seattle MSA. Eastside market times more than tripled year-over-year by November and were up over 250% by December.
This trend will benefit buyers in 2019. Already as of January, Eastside prices extended their year-over-year decline to 3.27% from 1.57% in December; yet seller markdowns from listed prices flattened out at 1.9%. After years of competitive market conditions, greater choice, improved negotiation power and attractive interest rates align to encourage buyers back to the table as the Spring sales season arrives.