December is the slowest month of the year in the real estate cycle, so we’d expect figures to be depressed and last month’s Seattle condo market stats didn’t disappoint.
The citywide Seattle median condo price dipped 3.46% to $251,000 compared to December of last year. West Seattle was the only market area that showed an improvement, though only slightly with just a 0.5% increase in median value. Northwest Seattle (north of ship canal, west of I-5) showed the largest one-year decline, down 16.4%.
Pending transactions (properties under contract) dropped 17.5% while closings dipped 13.7%, compared to the same period last year. Yet all was not gloomy…the number of closings increased 22.4% between November and December.
The number of active listings fell 1.8% to 990 units, the fewest number of available condo units for sale since February 2007. Seasonal fluctuation, increase in rentals, sellers holding out for a turnaround and the rise in foreclosures likely account for the drop in listings.
The Seattle condo inventory supply rate remained unchanged based on the number of pending transactions, but reduced 4 months to 8.3 months of supply based on closed units. Both methods reach the same conclusion, however, that Seattle remains a buyer’s market overall. Though, conditions will vary by neighborhood and price level.
While Seattle’s condo market will continue to struggle for some time to come, 2011 portends to be a more active market than this past year. Mortgage interest rates remain at historically low levels, but are expected to rise, which will may persuade buyers off the fence. New construction inventory will constrict as existing developments continue to sell off their remaining units along with the possibility of more condo auctions.