High-velocity housing market in Northwest

 The housing market in the Northwest continued its high-speed pace as the number of pending home sales outpaced the number of new listings, according to the latest release from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

The report, which covers 23 counties in and around Washington state, showed that the region saw 7,745 pending home sales versus 6,507 new listings.

“Properties are moving through the market at an unusually fast pace,” said John Deely, chairman of the board at Northwest MLS and the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain.

“Although we have a high number of new listings, they are moving into a pending or sold status within the typical 30-day reporting period,” Deely said. “This phenomenon causes a low active listing count.”

Active listings in the Northwest totaled 9,752 listings, a decrease of 21% from last year’s 12,357 listings. In fact, only three counties in the area, Ferry, Jefferson and Kitsap, reported improvements in the number of active listings.

But other markets hit historic lows in housing inventory. At the end of January, there was just under 1.7 months’ supply, down from last year’s 2.5 months’ supply.

“If home buyers were hoping that January would start to bring more balance to the housing market, they’re going to be sorely disappointed,” Windermere Real EstatePresident OB Jacobi said. “The number of homes for sale remains at record lows, and the growth in pending sales tells us that sellers are still firmly in the driver’s seat.”

And the market won’t be seeing relief anytime soon.

“The real question is whether there will be relief in the near future, and the unfortunate answer is no,” said MLS director George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties, citing the combination of new jobs, a shortage of new homes, and a reluctance of sellers to list their home for fear of not being able to find their next one.

This shortage continues to push up home prices in the area with an increase of 9% in median home prices from last year’s $300,000 to $327,175 this year.