February saw one of the snowiest days on record in the Seattle area, with people in some areas waking up during Valentine's Day weekend to nearly a foot outside their windows.
But, even with the weather, the Puget Sound region housing market didn't let up, according to the February report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
“It’s amazing how close the February numbers are when compared to February 2020, which was, of course, right before our world changed,” said Mike Grady, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Bain. "Despite our similarly lousy February weather, the data shows that the market continues to be hot, with residential inventory very tight and median prices rising by double digits across most of our counties.”
In King County in February, there were 2,893 new listings added to the market, slightly lower than in February of last year. Total active inventory in the county was down nearly 18% year-over-year, reflecting the limited inventory that has marked the region's housing market over the past year.
For residential listings, total active inventory was down nearly 41% compared to the same time last year. The total number of active listings for condos, however, was up more than 50% compared to February of 2020.
Pending sales overall were down slightly year over year, but were up compared to last month, the report found.
“This tells me that neither the snowstorm that hit the region nor the jump in mortgage rates deterred buyers who were still out in force last month,” Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner said.
Gardner added even though pending condo sales also decreased compared to the same time last year, several neighborhoods in Seattle, including Queen Anne, downtown Seattle and Ballard, "performed better than expected."
"That suggests to me that there may not be the mass exodus from the core urban areas that many have been predicting," Gardner said.
Closed sales in King County were up about 13.5% compared to the same time last year, with 2,146 closed sales over the course of the month. Home prices were also up more than 10% year over year, with the median price for closed sales in February coming in at $679,075.
Prices were also up from last month, when the median closed sale price was $644,950. Among residential homes, prices rose even more steeply in February, up more than 11% year over year. For condos, prices rose only about 1% compared to the same time last year.
“Like last year, before we knew what was just around the corner, buyer demand is high. There continues to be opportunities for buyers seeking condos, and median prices are more stable, so that’s also good news for buyers," Northwest MLS Director John Deely, executive vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain, said.
For buyers looking for residential homes, though, they face a more difficult market.
“Our brokers are working hard to help prepare buyers both emotionally and financially for the realities they face, and to help position them as the winning purchaser," he said.
"With things opening up, and open house restrictions eased to allow more people at one time, brokers are also spending a good amount of time preparing their sellers to get comfortable with having people in their homes and to safely facilitate viewings, as well as managing and analyzing all the offers.”
Moving forward, brokers said they were optimistic more homes would be added to the market and the region's housing market would stay strong.
“After an intense winter in the local real estate market, more new resale listings are on the horizon this month. March historically marks the beginning of the eight month prime-time real estate market,” said J. Lennox Scott, Chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. "The intensity we’re seeing in the market should come down slightly as more available homes enter the market, but we have to play catch up with pent-up buyer demand first."