Seattle houseboats

Buyers would like prices to take a dip, please.

We knew it would take time for Seattle home sellers to return to the market amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the initial weeks of quarantine, property pushers clung to their homes as Covid-19 fears rose and real estate activity dwindled, putting a serious damper on the spring home-buying season.

Gradually, though, closings crept up as high demand prompted bidding wars across the city, driven in part by diving interest rates. Real estate experts preached patience. And now, in many respects, the returns from our first full month of summer resemble Mays past. Per Northwest Multiple Listing Service's latest real estate figures, more new single-family house and condo listings came on the market in Seattle this July than in any month since May 2019, indicating that at least some sellers have opened their doors to (or at least shared Zoom info with) home shoppers once again. The median price of home sales reached an even $750,000, rivaling the $759,500 median in May 2018. And sales, both pending and closed, climbed into the lofty company of both those months.

All of which is little relief for buyers. New listings didn't restock the low inventory across King and Snohomish counties to normal levels. "It's still well below what we need to meet the volume of buyers right now," says Windermere chief economist Matthew Gardner.

At the same time, these July numbers have to look mighty attractive to potential sellers still refraining from entering the market, which could ultimately benefit home-seekers this fall. Year-over-year, median prices rose 7 percent in Seattle. In North Seattle, the median cost of a house or condo was $715,500 in July 2019; a year later, it was $870,000, with more closings than its predecessor.  The price difference in Ballard/Greenlake wasn't quite so stark—$775,000 to $700,000, a 10.7 percent hike—but a 15.6 percent rise in closings year-over-year meant one of the city's hottest areas of late was positively scorching in July.

Here's the full breakdown from NWMLS.

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