As of this week, the governor has issued the “Stay Home” order. Real estate services are NOT considered essential services, so as of midnight on Wednesday, no showings of homes, no inspections, no nothing! You would assume that would bring real estate to a grinding halt, but these numbers don’t seem to show much of a slowdown.
Looking at what happened this week:
This is NOT what I would expect for a real estate market in the middle of a global pandemic and during a full state-wide shut down. We had a 35% reduction in the number of new house listings and a 25% reduction in the number of condo listings compared with the previous week. We had a total of 219 properties come on the market this week. To give you some perspective, that is almost TWICE the number of new listings that came on the market during the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas last year combined.
And in even stranger news, we saw only a slight decline in the number of pending listings. Several of my active buyers rushed to get under contract before the deadline of “Stay Home”, so lots of lucky sellers got offers in on their houses right under the wire.
Total number of houses for sale dipped just a bit, and we have just 3 more condos for sale this week than we had last week. We are currently sitting at about 30% – 35% fewer total properties for sale than we saw this time last year, and that has been the trend all year. We had a VERY hot start to the real estate market this year, and I predict that once the governor lifts the Stay Home order, we will have a surge in buyer activity. That surge may be short lived, but I bet that the first 30 days after the order is lifted will be VERY busy for Seattle real estate.
Two metrics I’ve never shared with you before is the number of canceled listings and the number of temporary off market properties. Canceled properties are just that, sellers that decided to take their homes off the market before the end of the term of the listing agreement. In a normal week we see 2-5 houses and 1-3 condos cancel. This week we had 30 houses and 15 condos cancel their listings. In this uncertain time, especially if the seller is still living in the home, it is easy to see why you would just take your home off the market all together. Under the “temporary off market” category, a seller can go off the market for a minimum of 7 days and a max of 45 days. Pre-pandemic this was used during family emergencies, during holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, or if a seller needed time to complete repairs or upgrades. In a usual week, we see 5-10 houses and 2-4 condos go temporary off market. This week we had 44 houses and 15 condos go temporarily off the market. This is a wise move. Since brokers are not allowed to show any properties until this Stay Home order is lifted, homes that are currently on the market risk becoming “stale”, lingering on the market and by the time buyers are able to get back out to see homes, they may be enticed by newer listings.
It shocks me that we are still seeing new listings and pending listings. I appreciate a robust real estate market. And what I appreciate more than anything else is a healthy, safe city. I am 100% committed to keeping my butt at home until the governor gives us the green light to resume normal activities. We can’t have a healthy Seattle real estate market without a healthy Seattle. So let’s unite on this one. Stay home. Stay healthy. I promise you we can buy and sell houses very soon.
I love you Seattle!