March may have come in like a lamb, but the local spring real estate market definitely came in like a lion. With a healthy job market, historically low interest rates and high buyer demand, there’s a shortage of available condos and houses across the Puget Sound region. The numbers for closed and pending sales were up 20%+ last month resulting in just over a one month supply of available inventory in many markets. Newly listed properties are selling quickly, multiple offers are common, and available inventory is unable to keep up with buyer demand. This is driving prices up and causing frustration for buyers who are facing a lack of homes to choose from.
While condo inventory is thin in all major eastside cities, nowhere is it more evident than downtown Bellevue. There are less than 100 condominiums on the market downtown with half of those being new construction units (most priced in the higher, luxury price range). Removing new construction units from the inventory reveals just 40 resale (previously owned) condos representing barely a one month supply of inventory — a 4-5 month supply of inventory is considered a balanced market. With inventory levels this low multiple offers and sales over list price are common. 35% of the condos sold in downtown Bellevue in March sold over list price.
Favorable interest rates are expected to continue through early summer, but should rates begin to edge up later this year, we may also see escalating prices ease as well. Any increase in interest rate also impacts a purchaser’s buying power. With low interest rates, low inventory and high demand, its the perfect storm. Now could be a prime time to sell a personal residence or investment property.