With interest rates moderating and the promise of more rate cuts to come, buyers seem to be gaining confidence and hitting the ground running as soon as the New Year bells began ringing. Lenders report that applications for new mortgage preapprovals continue to increase each week, and certainly, that is being reflected in the number of pending sales we're seeing on a daily and weekly basis.
Now we need the listings! Yes, it's early in the year, and December/January are historically months with the lowest number of total listings and new listings. But buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for rates to moderate recognize there will be even more competition in the Spring, so they are ready to move NOW. What I've noted, looking closely at pending sale data since Jan 1st, is that many of the homes that sat on the market for a number of months in 2023 have moved to pending, which is great. The few new listings that have come out, if they are well presented and priced appropriately, are snapped up within days, often with multiple offers.
You can see in this chart that sales volume in Greater Gig Harbor* has outpaced the number of new listings by a decent margin since July of 2023.
The left chart highlights the fact that December 2023 was a 5 year low for the number of new listings added to the MLS in Pierce County. On the right, compared to the end of 2022, the end of 2023 saw Pierce County with 25% fewer active listings.
What does all this mean?
Well, Buyers... last month, I noted there was a glimmer of hope for some balance in the market leading into 2024. At the moment, it appears I may have spoken too soon. Many more great listings are needed to meet the rising buyer demand. That said, in shopping this winter, consider homes that have been on the market for some time. You're far less likely to have competition, and you may be in a good position to get assistance with closing costs and/or price concessions.
If you're a potential seller who is still hesitating (perhaps because it's too easy to find negative news about the housing market in the media), keep these things in mind:
1) Real Estate is local. Our area is robust!
2) The data clearly shows the need for more listings.
3) Well-prepped, presented, and priced homes coming to market now are selling like hotcakes.
4) The media will say/write anything in a headline to get your attention. (And it may well not be true!)
I said it in December, and I'll most definitely say again that I'm very excited and optimistic about the Greater Gig Harbor, South, and West Sound markets in 2024. I can feel the sighs of relief from Buyers who are no longer panicked about rising interest rates and can see their excitement to house hunt. I'm also very encouraged by the number of sellers we have in the preparation phase who will be coming to market in the coming months. It's a marked difference from this time the last few years and very much needed.
If you want to talk in more detail or explore stats in other areas, reach out to me anytime!
* Greater Gig Harbor includes Fox Island and the Key Peninsula"