BuyingHousing Trends November 14, 2018

Newfound Ability to Negotiate for Buyers?

Windermere Stanwood-Camano Real Estate Brokers are deeply connected to the issues that face local home-buyers and sellers. In this series of blogs, The Broker’s Perspective, Windermere Stanwood-Camano Brokers provide insight into current Real Estate market trends and topics.

This week we take a look at a recent press release from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.  Michael Ofstad, a broker from our Terry’s Corner office, gives us his thoughts on this topic.

Slower Market Means Homebuyers Have “Newfound Ability to Negotiate”


Washington (November 6, 2018) – Seven months of steadily rising housing inventory reversed course in October when Northwest Multiple Listing Service brokers added the fewest new listings since February, according to a new report. MLS members believe the onset of wintry weather and transition to the holiday season are factors, but suggested the slower pace also signals improving conditions for house-hunters.

“After months of inventory growth that more than quadrupled the number of homes buyers have to choose from, things got back on a seasonal track with new listings and total supply falling in October,” said Robert Wasser, a director with Northwest MLS, when comparing those metrics with September.

“Buyers are catching on to their newfound ability to negotiate. For the first time since 2012, closed sales system-wide rose from September to October,” noted Wasser, a branch manager with Windermere Real Estate in Bellevue.

Northwest MLS members added 8,865 new listings to inventory last month in the 23 counties it encompasses, down from September’s volume of 10,458, but up 4.7 percent from the year-ago total of 8,466 new listings. Compared to September, last month’s number of total active listings shrunk nearly 6.7 percent, but year-over-year inventory rose 33.2 percent, from 13,680 to 18,223 offerings.

Brokers generally welcomed the bump-up in inventory.

Continue Reading the entire Press Release from NWMLS

Windermere Broker, Michael Ofstad, give his perspective

Do you see buyers having more options and negotiating power in our local Stanwood-Camano market?

Yes.  In the Stanwood-Camano market, there are certainly more options, from two different forces at work.  There are fewer buyers during this time of year.  People suspend their search in consideration of the holidays, and also the thought of moving in the wet, cold winter and halfway through the school year.  And secondly, there is an uptick in inventory, and therefore more choices available.  This leaves room for traditional negotiations, instead of a lack of inventory holding all the power.  In our local market, it’s a great time to buy.

What can buyers and sellers really expect when entering the local real estate market today?

In this local real estate market, buyers and sellers can expect an active, robust and competitive market that is leaning towards being more balanced – although it is still a healthy seller’s market.  We have seen some price reductions in our area, although not as drastic as other areas, which is simply a market correction happening before our very eyes.  There is a bigger market correction going on across the country, and we are fortunate to be in an area where these trends are on the mild side, for both buyers who don’t want to lose equity and people who desire a long-term stable investment market.   The best result of this mild correction, in my opinions, is a large reduction in stress among buyers, sellers, and the industry as a whole.

NWMLS gives us some great statistics in this article, but we still see home prices up in varying degrees in each area when compared to 2017 home prices.  Can buyers look forward to affordable inventory anytime soon?

The beauty of this area’s market is that over the long term, as more people discover opportunity and a beautiful place to live, here in the Northwest, this whole area is a good investment now.  The term affordable is usually associated with the concept of a reduction in value, where I think the focus might be the appreciation factor, gaining wealth in the long term.