Navigating Seattle’s raging housing market: Is September for buyers?

Even raging rivers have stretches that quiet and slow. The same is true for Seattle’s housing market.

As if fueled by a melting snowpack, spring has been the time when the housing market has raged historically. This year has been particularly ferocious as the demand of March, April, May has been driven by many buyers (with fat salaries) competing for few homes. While urban and economic forces may be leveling out the historic rhythms of the real estate market, we see patterns (and opportunities) in this shift. Especially for buyers.

Two things we notice:

Buyer fatigue is real.

Buyers cannot simply be “on” all the time. After a particularly brutal spring, we noticed a slight decrease in buyer interest. For about 10 days starting at Memorial Day we witnessed a slight lull in demand. Pretty amazing homes, which would likely have seen multiple and escalating offers, only saw one offer. Our experience was echoed by other agents in our office.

One homebuyer described it this way:

“It’s exhausting. We have been going to open houses and writing offers and doing the work on a daily basis. And you can only do that for so long before you need to take a break.”

Seasonal opportunities.

The data reveal clues for smart buyers. Last September for example, had the year’s best ratio of buyers to sellers.And September holds that distinction for the previous three years.A possible explanation is that in August and September Seattleites choose to do other stuff besides house hunting. We get it. These are the Northwest glory months when the mountains, rivers, Puget Sound, and patios beckon.

The takeaway…

Even with the late summer lull, the market will still favor sellers. Still, many buyers are fatigued and distracted from July to September. We are entering the period when buyers are in the best position in terms of inventory and competition.

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