Inventory is up; buyers, sellers prep for spring

A real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019 1:30am
  • Business

By Sandra Levin

Special to the Reporter


If you’re looking to purchase a home on Mercer Island this winter or spring, you’ll likely benefit from the uptick in local inventory at all price levels. Many buyers in February appreciated the options and the less hurried pace in the local market.

On Mercer Island, there were 75 homes for sale in February 2019, which is up from the 63 homes for sale in February of 2018. When looking at months of inventory on Mercer Island, the city had 2 months of inventory in February 2018, and a year later we are at 2.5 months of inventory.

These numbers are encouraging and a move toward a balanced market, though multiple offer situations are still a possibility for well-priced homes in certain areas. On Mercer Island, we have seen an increase of 16.7 percent of homes placed under contract, compared to last month. Price per square foot and the overall price of homes have both increased slightly from last year.

Mercer Island was hit with multiple inches of snow in February, which led to school and business closures affecting many residents. Though snow did slow things down a bit, John L. Scott Mercer Island broker Tim Conway said the local real estate market wasn’t brought to a complete standstill as a result of the weather.

“Due to the snow the market got off to a slow start at the beginning of this year,” Conway said. “This is resulting in a buildup of buyers and an increase in buyer activity, and this also means that more homes will also come on at the same time as more sellers are getting ready to put their homes on the market as we head into spring. As the interest rates have dropped we also expect the spring and early summer market to be very robust.”

As the snow has melted and temperatures increase, many homeowners are looking to do a bit of spring cleaning and home improvement. Some spring cleaning and repairs can translate to a higher return on investment when homeowners do decide to sell. A recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions detailing year-end sales numbers for 2018 noted that the highest profits from home sales are in the west, with an average return on investment in Seattle of 70.7 percent.

Getting the ball rolling on repairs now can pay off in spring, when the market sees the most listings and buyers. For those looking to sell, consider upgrades to kitchen appliances, carpets, paint and landscaping so your home is ready for a great showing in the competitive spring market. Lou Glatz, a broker with The Lou and Lori Team out of John L. Scott’s Mercer Island office, said she anticipates a busy spring with more buyers ready to invest in real estate.

“We are beginning to see a rekindle of interest in the real estate market,” Glatz said. “More buyers are ready to buy as they have increased confidence in the overall Puget Sound market. Mercer Island is an amazing place to buy homes or investments as it sits in the middle of the growing job markets.”

For the luxury market, we see low inventory paired with strong sales intensity up to $1.5 million, then selective buyer activity.

Sandra Levin is office leader and a business coach at John L. Scott Mercer Island.

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