Cooling West Coast housing markets tilt field back toward buyers

Explosive home inventory growth is pulling back prices in Seattle, Portland, Denver

Mar.March 12, 2019 02:30 PM

Houses in Seattle (Credit: iStock)

Buyers looking for homes in cities like Seattle, San Jose and Oakland this spring will have more negotiating power than they did during previous years, thanks to surging inventory tugging prices down across the western United States.

Home sales hit 11-year lows in Southern California and in the San Francisco Bay area in January, and prices in the Denver and Portland areas fell this year for the first time since 2012, according to Bloomberg.

And in King’s County around Seattle, home prices fell by about 3 percent per square foot, the first year-over-year decline since 2012, Redfin data show. And between January 2018 and 2019, Seattle-area sellers cut the prices on about one-sixth of homes, twice the rate of the prior 12-month period, according to Trulia.

Seattle-area home inventory in February more than doubled year over year, forcing sellers to accommodate a buyer pool suddenly replete with options, per Redfin data. During the same period, inventory spiked 82 percent in San Jose, 41 percent in Oakland and 37 percent in Portland and Denver.

Across the country last year, home inventory jumped by 6.4 percent and sales dropped by 11 percent as the national market continues to cool, according to a Re/Max report last month.

[Bloomberg]Alex Nitkin

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