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Where are all the homes for sale? (sponsored story)

Posted by Mike on February 19th, 2013

(This is a sponsored story written by John Madrid, Managing Broker with John L. Scott Real Estate).

“A house, a house, my kingdom for a house”. If you are in the market for a new home you can probably empathize with Shakespeare’s King Richard III.  Single-family homes, townhomes, and even condos are all in short supply throughout most the city.

For Northeast Seattle (including Maple Leaf, University, Wedgwood, View Ridge, and Laurelhurst) there is now less than a 1 month supply of single-family home inventory which is definitely favoring home sellers with the result that homes are really hard to come by.  We will continue to see more pre-inspections, multiple offers, and bidding wars on the fewer listings hitting the market.

Why the shortage of homes for sale?  First, some home owners simply can’t sell since they have negative equity (they owe more than their home would sell for). Second, are home owners who can’t find a new home to upsize or downsize into that would allow them to put their existing home on the market.  Third is that some home owners are either unaware of the improved market for sellers or they are content to stay in their current home rather than over extend themselves. Fourth, are owners betting on continued prices gains over the coming months and years. A final factor has been the significant slowdown in new construction, up until last year, that typically helps alleviate the demand for more housing stock.

In addition to a reduced supply, demand has picked up with the influx of new hires (Amazon, Microsoft, etc). There is also a general belief that home prices and interest rates have only one direction to move and that is up.   Many renters have concluded that, with big jumps in rent, buying a home may be the wiser long term investment especially if they are able to lock in these historically low interest rates.

Home prices will continue to rise until there is more of supply/demand equilibrium.  If you are looking for a home there are a couple potential silver linings over the coming weeks and months. First, is that we are entering the historically seasonal high point for new inventory. Second, is that interest rates aren’t expected to move significantly upward until the end of the year at the earliest.

More stats on other Seattle neighborhoods can be found at

Tip:  The fewer contingences (i.e. finance, inspection) a home buyer has, the more attractive they are to a home seller, especially in multiple offer situations.    Believe it or not, buyer “love letters” to sellers can swing things into a buyer’s favor, just don’t overdo it.

John Madrid is a Managing Broker with John L. Scott Real Estate – University Village and is a 2005-2012 Seattle Magazine “Five Star” Agent. His clients include both home buyers and sellers. He can be reached at 206-498-1880, or

Statistics are deemed reliable but are not guaranteed.  All information should be verified to the users own satisfaction.

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4 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 MapleLeafBob // Feb 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    It’s a good thing that inventory is down and driving prices and multiple offer scenarios up. The problem is the true root cause of why inventory is down, which is that prices have not come back enough for many people to sell and actually break even or make a little something. So selling is not worth it. Hopefully things will continue to increase though.

  • 2 John Scott Litterers // Feb 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Is this the same moron that passes out flyers throughout the neighborhood tossing them over every fence and leaving gates open?

    At least get someone smart enough to realize that a corner house is the same house from both streets.

  • 3 Dan // Feb 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Ha, I thought I was the only one with a corner house that gets flyers, phonebooks, etc. twice, one on my doorstep and another at my driveway gate around the corner. The Real Estate guys never do it though.

  • 4 Anonymous // Mar 4, 2013 at 1:18 am

    That agent should get his vision checked. I see houses for sale all the time in Maple Leaf. No one can afford to live here anymore. Well, except the people on our street with circular driveways and pools. Seriously though, there’s a house or two for sale on 88th between 5th and Roosevelt. There’s a house for sale on the street directly South of the park where an officer with the SPD owns a home. Move there!