Limited Supply Fuels Appreciation... For Now

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I have been writing for months now about the lack of supply in our market. As a result of the limited supply the market made a radical shift around this time last year from a being a buyers’ market to being a sellers’ market. Currently it is not uncommon for us to receive multiple offers on our homes, or for them to sell over our original list price. This begs the question, how long can this last?
Inman reports that homebuilders are beginning to kick it up a notch and build more homes in response to the lack of supply, and yet 90% of home sales in the U.S. are existing home sales, or re-sales. It is my belief that, in Seattle, the market will continue its heated rate of appreciation fueled by the supply constraints; however it will slowly taper off as home values continue to climb. When existing homeowners begin to realize greater equity, they will begin to have the ability to sell their home and use the proceeds to buy a better home. As more and more homeowners contemplate selling and begin to take action, the lack of supply will gradually disappear and supply and demand will equilibrate. When that comes to pass home appreciation rates will level off and normalize.

Given that Seattle has an unemployment rate under 6% it is hard to say just when supply and demand will come into balance. This is still one heck of a desirable town to live in and it seems like the majority of our homebuyers are coming from out of town for job related reasons. As the local unemployment rate continues its decline toward full employment, home values will continue to rise fueled by more demand than supply. Given this influx of homebuyers into the area we could be realizing an appreciation trend line that will outpace the rest of the country for months to come.