Despite the economic downturn and disruptions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) member-brokers reported impressive improvement from April to May on some key indicators.

The volume of new listings, including single-family homes and condominiums, rose 29.2% and pending sales jumped more than 44% systemwide.

“The market has proved to be very resilient,” said Northwest Multiple Listing Service director Mike Larson. “Buyers in Pierce County stepped on the gas last month after a brief, but significant, tap of the brakes in April.”

Not surprisingly, year-over-year comparisons showed sharp declines. The number of new listings fell nearly 33%, total active listings plummeted nearly 36%, pending sales declined 13.5%, and closed sales dropped about 35%. But prices remained in positive territory, rising about 2.3% from a year ago.

“The resiliency of the market is amazing,” said Dean Rebhuhn, owner of Village Homes and Properties in Woodinville. “I didn’t think I would miss open houses until they could not happen,” he said, referring to limitations on in-person interactions, “The pandemic may be causing buyers to move farther out, wanting to get some space and a useable yard.”

Amenities such as parks and trails are also important in current homebuying decisions, Rebhuhn added. Brokers and homebuyers alike seem to be adjusting to restrictions imposed on the real estate industry because of the coronavirus pandemic.

CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, Lennox Scott said, “The local real estate market is hot, but it looks different than it traditionally does,” … adding “the constraint on available inventory makes it feel like we’re running out of homes to sell.”

Brokers added 9,871 new listings to the MLS database during May, which compares to 14,689 for the same period a year ago. At month-end, the selection included 10,357 active listings; that volume was 5,766 fewer than the total of 16,133 in May of 2019.

Scott said buyers are "eagerly waiting for each home to come on the market with an increased focus on homes in the more affordable and mid-price ranges."

Mike Grady, president and COO at Coldwell Banker Bain Houses said houses under $1 million are selling quickly, and most new listings coming to market are going pending in just a few days.

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