Washington state predicts a cooling market

by Ryan Smith07 Oct 2015
Home sales may be hot in much of the U.S., but real estate experts in at least one area say it isn’t sustainable.

Home sales in western Washington state are expected to slow through the rest of 2015 and into 2016. The expected slowdown is mostly due to tight inventory, new mortgage-closing rules and concerns over affordability, according to a report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“We simply can’t sustain double-digit increases in sales when inventory levels continue to drop every month,” said O.B. Jacobi, president of Windemere real estate.

Also impacting the sales environment are the new TILA-RESPA rules on mortgage closings, according to Northwest MLS director Darin Stenvers.

“With the introduction of the new TRID banking and closing disclosure requirements, we will see longer closing timeframes for the foreseeable future,” Stenvers said. “This will lead to a slowdown in closings and thus may slow the market until early or mid-2016.”

Right now, however, the market is still hot. Closed sales through the first nine months of 2015 are running 16.6% ahead of the same period last year, with median prices up by 9.2%, according to Northwest MLS.