Homebuyers Return as Pending Sales Rebound in Seattle, Silicon Valley and Boston

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Pending sales spiked 15% in the city of Seattle in January, up 8% in San Jose, Silicon Valley’s central city.

The market cooldown may already be over in Seattle, San Jose and Boston. Pending sales—the count of homes that went under contract during the month—were up 4 to 15 percent in January from a year earlier in the three cities. Closed sales are still falling year over year in each city, but the early indicator of pending sales suggests that a turning point for closed sales is likely on the near horizon.

“The second half of 2018 was frustrating for sellers who listed just as the market began to cool,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Since then, more sellers have dropped their prices and as a result more homes are going off the market. Buyers who are still taking the wait-and-see approach, knowing the market is shifting in their favor, may want to take another look at the homes they favorited in the fall. We’re seeing this moment before the spring season arrives as an opportunity to get a home that’s been on the market for a few months under contract for much less than its original list price.”

January 2019 Sales Stats in Key Cities

  • Seattle: Closed sales down 8% from January 2018, pending sales up 15%
  • San Jose: Closed sales down 1% from January 2018, pending sales up 8%
  • Boston: Closed sales down 21% from January 2018, pending sales up 4%

In the city of Seattle January saw the first increase in pending sales since November 2017 and the largest since December 2016.

Based on the movement in the early indicator of pending sales and an uptick in home touring activity observed by Redfin agents, it’s likely that we will see closed sales in these cities begin to climb year over year very soon.

“In the last month we’ve seen more buyers touring our homes for sale and we’re receiving more offers, especially on those that have been on the market for a while,” said Seattle Redfin agent David Palmer. “I don’t think this year will be as crazy as the last five were, but things are already picking back up. Even as buyers return, home sellers should expect to negotiate more than they have in the past few years. The days of buyers waiving all contingencies are behind us.”

City of Seattle Year Over Year Change in Home Sales

In the city of San Jose, the rebound actually started back in October, when year-over-year growth in pending sales spiked to its highest level since September 2015. In January the city saw 8 percent more pending sales than a year earlier.

City of San Jose Year Over Year Change in Home Sales

Boston didn’t cool down as much as the more volatile West Coast markets last year, but the city’s pending sales were down annually through the last half of 2018 as well. As of January, pending sales in Boston were up 4 percent, even as closed sales were down 21 percent.

City of Boston Year Over Year Change in Home Sales
Published on February 26th, 2019
Updated on July 15th, 2019

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tim-ellisredfin-com

Senior Data Journalist / Real Estate Analyst

Tim Ellis has been analyzing the real estate market since 2005, and worked at Redfin as a housing market analyst from 2010 through 2013 and again starting in 2018. In his free time, he runs the independently-operated Seattle-area real estate website Seattle Bubble, and produces the improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our Why Redfin page.

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