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  • Seattle homebuyers no longer have to rush as housing market stalls

Seattle’s housing market finished 2022 with a chill, as fewer people bought homes and prices stalled in one of America’s fastest–cooling markets.

Buyers and sellers signed fewer deals across the Seattle area in December, with a drop ranging between 20% and 35% compared to the same month a year earlier. The number of transactions was also down 30% to 40% from December 2019, before the pandemic and rock-bottom interest rates fueled a home sales boom that finally began to slow this past summer.

Around the region, home prices are still up from pre-pandemic levels, but have begun to decline or level off compared to this time last year. 

The median King County home price was $825,000 in December, up about 2% from a year ago, according to new data released Friday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The Snohomish County median price of $700,000 was flat, and the Pierce County median price of $504,500 was down 3%. In Kitsap County, the median home sold for $497,777, flat year over year. Those figures include single family homes and townhomes.

The result of the slower market for buyers who are still trying to make a deal? They are no longer “making a faster decision on buying a house than you would [when buying] a pair of shoes,” said Windermere agent Cristina Ross. 

And for sellers? They “have to work with those buyers,” said Tacoma-based Ross.

According to Ross and other local agents, sellers have had to be more accommodating as the market has shifted. They put more effort in sprucing up their homes before listing, they slash their prices when homes linger on the market and they sometimes help buyers cover the cost of getting a lower rate from their lender. Those tactics are a marked change from earlier days of the pandemic, when sellers could count on buyers scrambling to quickly submit offers, often for more than the list price.

“We’re going back to more give and take on both ends,” Ross said.

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