While interest rates remain high, an increase in inventory and closed sales transactions signal that buyers and sellers are adjusting

Market Recap

The real estate market has continued to pick up in accordance with typical seasonal patterns, with further increases in activity expected as we move fully into the summer months. The overall number of homes sold and the median sales price of those homes increased year-over-year. Interest rates have only slightly decreased over the past month, by 0.14 percentage points, to 7.03%. This means that prospective buyers’ purchasing power and prospective sellers’ willingness to give up their low interest rate mortgages continues to be constrained. However, for-sale inventory levels have increased dramatically year-over-year, which should help to stabilize home prices.

May 2024 Key Takeaways

  • Washington counties covered by NWMLS saw an overall increase of 7% in the median price of sold homes. The median sale price increased in 17 out of 26 counties, decreased in eight counties, and remained unchanged in one county (Grant) relative to May 2023.*
  • The three counties with the highest median sale prices were King ($890,000), Snohomish ($785,000) and San Juan ($744,500). The three counties with the lowest median sale prices were Okanogan ($302,000), Columbia ($275,000) and Ferry ($171,500).
  • Washington counties covered by NWMLS saw an overall increase of 6% in the number of closed sales transactions compared to May 2023. Twelve of the 26 counties covered by NWMLS in Washington saw an increase in the number of homes sold year over year, while 13 saw a decrease. Cowlitz county’s year-over year sales were unchanged.*
  • The number of homes on the market increased throughout Washington with 24 out of 26 counties seeing a year-over-year increase. Overall, there was a 41% increase in active property listings in Washington counties covered by NWMLS.
  • The total number of condominium units for sale has increased by 70% year-over-year, with 2,071 actively listed units at the end of May. The median sales price for the 942 condominiums sold during May 2024 was $529,475, an increase of 11.5% year over year.

*Unchanged refers to a less than 0.5% change in median price or transaction volume.

Consumer and Broker Activity

NWMLS also provided insights into consumer activities during the month of May 2024:

  • The total number of property showings scheduled through NWMLS-provided software increased by 5% from April 2024 (122,975 showings) to May 2024 (128,924 showings).
  • Keyboxes located at listed properties were accessed 163,414 times in May 2024, a 7% increase from activity in April 2024 when they were accessed 152,999 times.
  • Brokers seeking to further assist consumers as they navigate the market are making special note of properties that are eligible for the Down Payment Resource (DPR) program offered by NWMLS. In May 2024, there were 15,155 listed properties that were eligible for this program.

“With the 30-year fixed mortgage rate currently at 7.03% as of late May 2024, the purchasing power of prospective buyers remains constrained relative to a few years ago,” said Steven Bourassa, Director, Washington Center for Real Estate Research. “Year-over-year inventory levels have improved dramatically relative to May 2023, increasing by 41%. The number of year-over-year closed sales transactions saw a 6% increase, signaling that buyers and sellers are beginning to adjust to the higher interest rate environment. Higher levels of for-sale inventory should have an impact in stabilizing price levels over the summer months.”


*Information derived from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service