Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner recently released his anticipated quarterly update for Q1 of 2021 in Western Washington. View the report here.
In late 2020, the PNW had steadily increased the number of recovered jobs that were lost due to COVID-19. However, since the beginning of this year, the rate of employment has leveled off. By the end of February, the Western Washington region had 165,000 jobs that were lost due to the pandemic. The number of positions that have been left unfilled outweighs the 132,000 jobs that have been recovered. Pierce County (amongst others in the PNW) recently fell back into Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery. We can expect a greater number of job loss as we head into the second quarter of the year. The lowest rate of unemployment is in King County (5.3%) and the highest is in Grays Harbor County (9.2%).
Although Grays Harbor County has the highest unemployment rate in the region, they also had the strongest price growth (a 50.1% increase!) when compared to Q1 of 2020. How does this add up? Gardner suggests because folks are still able to work remotely, many homebuyers are shopping in more affordable areas like Grays Harbor, Mason, and Lewis Counties. The New York Times published an article earlier this month on “metros with the biggest change in net in-migration.” Aberdeen, WA of Grays Harbor County made the list at #9 out of ten metro cities across the country. All in all, home price growth in the PNW continues to trend well above the long-term average. Home prices are up (on average) 21.3% higher when compared the Q1 quarterly update in 2020.
SELLERS MARKET vs. BUYERS MARKET?
Gardner wraps up his quarterly report by reflecting on the housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates and larger economic factors. In conclusion, it remains as a sellers market and demand continues to increase in our region with no sign of slowing down soon. On average, it took 25 days to sell a home in Western Washington. However, in many popular neighborhoods (like North Tacoma) it took far less than 25 days to sell. Thurston, Snohomish and Pierce Counties had the tightest markets, averaging 15-16 days on the market.