This email directly from a new client of ours speaks to a very common question and concern we are hearing regarding the Seattle condo market.

“Hey Marco, I'm still on the fence, but am leaning towards staying put until later this year. The lack of inventory is a concern, as I don't want to be 'homeless' for an extended period.”

Great question and valid concern “Mr. If I sell, will I find a new place?”

It’s no secret we don’t have a lot of inventory in Seattle condos right now.  This presents an opportunity and a challenge to those condo owners who would like to move up and sell their current condo and purchase something different.  In this client’s situation, he is a young professional that has some equity in his condo and would like to take advantage of lower mortgage rates and buy while prices are still affordable (compared to pre-recession prices). However, the concern is that with hardly any options on the market, can he find something he likes.

In general, my advice is have some confidence in the fact that new inventory will be coming on the market.  Many people are in the same situation, and if we can in affect, break the log jam of on the fence sellers, we will in turn, see more options for buyers to choose from.

We turn to a couple graphics from the stats and data team at Windermere to illustrate the inventory levels here in the area month over month from 2008-2009 and 2011-2012  (click on the images below to make them larger).Months Supply Map 12.08 to 12.09
                                                                     (Click to see larger image)
Months Supply Map 12.11 to 12.12

In the report published back in 2008 (see top graphic) you’ll see that most of the Puget Sound region, including the downtown Seattle area, was in a buyer’s market with more than 6 months of available inventory (green). Then in 2009 through 2011 you start to see a shift to more areas becoming balanced (yellow).

And recently, at year end of 2012, you will see that all but two areas are red indicating a wide spread seller’s market with less than 3 months of inventory available for buyers to choose from (for reference: Downtown Seattle and South Lake Union are in area 701, with Queen Anne/Magnolia being 700, and Capitol Hill being area 390).

What this all means to me is that if you are considering selling, and might be on the fence, it could be a good time to do so this year as many low interest rate and affordable price hungry buyers are looking.  Everyone’s situation is different and not everyone can afford to sell, but as long as you are able to be a realistic seller and are willing to list at an appropriate market value, this could be a good window. And although inventory is low when you go to buy, we have been able to get all of our buyers who have been looking this last year into a property. So it isn’t impossible, it just takes being patient and then ready to move when you see the right place. And remember, when you do find the right place to buy you are also getting those low interest rates and affordable prices on the flip side.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle Condos and Downtown Seattle Condos exclusively for buyers and sellers.