Nov08(blog)2 November numbers are in. Compared to last year, sales in all major Seattle neighborhoods were lower in November 2008 than they were in November 2007. The best performers were Belltown/Downtown with 27 sales in November 2008 versus 29 sales in November 2007 (just 7% off). This is largely due to closings occuring for Gallery homes which contributed close to 50% of the closed sales.  

Median prices looked alright compared to November 2007. Some neighborhoods like West and North Seattle were actually up (5% higher in both). Belltown/Downtown was almost flat, just 4% off of last year's median price. Queen Anne / Lake Union / Magnolia had the biggest price declines, down ~14% versus the same time last year.  

Contrary to what you might expect in what is a buyer's market, Seattle's inventory of property on the market seems to be contracting in many neighborhoods. Belltown, Queen Anne / Lake Union / Magnolia, Capitol Hill, and Ballard / Green Lake all had fewer properties for sale than they did in November 2007 with Belltown / Downtown over 12% down in terms of listings on MLS for buyers to choose from.  

Overall, I was expecting sales and median prices to be much lower than a year ago and a lot more inventory sitting on the market versus November 2007. Perhaps we're seeing the market trying to find a bottom and owners putting off their moves / keeping their tenants since they know now is not a great time to list their properties.

I'm sure some will have a more bearish interpretation but I find cause for a tiny patch of cautious optimism when I see numbers suggesting relatively flat (not spiralling) year-over-year sales & prices and inventory contraction in Belltown / Downtown.