Market activity causing multiple offers.

Growth in 2011The Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) reported today that we are starting to a see something that had all but vanished in recent months: multiple offers. This is something I have experienced first-hand with buyers recently as well.

Several directors of Northwest Multiple Listing Service noted they are encountering more bidding wars in certain neighborhoods and price ranges, even though the latest figures show fewer sales and lower prices than a year ago. Shrinking inventory is spurring activity, with some brokers reporting a shortage of good listings and signs of normality in the marketplace.

It's also worth noting that this activity comes despite the fact that there is no more federal tax credit propping up the market like there was a year ago. Total inventory is also down 13% from the same month a year ago, setting the stage for more competition between buyers for the better listings.

I spoke with a Project Manager at a high-end remodeling company yesterday who told me, “We are slammed! Every time I finish a job I have two more.” And a quick look at the City of Seattle's Department of Planning and Development website shows a 9 week wait just to get an appointment to apply for a new construction building permit.

No one knows if this is going to be a continuing trend. And everyone is cautious after years of pollyannish predictions. But this is good news and it feels like optimism and buyer confidence is in the air. I'd rather see more homes sold than lots of multiple offers, which makes it frustrating for buyers. But let's hope the optimism sticks.