Real estate

A real estate sign along South Sixth Street in Mount Vernon in February 2018 indicates the status of a sale.

Prospective home buyers in Skagit County faced fewer choices and higher prices in October compared to a year ago, according to a report released Thursday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

There were 360 total active listings in October, down 25% from a year ago, a trend present throughout the Puget Sound region, according to the listing service.

Skagit County had 1.82 months of inventory of homes for sale, a decrease from 2.67 months the previous October. A balanced market is defined as six months of inventory.

In a news release, Northwest Multiple Listing Service board member Dick Beeson said the low inventory is the “new normal.”

The sustained, lower levels of supply “drive some buyers crazy as they keep expecting to gain the upper hand,” Beeson said in the news release. “It’s not going to happen anytime soon. The market has settled into a circadian rhythm of sorts.”

There were also more buyers on the market in October.

In Skagit County, there were 231 pending sales in October compared to 207 pending sales in October 2018, according to the report.

“’Tis the season for the number of homes for sale to start dropping, and we don’t expect to see a significant influx of new inventory until spring,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate in Seattle. “That said, there are still plenty of buyers out there, so this drop in listings will lead to increased competition and will likely cause home price growth to increase modestly through the end of the year.”

From October 2018 to October 2019, the median sale price in Skagit County climbed from $346,450 to $373,750, a nearly 8% increase, according to the report.

Year-to-date sale prices in 2019 were up in Mount Vernon, Burlington and Sedro-Woolley, and down slightly in Anacortes.

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