No Slowdown Predicted For Market During Holiday Season

As we head into the holidays, real estate experts in the area predict that the Puget Sound market will not see the typical slowdowns associated with the season. Listings often drop off during this time of year, as potential sellers are more focused on holiday events, but with sustained demand for homes in our region, the next few months are going to be a great time to sell a home. The area comprising King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties saw the highest number of pending sales in a decade in October, and those high sales volumes are predicted to continue.

Though median sales prices for single-family homes are down in King County on a monthly basis, from $490,250 in September to $480,000 in October, prices are up by 7 percent over the year, according to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Similarly, Seattle’s market saw prices dip slightly from $571,000 in September to $555,000 in October, but rose by almost 8 percent over October 2014. However, some neighborhoods within Seattle saw significant monthly gains, such as Queen Anne and Magnolia, where the median price rose from $699,950 in September to nearly $800,000 in October.

Inventory continues to slide, as there were 10 percent fewer homes on the market in King County in October than in September, and 32 percent fewer than this time last year. Since inventory historically drops anyway at this time of year, the supply of homes could become especially tight, likely prompting an increase in prices. Though well-priced homes are selling quickly, overpriced homes are seeing longer stints on the market, emphasizing the need for an experienced real estate agent who can establish a listing price that will garner your home the most attention possible.

These statistics were gathered from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, but were not compiled or published by that organization.

Prices Down In King Co., But Sales Are Strong

1Home prices in the Puget Sound housing market showed signs of cooling in July, but sales volumes were on par with the blazing temperatures we saw for much of the month. While the number of closed sales of single-family homes in King County held relatively steady from June to July, there were 266 more closed sales this July than during the same month in 2014, despite there being 1,311 fewer active listings than a year ago, according to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The median sold price for a home in King County actually fell from $500,000 in June to $485,000 in July, but prices were still up 3.63 percent on a yearly basis. The median sales price for single-family homes in Seattle showed no change from June to July, holding steady at $575,000.

Though that may seem like a modest yearly increase compared to the 10 percent year-over-year price increase in June, median prices in many sub-markets in King County are growing at much higher rates. Prices in west Auburn in southwest King County grew by nearly 25 percent over the year, and Kirkland saw a yearly increase of almost 18 percent. The city of Seattle saw median prices rise by 5.9 percent to $575,000. Even the West Bellevue area made up of communities including Medina, Hunt’s Point, and Clyde Hill, which is home to the county’s highest median price of $1,537, 500, saw prices rise 14.4 percent over last July.

King County’s supply of homes actually increased slightly over the month, from 1.18 months’ worth in June to 1.22 months’ worth in July, but that is still far below the ‘balanced’ range of 4-6 months’ of inventory. Some areas, especially neighborhoods within Seattle, are scraping by with under a month’s worth of homes. The northwest Seattle neighborhoods of Ballard, Green Lake, Fremont, and surrounding areas have just half a month’s supply; and northeast Seattle is doing just slightly better with 0.6 months’ worth of homes available.

Despite the slight drop in home prices over the month, the continued lack of inventory means it is still a great time to sell. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

Price Growth In Seattle Area Slows In May

1S&P/Case-Shiller released its monthly home price index this Tuesday, and the numbers show that home prices in the Seattle metro area have reached a minor lull in the traditionally busy buying season, with the index up just 1.4 percent in May from April. Average prices stayed the same from April to May, whereas prices grew by 0.6 percent from March to April. The weaker than expected gains still reflect a 7.4 percent increase from last year, on par with year-over-year gains in April. The median price in the Seattle area is still 6 percent below the 2007 peak.

David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee, said in a statement that first-time home buyers are partially to blame. “First-time buyers provide the demand and liquidity that supports trading up by current homeowners. Without a boost in first-timers, there is less housing market activity, fewer existing homes being put on the market, and more worry about inventory,” he said.

Though the Case-Shiller index showed an overall gain of 7.4 percent from last year the most notable jump was still in the most affordable homes. There was a 10.7 percent gain in homes sold under $296,017 and only a 6.7 percent gain in houses sold over $471,764.

Data from CoreLogic shows that only 2.18 percent of homes mortgaged in King and Snohomish counties are delinquent by 90 days or more. A sharp decline from last year’s 3.26 percent delinquency rate, and the July 2012 peak of 6.68 percent.  This decline has helped to ground home prices.

Though gains have slowed for the current month, it is anticipated that the stagnation will not continue in the coming months according to Stan Humphries, Zillow Chief Economist.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

Median Home Price In King Co. Hits $500,000

1215 McGilvra NewThe median price of single-family home sold in King County has reached new heights this year. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the median price in King County has risen to $500,000, a 10.3 percent increase over the last peak of $481,000 in July 2007. In Seattle, the median is significantly higher than that, having risen 15 percent over the year to $575,000. It’s been rumored that we are in a bubble, but Alan Pope, a real estate appraiser in Redmond, says he believes we aren’t in a bubble, but that “… the balloon is growing, and I can’t tell when it’s going to stop.” In fact, the housing market is just gaining traction from taking a hit during the past recession and isn’t too far above the prices they normally would be had we missed it.

The Seattle area’s healthy job market has caught the eye of the nation and beyond. As more people settle in to Seattle and surrounding cities, the housing market has become quite competitive. With a surge of buyers and very little increase in single-family residential development, there is a shortage of houses on the market. Between March and May of this year, Seattle only had a month’s supply of single-family homes and condominiums on the market, according to a Seattle Times analysis of NWMLS data. Inventory in June of this year was well below the average three months’ supply, and the number of residential listings in King County was 23 percent lower than last year.

Other counties are seeing similar patterns. In Snohomish County, the median price of single-family homes sold was $360,125, that’s 6 percent higher than last year. Pierce County prices are up an impressive 9.5 percent, sitting at $257,000.

In Seattle, homes for sale sit on the market for an average of just eight days, compared to the national average of 28 days. When a home goes on the market, Seattle house hunters are ready to play ball, even if that means paying well above the listing price. The only true fix to relive the pressure on the current housing market is to build new houses. The National Association of Home Builders reports that there were 3,481 permits issued for new single-family homes between January and May, down 4 percent over the year. That might be due to the lack of adequate plats to build on. Allison Butcher of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties told the Times that land is becoming increasingly hard to find in Seattle.

As for condominiums, we’re seeing a bit of a trickle-down effect, as the median price in King County was $287,000, up 7 percent over last year, and up 12 percent in Snohomish County, now sitting at $239,950. However, Pierce County is down about 7 percent, at $162,500. Listings for condos aren’t climbing as quickly as single-family homes, but they are taking some of the heat as buyers look for other more available options.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

King Co. Home Prices Approaching 2007 Peak

Madrona home for sale - 3609 E Union St. - $1,395,000

Madrona home for sale – 3609 E Union St. – $1,395,000

In the booming, yet ominous year of 2007, the median price for a single-family home in King County soared to $481,000. We all know what happened next – the bubble burst, home values plunged, and homeowners were left to pick up the pieces, wondering if values would ever recover. Seven years later, the Northwest Multiple Listings Service (NWMLS) reports that the median price has clawed its way back to just a hair below the 2007 peak, and now stands at $480,000, up 11.5 percent from a year ago and up 9 percent over March.

Every submarket in King County saw prices increase on a yearly basis in April – several by double digits. Prices on the Eastside rose 6 percent to $654,650; prices in North King County also rose by 6 percent to $416,000; and both Southwest and Southeast King County saw double-digit increases of 14 and 15 percent, to $285,000 and $329,950 respectively. Home prices in Seattle are up 15 percent over the past year to a median of $552,500.

So with the words “bubble” and “peak” in the same sentence, buyers and sellers are wondering if we’re headed for deja vu. According to the NWMLS, area brokers are confident we’re not in the midst of the next bubble, saying that today’s buyers are qualified and the overbuilding that contributed to the previous bust is not an issue today. J. Lennox Scott, CEO of John L. Scott told The Seattle Times that he believes the continued price increases are the result of a strong job market, extremely low inventory (less than a month’s worth), and interest from foreign buyers.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Seattle Home Prices Up 18.9% Over Year

MadronaThe Seattle-area housing market is running full speed ahead and shows no sign of slowing down as the spring buying season progresses. With a steady stream of buyers attracted to the area’s strong job market, King County’s 1.3-month supply of homes is being far outpaced by demand, resulting in double-digit price increases over the year. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the median price for a single-family home in the city of Seattle has increased by 18.9 percent from March 2014, and now stands at $535,000. Prices for King County as a whole rose by 8.8 percent, and the median price for homes sold in March was $440,250. Condo prices in King County are also up, having risen nearly 8 percent over the year to a median of $269,600.

Potentially further complicating Seattle’s challenging home-buying market is the announcement that travel website Expedia will be moving its headquarters from Bellevue to Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood, bringing with it 3,000 employees who may choose to relocate in order to eliminate a commute from the Eastside. The current environment of low interest rates, low inventory, and strong demand, as well as rental rates that are higher than they’ve ever been, point toward a market that will be dominated by multiple-offer situations and continually rising prices in the coming months.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Home Prices Up 6% Over Year In King County

renton homeSpring has officially sprung for the Seattle-area housing market, with a now all-too-familiar story playing out: inventory is at a historic low of less than two months’ worth of supply, while strong demand for homes is fueling a continued rise in prices.

In King County, the median price for a single-family home stands at $429,900, up 6 percent from this time last year. The number of active listings is down, but at the same time, the number of pending sales in February was up more than 18 percent, demonstrating that the homes that are on the market are selling quickly. “February was a very robust month,” Gary O’Leyar, a former chairman of the MLS board said in an NWMLS press release. “If there is any real estate market slowdown, we’re not seeing it.” The city of Seattle is performing better than King County as a whole, with prices having risen 13 percent over the year to the current median of $520,000. Not helping matters is the fact that there are 18 percent fewer active listings in Seattle than there were a year ago.

Prices for condos are up nearly across the board. Snohomish County saw a dramatic increase in the median condo sales price over the last year, with the median price increasing from $174,975 in February 2014 to $240,712 in February 2015. Prices in King County increased just slightly from $245,000 to $257,000, but prices for condos in Downtown Seattle actually decreased by 2 percent over the year. Pierce County saw a nearly 52 percent jump, but the Puget Sound Business Journal suggests that number could be skewed because it is based on only 40 sales.

All of these numbers add up to a strong sellers’ market in the region, so if you are interested in selling – or buying!- a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

‘Best September In At Least 10 Years’ For King Co. Home Prices

housesAfter a sluggish summer for home price gains in King County, the median price for a single-family home rose to $460,000 in September, almost 10 percent higher than a year ago and 5.3 percent higher than August’s median price, according to an article in Tuesday’s Seattle Times. The Times says that those numbers, pulled from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, point to the best September for home prices in at least 10 years.

The city of Seattle performed the best of all the sub-markets in King County in September, with the median price having risen to $517,000, 12 percent higher than September 2013. While the median price on the Eastside was higher than Seattle’s at $605,000, yearly appreciation was slower at only 6.3 percent. Southwest King County, which includes Burien, Tukwila, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, Federal Way, and West Kent, continues to be the most affordable sub-market with a median price of $267,250, though that is still up 6.7 percent from September 2013.

Despite the price increase over the past year, the number of closed sales has actually decreased in every sub-market in King County except Seattle, which still only saw one more sale in September 2014 (643) than in September 2013 (642). North King County saw the biggest decrease in closed sales, having dropped 17 percent from September 2013. Agents quoted in the article say this could be the result of buyers’ fatigue after months of low inventory sparking bidding wars and extreme price increases.

For more information on Seattle-area real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

First Drop In Median Home Price In Six Months Came In August

housingAfter a blockbuster July when we saw the median price for a single-family home in Seattle rise to $543,500, topping the market’s 2007 peak, the median price in August came a little closer to earth, showing its first monthly decline in six months. The median price dropped 8 percent from July to August, and now stands at $499,950, according to The Seattle Times.

But despite slowing monthly growth, yearly appreciation for median home prices in Seattle still stands at a healthy 9.4 percent, the highest rate among the sub-markets in King County. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service says the biggest challenge currently facing buyers throughout Western Washington is inventory, as has been the case for the past several months. They report that although inventory has risen slightly since this time last year, the number of listings added in August was the lowest since April, and King County has the tightest inventory with only two months’ supply available.

The NWMLS uses the word “stability” to describe the market in Western Washington as a whole, and says we should continue to see “moderated growth” in the coming months. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

Home Price Growth In Seattle Area Appears To Be Slowing

housingThough it may not appear so, considering the seemingly sky-high prices for homes in the Seattle area, the growth in average price for existing single-family homes in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties seems to have leveled out in late spring. The average price grew by just 1.4 percent from April to May, compared to a 2.3 percent increase from March to April, according to the S&P/Case Shiller 20-City Index released today.

Though price growth is slowing in the short term, average prices in May for single-family homes in the Seattle area were still up 9.3 percent from May 2013, and in many Seattle-area neighborhoods, median prices are nearing their pre-crash highs. In King County as a whole, the median price was $430,000 for the first six months of this year, just 5 percent below the 2007 peak. According to this article in The Seattle Times, the Seattle market is 13 percent below its 2007 peak.

In the same article, Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, says that all of these numbers point to a normalizing housing market, but that there is a wide variation among markets and submarkets, such as lower-priced homes appreciating at a higher rate than more expensive homes.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.