Washington State Home Sales Soar Past Previous Highs

sold-sign2015 may have been an interesting year for many reasons, but in the world of Washington real estate, it sure felt like the good old days.

Not since the way-back-when of 2007 had so many homes and condominiums sold in the Evergreen State. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, 2015 saw a whopping 88,331 homes changed hands last year, about  14% more sales than in the previous year. Those who have done the math say that works out to about 75,975 single family homes and 12,356 condominiums, valued at  approximately $34 billion, about 23% more than the dollar volume sold the year before. Those impressive figures make 2015 one of the best years for Washington State real estate in recent memory.

The last time this state saw real estate figures like that was in 2007, before the bubble burst and sent the country into what is not-so-affectionately known as The Great Recession. Even in 2007, the figures only added up to about 82,197 sales valued at $32.3 billion, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Furthermore, despite a ‘lower inventory’, so to speak, prices and number of sales continue to grow. In King County, the median home price was $480,000 and more than 26,600 homes sold. Compare that to a median price of  $440,000 and 26,600 homes sold, in 2014 and you’ll notice a jump of close to 10%. Snohomish and Pierce counties can top those figures with growth figures for both median home price and number of homes sold over last year at nearly 16.80% ($355,000, up from $326,360 with 11,303 homes sold) and 17.39% ($249,950, up from 230,000 with more than 13,200 homes sold) respectively.

Overall, region-wide, the growth was about 8.8% from 2014, with a median price for single family homes and condominiums at about  $310,000, up from $285,000  last year.

Numbers like this are a positive and encouraging sign for the state of the  real estate market and the country’s economy as a whole. Let’s just hope nothing comes along and tries to ‘burst our bubble’ this time.

Underwater Home Values in 2012

Next week, Zillow, the Progressive Policy Institute and the Columbia Business School will host a housing debrief exploring how public and private sectors have responded to the national housing crisis. While unemployment is notably a hot topic in the national political debates, the central focus should not ignore the issue concerning the housing crisis. According to Zillow “the percentage of Americans who have lost their job is actually exceeded by the number of Americans who have either lost significant wealth on their home, or are currently “underwater” owing more on their mortgage than their homes are worth.” Over the past 6 years, Americans have lost an estimated 7 trillion in housing wealth, a number that isn’t going unnoticed under the public eye. In the report that will be released early next week, Zillow and the team will analyze home values in the 16 battleground states; and in 15 of these states, home values have fallen by an average of 16% since 2008. The report will also go over suggestions and tips for how to tackle this issue. For an extended report, and further information on this debrief, click here.