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December 2016 Seattle Area Housing Report

Home buyer frustration continues due to limited selection
and ongoing increases in prices, interest rates

KIRKLAND, Washington (Jan. 5, 2017) – Like many other months of 2016, December was frustrating for buyers across Washington state as they encountered depleted inventory and rising prices. Post-election hikes in interest rates – with more on the horizon — added to would-be homeowners’ worries.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service statistics for December show year-over-year drops in new listings, but gains in pending sales, closed sales and prices. Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) in the four county Puget Sound region reached their highest level since 2005.

“The data just keep telling the same story – low inventory and increasing prices,” remarked Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain. “As one of our brokers put it, ‘Sellers received an awesome Christmas gift in December, but buyers, only a lump of coal.’”

Brokers added 4,217 new listings to the inventory during December to bring the supply up to 10,571 listings. The volume of new listings surpassed the year-ago figure of 4,041, but supply still fell, dropping to only 1.4 months for the Northwest MLS market area covering 23 counties. Both King and Snohomish counties reported less than a month of inventory.

Robert Wasser, owner/broker at Prospera Real Estate in Seattle, said his analysis of the MLS data
indicates the supply of single family homes for sale in King County just hit a post-recession low. “The only other time supply fell below one month was around this same time a year ago,” noted Wasser, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors.

At month end, MLS figures show inventory (10,571 listings) was nearly 15.6 percent below year-ago levels (12,522 listings), with about 90 percent of the selection being single family homes.

Seventeen of the 23 counties in the MLS report had double-digit drops in active listings at the end of last month compared to December 2015.

Northwest MLS members reported 6,401 pending sales during December, up from 5,970 for the same month a year ago for a year-over-year gain of 7.2 percent.

“The housing market remains frenzy hot on a seasonal basis,” exclaimed J. Lennox Scott. Noting sales activity was substantially higher than the number of new listings, he said such conditions “continue to foster a competitive market where home buyers are just waiting for the next new listing to come on the market.”

Commenting on strong sales in the Central Puget Sound region, Scott noted King County recorded the biggest year-over-year jump in pending sales of single family homes, surging nearly 11.3 percent, well ahead of Kitsap (up 4.5 percent), Pierce (up 4 percent) and Snohomish (up 3.2 percent).

“Buyers pursued homes aggressively all through November and December with little to no slowdown amid fears of rising interest rates and worsening inventory levels,” said MLS director George Moorhead. “Inventory levels have dropped to their lowest level, which makes buyer frenzy even more intense as prices approach double-digit appreciation,” he added. Moorhead, the designated broker at Bentley Properties, calculates buyers have lost $37,000 in buying power due to interest rate increases. He likens the situation to having two cars, “one going forward, and one going in reverse. The gap is widening too fast for some buyers.”

Closed sales also finished on a strong note with brokers reporting 7,575 completed transactions during December. That’s up more than 6.8 percent from a year ago when members notched 7,091 closed sales.

Prices area-wide also continued trending upward, rising nearly 9.2 percent from a year ago. The overall median price for single family homes and condominiums that sold during December was $343,950; a year ago it was $315,000.

King County prices jumped 12.2 percent, from $450,000 in December 2015 to $505,000 for last month’s sales. For single family homes (excluding condominiums) the median price for December’s sales was $550,000, unchanged from October and November. Prices peaked this year in King County in June, reaching $573,522.

Condo sales slowed compared to a year ago, due at least in part to a sharp drop in inventory (down more than 19 percent). Pending sales were essentially flat (up 0.73 percent). Closed sales for December slipped nearly 6 percent, while prices on last month’s completed sales of condos rose 9.8 percent. The median price on last month’s closed sales of condos was $280,000. Condo prices in King County jumped more than 12 percent, from $279,975 a year ago to last month’s sales price of $314,000.

“Looking ahead to 2017, the Seattle market will continue to perform well, even with the expected interest rate increase,” stated OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. The regional economy is in full stride, he noted, adding, “This will continue to create increased demand for housing across the board. Price growth should start to cool a little as inventory levels rise modestly, but overall, 2017 should be another banner year for the housing market.”

Consumers should expect prices to continue edging upward, suggested Moorhead. “NAR indicates we are 70,000 units short of meeting the housing needs in the Puget Sound area. Builders are just flat out running out of urban land to work with,” he said. Moorhead believes rising costs for construction labor are the driving force for price increases. Builder confidence continues to grow, reaching its highest levels since 2005, he noted, but added, “Naturally, some trepidation is heard as some feel this level of growth in the market is completely unsustainable.”

Grady believes the pattern of low inventory and increasing prices will continue. “We believe it is a
predictor for what to expect throughout 2017,” he commented. “There’s simply not enough new
construction to fill the needs of new employees being hired both locally and new to the state. The key is employment,” Grady continued, saying “There’s no reason to think that a new administration will cause employment to slow down; rather, it’s more likely we’ll see it increase in the Puget Sound region so we’re off to another strong start in 2017,” he stated.

View the full press release

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 member offices includes more than 25,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

 

View the full December 2016 Report by neighborhood

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
CONDOS
Downtown Seattle
Downtown Bellevue

MONTHLY SNAPSHOT

Click on each report below to view an overview of the regional data:

SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES
Seattle Metro
Eastside
King County
Mercer Island
CONDOS
Seattle Metro
Eastside
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Seattle Metro
Eastside

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.


Posted on January 6, 2017 at 5:04 pm
Julie Barrows | Posted in Monthly Reports, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

January 6th Seattle Area Housing Report

A frozen start to our new year didn’t seem to dampen home sales.

Click here to to view the complete report for all 16 MLS areas

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
Downtown Seattle Condos
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
Downtown Bellevue Condos

 

Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island | 2737 77th Ave SE | Mercer Island, WA 98040
o: (206) 232-0446 | e: mercerisland@windermere.com | w: windermeremercerisland.com

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.


Posted on January 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm
Julie Barrows | Posted in Real Estate, Weekly Stats by Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

December 30th Seattle Area Housing Report

A very quiet week as we head into the the New Year with school still out on a 2-week winter break throughout the region. See the links below to view more detail for each area.

Click here to to view the complete report for all 16 MLS areas

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
Downtown Seattle Condos
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
Downtown Bellevue Condos

 

Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island | 2737 77th Ave SE | Mercer Island, WA 98040
o: (206) 232-0446 | e: mercerisland@windermere.com | w: windermeremercerisland.com

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.


Posted on December 30, 2016 at 8:03 pm
Julie Barrows | Posted in Real Estate, Weekly Stats by Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

December 23rd Seattle Area Housing Report

A very quiet week as we head into the Christmas holiday and school is on a 2-week winter break throughout the region.

Click here to to view the complete report for all 16 MLS areas

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
Downtown Seattle Condos
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
Downtown Bellevue Condos

 

Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island | 2737 77th Ave SE | Mercer Island, WA 98040
o: (206) 232-0446 | e: mercerisland@windermere.com | w: windermeremercerisland.com

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.


Posted on December 23, 2016 at 10:59 pm
Julie Barrows | Posted in Real Estate, Weekly Stats by Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

December 16th Seattle Area Housing Report

Greater activity than typical this week but seeing a noticeable seasonal slow down and we head into the holidays.  

Click here to to view the complete report for all 16 MLS areas

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
Downtown Seattle Condos
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
Downtown Bellevue Condos

 

Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island | 2737 77th Ave SE | Mercer Island, WA 98040
o: (206) 232-0446 | e: mercerisland@windermere.com | w: windermeremercerisland.com

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.


Posted on December 16, 2016 at 10:59 am
Julie Barrows | Posted in Real Estate, Weekly Stats by Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Timing the market right can bring you thousands when it's time to sell

windermere0017-rEver notice how one home on your street sells well above asking price with a line of buyers out the door and an identical home comes on a month later and sits on the market for two weeks before finally selling at a reduced price?

 
It’s not always about the house. So often, it’s about timing the market well.

Every. Day. Counts.
In a world where potential buyers know how long you’ve been on the market down to the minute, being on the market a nanosecond longer than expected can be painful for any seller, financially and otherwise. Statistically, prices seem to peak around Day 7 and begin to slide downhill after Day 10.

How to time the market in a nutshell.
Avoid coming to market during major holiday weeks or when school is on break. Potential buyers take vacation too—and the fewer buyers out there looking in those precious early days, the lower the likelihood you’ll sell in the first 10 days. Look to come on the market a few days after typical vacations are over to allow buyers to re-engage in the search process.

Avoid coming to market when a similar house in your neighborhood has just listed and not yet sold. The laws of supply and demand would dictate that when supply appears abundant, demand diminishes—and the days tick on by. Even if you are by far the better house and at a better price, you might still be hurt by the curiosity around why everyone is selling now.

Avoid coming to market during bad weather or national events. Like coming on market right smack in the middle of Spring Break, listing when everyone’s attention is on something other than home shopping is likely to miss the mark big time. Even if you were all set to list, better to take a deep breath and wait until the storm passes.

Do come to market when you notice an absence of great listings for sale in your price range and neighborhood. Buyers will likely feel that void too and be chomping at the bit for the next great home to come along. The chances of a perfect match between a solid buyer and a reasonable seller are best in this zone.

Final thoughts.
Look at the holiday calendar and local school district calendars to guide you toward best weeks to come to market. Don’t forget to check in big political and sporting event dates too.

The best day to come to market seems to be Thursday. Often listing brokers arrange showings and open houses on Thursday and Friday evenings and throughout the weekend. The best day to review offers is Tuesday (beating out Monday by only a slim margin). This gives buyers and their brokers ample time to see your home, do due diligence like permit research, a home inspection, and a sewer scope—and get their financial documentation together—before they prepare an offer.

Of course, an outstanding listing broker can help you navigate these waters and chose the most favorable date to bring your home to market.


Posted on December 12, 2016 at 1:11 pm
Julie Barrows | Posted in Neighborhood Info, News, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

December 9th Seattle Area Housing Report

Rising interest rates have spurred many buyers into action as concern of continued increases in interest rates looms. Sales velocity was up in most local markets this week with the exception of West Bellevue and Renton. See the links below to view more detail for each area.

Click here to to view the complete report for all 16 MLS areas

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
Downtown Seattle Condos
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
Downtown Bellevue Condos

 

Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island | 2737 77th Ave SE | Mercer Island, WA 98040
o: (206) 232-0446 | e: mercerisland@windermere.com | w: windermeremercerisland.com

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.


Posted on December 9, 2016 at 2:53 pm
Julie Barrows | Posted in Real Estate, Weekly Stats by Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

November 2016 Seattle Area Housing Report

Real estate brokers expect no holiday breather
as sales stay strong and supplies remain low

KIRKLAND, Washington (Dec. 5, 2016) – Pending sales of homes hit an all-time high for the month of November according to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The report covering 23 counties around Washington state also shows the number of new listings added during the month plunged to the lowest level in 11 months, prompting MLS leaders to predict a busy winter for residential real estate as buyers compete for the smallest inventory since March.

“Last year’s holiday season ended up being the best time to sell a home around King County as sellers took the winter months off, but buyers remained persistent. The supply of homes for sale hit a post-recession low, and so far, this year is mirroring last winter’s trends,” remarked Northwest MLS director Robert Wasser, owner/broker at Prospera Real Estate in Seattle.

Figures for November show a 13.2 percent drop in inventory of single family homes and condominiums, a 9.4 percent gain in pending sales, a 31.3 percent spike in closed sales, and an 11 percent increase in prices compared to the same month a year ago.
At month-end, there was only 1.69 months of supply system-wide, believed to be a new low. For the 4-county Puget Sound region there is only 1.22 months of supply, with King County having the lowest level at under a month (0.96).

Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) totaled 8,217, and eclipsed the number of new listings (5,779) by 2,438 units. That imbalance depleted total inventory, dropping the number of active listings to 13,303, down 13.2 percent from a year ago.
“November’s pending sales for the four-county area of King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap were the highest since 2005. There were 44 percent more pendings than new listings,” noted J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, who described market activity as a mini power surge. “Every time interest rates increase 0.5 percent we see these surges because buyers become anxious about increasing rates – but on a historical basis rates are still amazing,” he remarked.

John Deely, vice chairman of the Northwest MLS board, said the Seattle residential real estate market is not taking time off for an end-of-year breather. “The seemingly inexhaustible supply of ready, willing and able buyers continues to purchase available inventory. This imbalance in supply and demand continues to fuel multiple offers and drive prices upward,” said Deely, the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle. Well-paying jobs in the tech sector are fueling demand, with “the increase in equity and tick up in interest rates enticing more sellers to the market.”

View the full press release

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 member offices includes more than 25,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

 

View the full November 2016 Report by neighborhood

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
CONDOS
Downtown Seattle
Downtown Bellevue

MONTHLY SNAPSHOT

Click on each report below to view an overview of the regional data:

SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES
Seattle Metro
Eastside
King County
Mercer Island
CONDOS
Seattle Metro
Eastside
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Seattle Metro
Eastside

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.


Posted on December 9, 2016 at 10:30 am
Julie Barrows | Posted in Monthly Reports, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

December 2nd Seattle Area Housing Report

Sales are seasonally down in all areas this week with the exception of West Bellevue, Redmond, and Renton, which saw sales flat but not up. Bucking the trend, the number of homes for sale increased in North Seattle. 

Click here to to view the complete report for all 16 MLS areas

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
CONDOS
Downtown Seattle
Downtown Bellevue
Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island | 2737 77th Ave SE | Mercer Island, WA 98040
o: (206) 232-0446 | e: mercerisland@windermere.com | w: windermeremercerisland.com
© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 3:23 pm
Julie Barrows | Posted in Real Estate, Weekly Stats by Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

November 18th Seattle Area Housing Report

Rainy days and post-election doldrums have contributed to our typical seasonal slowdown with sales activity down in most neighborhoods. East Bellevue, East Lake Sammamish, Redmond, Woodinville, and North Seattle are the only areas that bucked the trend with an increase in sales this week. 

Click here to to view the complete report for all 16 MLS areas

Individual Reports

SEATTLE
West Seattle
South Seattle
Central Seattle
Queen Anne
Ballard/Greenlake
North Seattle
EASTSIDE
South Bellevue
Mercer Island
West Bellevue
East Bellevue
East Lk Sammamish
Redmond
Kirkland
Woodinville
Renton Highlands
CONDOS
Downtown Seattle
Downtown Bellevue
Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island | 2737 77th Ave SE | Mercer Island, WA 98040
o: (206) 232-0446 | e: mercerisland@windermere.com | w: windermeremercerisland.com
© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

Posted on November 18, 2016 at 2:17 pm
Julie Barrows | Posted in Real Estate, Weekly Stats by Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,