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2016 Real Estate Year in Review for Seattle, Mercer Island and the Eastside

YEAR END 2016 REVIEWS:

Click to view annual market reports for Mercer IslandSeattle and The Eastside. Published January 2017

 

WATERFRONT ANNUAL REPORT:

Click to view the year end waterfront report for Mercer Island, Seattle and the Greater Eastside. Published January 2017

 

CONDO ANNUAL REPORT:

Click to view the year end condo report for Mercer Island, Seattle and the Greater Eastside. Published January 2017

 

REPORT OVERVIEWS:

Mercer Island 

Mercer Island’s real estate market was greatly compromised by a severe shortage of moderately affordable homes for sale. 230 of the 289 homes sold in 2016 were priced above $1,000,000—and 56 of those were priced above $2,000,000. Inventory tightened as the year progressed and the Island ended the second half with only a handful of homes for sale that were below the $2 million mark. The few homes priced below the $1 million price point were snatched up at aggressive prices while many homes in higher price segments sat out the dance on the sidelines.

The median sale price of single-family homes on the Island increased by 10.0% in 2016. The average cost per square foot kept pace evenly, increasing 10.1% to $497. Many buyers looking to own on Mercer Island in affordable price ranges have turned to the very modest supply of condominiums for sale—with most condos having sold in mere days at an average of 2% above their listing price.

It is unsettling to see so few moderately affordable homes for sale on the Island and the dynamics of the market may change the Island community. We expect to see a continued strong seller’s market in 2017.

Click here for the full Mercer Island report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

Seattle

The Seattle real estate market saw the median sale price of single-family homes increase by 12.7% in 2016. The average cost per square foot of Seattle homes increased 13.4% to $353. Five years into a strong seller’s market, with demand unabated, it appears we will see much of the same in 2017.

There were 8,766 Seattle homes sold in 2016. Of those sales, 2,527 sold below $500,000 and 1,078 had a sale price above $1,000,000. The median home sale price in Seattle was $620,000. After beginning the year very low, interest rates rose briskly to 4.25% in the last weeks of 2016. The annual average for a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.65% in 2016.

Click here for the full Seattle report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

Eastside

The median sale price of single-family homes on the Eastside increased by 13.7% in 2016. Lagging, the average cost per square foot increased 10.4% to $332. Five years into a strong seller’s market, with the expanding Bellevue skyline and the wealth of jobs that come with it, we expect to see much of the same in 2017.

There were 8,220 Eastside homes sold in 2016. Of those sales, 1,137 sold below $500,000 and 2,054 had a sale price above $1,000,000. The median home sale price on the Eastside was $753,500.

Click here for the full Eastside report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

Waterfront

Seattle-Eastside waterfront velocity slowed slightly in 2016—likely an extension of the oversupply of inventory that has plagued the $2,000,000 and above market. Highly desirable properties have continued to transact at handsome prices. But, those that require significant imagination, time and expense or present fundamental challenges (topography, access, exposure, quality of waterfront, etc.) have languished on the market for months.

Evolving from years past, more waterfront buyers today are attracted to not only homes with the right location and logistics, but those that are in exquisite turn-key condition. To be sure, there is still a tear down/rebuild-renovate market, but with the uncertainties of far-reaching waterfront codes and regulatory restrictions and an emerging ‘have it now’ mindset, we are seeing greater demand from buyers who want waterfront homes ready to move in to and now.

The highest waterfront sale in the region, at $9,751,880, was a Westside Mercer Island 9,750 square-foot contemporary just south of the I-90 bridge on 250 feet of level waterfront. Nearly tied with that sale was a 9,762 square-foot Laurelhurst traditional on 180 feet of level waterfront.

Check out the full Waterfront Report for a complete list of waterfront home sales by address and community.

 

Condo

This report contains information on condo sales by neighborhood for the entire Seattle-Eastside region. The data includes average sale prices; typical size, bedroom count and age of condo buildings in each area; the number of units sold annually; and the average cost per square foot. While every condo building is unique unto itself, looking at overall prices within a region can show general growth trends.

Seattle area condos saw the annual median sale price increase by 13.3% over 2015, while Eastside condos rose 16.0%. Both regions experienced stronger appreciation in condos than in single-family homes—an early indicator that affordability is becoming a factor for local home buyers and evidence that millennials have entered the market in force. Downtown Seattle-Belltown had the most sales volume in the Greater Seattle-Eastside region with 933 units sold in 2016. An extreme shortage of condos available indicates 2017 will remain a strong seller’s market for Seattle-Eastside region condos.

Looking for a newer condo? You’re most likely to find one in Downtown Seattle-Belltown or East Lake Sammamish. Want the largest 2-bedroom condo you can find? With an average of 1,420 square feet, West Bellevue would be your best bet. The most affordable condos, with 2 bedroom units selling for around $250,000, can be found in the Lake Forest Park-Kenmore and Richland-Shoreline neighborhoods. At the other end of the spectrum, Downtown Seattle-Belltown condos sell, on average, for more than 4 times that amount with an average sale price in 2016 of $1,053,000.

Check out all of these factoids and more in the full condo report.

 

© Copyright 2017, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

 

Posted on January 13, 2017 at 11:17 am
Julie Barrows | Category: Quarter / Year in Reviews, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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 | Category: Monthly Reports, Real Estate | 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 | Category: Monthly Reports, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

October 2016 Seattle Area Housing Report

Home sales and prices still climbing around Puget Sound, but brokers expect slowdown

NWMLS Reports (Nov. 4, 2016) – Home sales around Western Washington outgained new listings again in October, fueling competition for scarce inventory and pushing prices higher. Some seasonal slowdown is still expected – and the Nov. 8 elections may be in play as well, according to brokers at Northwest Multiple Listing Service who commented on last month’s activity.

MLS members reported 9,950 pending sales during October, but they added only 7,591 new listings, the lowest number since January. A year-over-year comparison of pending sales shows there were 633 more mutually accepted offers last month than twelve months ago for a gain of 6.8 percent.

Closed sales improved even more, rising from the year-ago total of 7,769 completed transactions to last month’s volume of 8,554 (up 10.1 percent).

“While the stock market remains somewhat skittish regarding the upcoming presidential election, this feeling clearly has not transferred to the housing market,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “Unfortunately for buyers who were hoping to have more homes to choose from this fall, listings in October fell to levels we haven’t seen since the 1990s – and at this point, we probably won’t see any sizable increase in inventory until the spring at the earliest,” he added.

Active listings dropped more than 13 percent compared to a year ago, with further shrinkage expected. At month end there were 15,690 single family homes and condominiums offered for sale in the MLS system, which encompasses 23 counties. That’s 2,378 fewer than the year-ago total of 18,068, and 2,446 fewer than September. All but two counties (Clallam and Ferry) reported year-over-year decreases in inventory.

Overall, there was only 1.8 months of supply. King County had slightly more than one month (1.1), with several areas within that county reporting less than a month’s supply. In Snohomish County, where inventory plunged more than 20 percent from a year ago, there was with 1.3 months.

“The further we move into November, the more we’ll start feeling the typical seasonal drop when new listings coming on the market decline by 50 percent on a monthly basis compared to spring and summer months,” suggested J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. Buyers are still out there, he emphasized. “We’re heading into winter with a repeat of last year’s conditions: low inventory, a backlog of buyers, and historically low interest rates.” On the heels of the “best October on record” Scott predicts “a strong winter market where the inventory remains tight throughout the season.”

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 October 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 November 8, 2016 at 3:30 pm
Julie Barrows | Category: Monthly Reports, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

September 2016 Seattle Area Housing Report

Western Washington housing market still strong, but some see signs of rebalancing

 NWMLS Reports (Oct. 5, 2016) – It’s still a seller’s market, but some leaders from Northwest Multiple Listing Service think the imbalance may be easing in some areas, pointing to a slower pace of sales and moderating prices. Others aren’t convinced, citing mixed indicators.

Northwest MLS statistics summarizing September activity show year-over-year gains in the volumes of new listings (up 14.5%), pending sales (up 9.3%), closed sales (up 9.5%), and prices (up nearly 9%). Inventory for single family homes and condominiums across the 23 counties in the report dropped about 8 percent from a year ago.

Commenting on September’s activity, Northwest MLS director George Moorhead reported “rumblings on both sides of the fence” by buyers and sellers. “Buyers are getting antsy to make a move before interest rates rise and they’re looking harder at homes that have been on the market longer than 30 days.”

Sellers are considering remodeling instead of buying as they cannot find a suitable new home, according to Moorhead, the designated broker at Bentley Properties. He noted builders also face challenges in their searches for new development sites near metro areas.

MLS members continue to scramble to replenish inventory. Compared to a year ago, they added 1,275 more new listings during September, ending the month with 10,047 total new listings. Like most months this year, however, September’s pending sales of single family homes and condos exceeded the number of new listings. Brokers reported 10,463 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) last month for a 9.3 percent improvement over a year ago.

September’s new listings marked the lowest monthly total since February – but it may be an expected seasonal slowdown.

“We have one month until November when new listings coming on the market drop by 50 percent on a monthly basis compared to spring and summer months,” explained J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. With the decrease typically lasting until the end of February, Scott said for selection, “the best opportunity for homebuyers to find a home will be in the next 30 days.”

The current selection includes 18,136 active listings, down about 8 percent from the year-ago inventory. Only two counties — King and Clallam – reported year-over-year gains in inventory during September.

Area-wide supply, as measured by months of inventory, improved slightly from August, rising from about 1.9 months to 2 months. Supply remained below two months in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

Demand for homes around Puget Sound remains strong, with the market showing “no marked change throughout the summer months,” remarked MLS director Dick Beeson, the principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma. Well-priced, well-conditioned homes continue to command attention and draw offers in record time, he noted.

September was “an interesting month for a few different reasons,” noted OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. Among factors he cited were the modest increase in the number of new listings in the tri-county region (King, Pierce, and Snohomish) and the slowing pace of sales and prices. “The good news is that all of this points towards a market that is slowly beginning to rebalance itself.”

“The increase in listings is pretty unusual given that the number of listings usually declines between August and September,” Jacobi commented, adding, “Considering how desperate we are for inventory, I hope this trend continues as we head further into the fall months.”

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 September 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 October 7, 2016 at 9:21 am
Julie Barrows | Category: Monthly Reports, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,