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September 2019 Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Home buyers seeking affordability are expanding search outside Greater Seattle job centers

KIRKLAND, Washington (September 9, 2019) – Depleted inventory continues to frustrate would-be buyers in Western Washington. Many of these potential homeowners are expanding their search beyond the major job centers in King County, according to market watchers who commented on the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

The MLS report summarizing August activity shows less than two months of supply system-wide, and only about 1.6 months of supply in the four-county Puget Sound region. The sparse selection is pushing up prices. For last month’s sales of single family homes and condos across the 23 counties served by Northwest MLS, prices rose nearly 6.2% compared to a year ago.

“Areas immediately outside the Puget Sound region and along the I-5 corridor continue to see double-digit house price growth,” noted James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER) at the University of Washington. He attributes the increase to high demand in these areas “due to first-time homebuyers who struggle to afford housing in King and Snohomish counties as well as from existing homeowners cashing out of Seattle and King County.”

“The August numbers offered a few interesting nuggets,” stated OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “The Seattle area housing market is still coming off the ‘sugar high’ that we saw last summer, but homes sales and prices are stabilizing, which is reassuring to both buyers and sellers.”

Jacobi also noted buyers are drawn to areas outside King County in search of affordability. “Pierce County is now experiencing what King County did 24 months ago where a surplus of buyers and lack of supply are pushing up home prices. Snohomish County also saw a big bump with a massive 16% increase in pending sales year-over-year. This tells us the secret is clearly out that housing in the counties to the north and south of Seattle is more affordable.”

The median price for the single family homes and condos that sold last month in King County was $615,000, slightly higher than the year-ago figure of $610,000. In Snohomish County, last month’s median sales price was $470,000, up about 1.8% from the year-ago price of $461,832. The Pierce County price of $369,000 is $246,000 lower than King County. It’s up 6.1% from a year ago.

For all counties combined, prices are up nearly 6.2%, rising from the year-ago figure of $405,000 to last month’s figure of $429,925. Compared to January’s area-wide median price of $381,900, prices are up nearly 12.6%. Brokers reported 9,392 closed transactions during August, a slight 1.12% improvement over the same month a year ago.

Prices for single family homes (excluding condos) rose 6% from a year ago, while condo prices ticked up by only about 2%.

Brokers expect favorable conditions for both buyers and sellers in the coming months.

Read the entire NWMLS Press Release here.

View the full market report

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© Copyright 2019. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

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