Case-Shiller: Seattle Metro Prices Level. Your Experience May Vary!

Today’s Case-Shiller shows that values in the three-county region have been about the same throughout the second half of 2013, with the December number 0.53% below November.

However, we expect that January’s numbers will show a rise, and February’s a jump, based on the in-city Seattle market these past two months. There have been amazing multiple-offer situations, ten or more offers on some places, offers more than 20% over asking on select in-city homes . . . it is crazy out there right now.


NWMLS brokers report nearly $25.5 billion in sales for 2013, outgaining 2012 in homes sold and dollar volume

NWMLS, Kirkland, January 22, 2014. Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported 75,517 closed sales during 2013, surpassing the 2012 volume by around 11,000 transactions for an increase of nearly 17 percent. Measured by dollars, last year’s sales of single family homes and condominiums were valued at nearly $25.5 billion to outgain the previous year by more than $5.5 billion (up 27.4 percent).

Last year’s completed sales included 65,122 single family homes and 10,395 condominiums, as tallied by nearly 21,000 real estate brokers in the 21 counties that make up the Northwest MLS service area. The total units and dollar volume are the best since 2007 when members registered 82,197 sales valued at $32.3 billion.

The area-wide median price for last year’s sales was $270,000, improving on the previous year’s figure of $245,000 (up 10.2 percent). A comparison by county shows median sales prices ranged from $118,750 in Pacific County to $372,000 in King County.

Prices for single family homes (excluding condominiums) also rose 10.2 percent from 2012, increasing from $255,000 to $281,000. Condo prices jumped 15.3 percent, rising from the 2012 figure of $175,200 to last year’s median price of $202,000.

By one measure, buyers who shopped during 2013 had a bigger selection as members added more than 104,000 listings to inventory during the year. That was an improvement over 2012 when members added 91,359 new listings. However, brisk sales meant the total number of active listings, which averaged 21,946 during 2013, fell below the previous year’s average of 24,604.

During 2013, the area-wide supply, as measured by months of inventory, ranged from a low of 1.95 in March to 3.68 in December. Industry watchers tend to use a 4-to-6 month range as an indicator of a balanced market, favoring neither buyers nor sellers. Supply tended to be tightest in King and Snohomish counties.

Further evidence of a housing recovery is reflected in high-end sales. Northwest MLS members reported 1,621 sales of single family homes priced at $1 million or more, up 45.2 percent from the 2012 total of 1,116 such sales. Condos priced at $1 million and up accounted for another 137 sales, about the same number as 2012 (138 sales).

The highest-priced single family home that sold during 2013 by a member of Northwest MLS was a property in Medina that fetched $9.75 million. A penthouse in downtown Seattle that sold for $6.2 million topped the condo list.

Among other highlights in its annual compilation of statistics, Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported:

  • Single family homes accounted for 86 percent of last year’s residential sales.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of last year’s single family home sales were 3-bedroom homes. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of condos that sold had 2 bedrooms.
  • The median price for a 3-bedroom home that sold in 2013 was $250,000. A comparison by county shows the median price for this size home ranged from $128,000 in Pacific County to $450,000 in San Juan County.
  • Of the condo sales, about two-thirds (64.1 percent) were located in King County. Within that county, the Eastside edged out Seattle for the largest share (39.7 percent versus 37 percent).
  • Last year’s sales included 8,298 newly built single family homes that sold for a median price of $325,000, and 846 condos that sold for a median price of $350,214.
  • A 10-year comparison of median prices of single family homes shows prices peaked in most counties in 2007. In 2013, Grant County selling prices returned to 2007 levels, Okanogan prices were at 96.7 percent of 2007 prices, and King County prices were at 91.2 percent of 2007 prices. Other counties have not yet reached those levels, but most are experiencing steady gains.
  • Prices vary widely among school districts. An analysis of some of the largest districts in the MLS market area shows single family homes on Mercer Island have the highest prices, followed by homes in the Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington and Bainbridge school districts.

In addition to summarizing sales and listing activity, Northwest MLS also reported enhancements to several services for it members, including more capacity for displaying photos with each listing, additional fields to describe amenities (including “green” features), added apps for mobile devices, and a revamped member website with expanded functionality.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 20,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state. The NorthWest REporter is a joint monthly online real estate news newsletter from the NWMLS and REALTORS®.

August Case-Shiller: Prices up, market hot!

Seattle home prices shot up 13.2% over the past year, according to the Standard & Poors / Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report released today.

Nationwide prices are up 12.8%.

The average sales price of a house in Seattle’s King County was $508,462 in August, up from $455,429 a year ago, according to statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The average condo price of $303,359 is also up from the previous August’s $257,785.


Case-Shiller Agrees! Seattle Home Values Up in May!

Today’s Case-Shiller report validates what we already knew – home values are up. Way up. Values for the tri-county area in May were 11.9% higher than the year before, up 8.5% since December. In-city, houses in many neighborhoods are selling for more than they did at the peak of the market, which was July 2007!

Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Prices Down! Do you believe it?

According to today’s press release from Standard & Poor’s / Case-Shiller Index, home values in Seattle dropped in February for the third straight month, losing a quarter of a percentage point.

The median sales price in King County for February was $336,500, a jump from January’s $315,000. For March, it was $350,000

Regardless, an overwhelming urgency has taken over the local market, with many multiple offer situations including so many pre-inspections that inspectors are booked a week in advance.

J Szczesny of 4 Seasons Home Inspections says, “I keep Mondays open so that when people see a house on Sunday that they want a preinspection on, I’m available.” Other than that, he says, he’s booked out “for the rest of the week.”

Case-Shiller: Home Prices Accelerate in January

According to the Case-Shiller report released today, the Seattle market has been calm and relaxed, with values remaining stable over the past seven months, as the index drifts between 141 and 142 (41%-42% higher than in the year 2000).

January was crazy.

Sales reached a six-year high, which isn’t very high, because January is usually the month with the second-fewest sales behind December.

The market is in a frenzy, and the data doesn’t really seem to show just how insane things have gotten in the local market.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Association has felt the need to remind members (agents) how to behave in a fiery-hot market with many buyers chasing absurdly few listings. Agents have been reminded to be cooperative when showings overlap; to not “hog” the property and allow other agents to show, as well. Agents have also be warned about pre-marketing listings, as the NWMLS has had a strict and universally adhered-to policy of submitting new listings within 24 hours of receipt and exposing them to the entire marketplace.

But if you look at the data, you’ll see calm and tranquility. We see that we’re back to 12-hour work days, which we don’t mind at all!

Check it out here.

Could the Seattle market get any hotter?

Eleven offers here, seven offers there, 14 pre-inspections at one listing, dozens of buyers sharing inspection reports . . . the market is in a frenzy, and there’s no sign of a letup.

“We had fifteen offers and four cash buyers,” one agent told us; “three pre-inspections,” said another, both talking about perfectly fine houses that seemed reasonably priced until the offers started pouring in.

A hot market and rising prices are good for sellers, but there are some hurdles to getting the sale closed. “We took the cash offer even though it wasn’t the highest bid,” another agent said, “because we were worried about the appraisal – nothing sold in the past six months supports this price.”

The buyers don’t seem to care. As of this writing, 147 Seattle houses went Pending this month. Pending is the status where inspection contingencies have been satisfied. 96 had market times of ten days or less, fifty had market times of five days or less. Typically, a listing will stay active for three to seven days to give buyers a chance to see it, a typical inspection period is a week. To go “Pending” in ten days indicates either quick offer acceptance or pre-inspections, inspections made without the certainty of being under contract.

Buyers were digging deep into the shallow inventory too, by putting twenty-one houses under contract that had been on the market for three months or more.

The condo market isn’t quite as hot, but it’s catching up, as 22 of the 53 pendings this month had market times of seven days or less; 13 listings that had been on the market for over two months have gone under contract.

Where does this leave buyers? “You can’t really play around on a new listing,” said a veteran agent. “You just have to assume that the list price is ten percent too low.”

Note: We compiled the data from the NWMLS, which is in no way responsible for the way we use the data!