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King County Appreciation "Middling"

More evidence that King County is nearing the top of its market comes this weekend from a report that places King County’s appreciation in the bottom third of 15 counties across Western Washington.

Fueled by bidding wars and a shortage of houses for sale, King County’s single-family home prices shot up 15.43 percent last year, better than 1 percent a month.

With prices climbing so fast and so furiously, the county’s homeowners can be forgiven if they assume they’re leading the appreciation parade.

But they should think again.

While King County is indisputably Western Washington’s economic driver, its home appreciation was only middling last year compared with surrounding counties.

Leading the pack was Skagit County, where single-family homes appreciated 26.93 percent, followed by Mason County at 24.55 percent and Thurston County at 23.31 percent. Granted, the base prices were lower in the counties that appreciated more, but for buyers there, that meant even greater sticker shock than King County buyers experienced.

Of 15 mostly Western Washington counties, King County ranked in the bottom third, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which recently released its annual analysis of home-sales data.

As buyers are priced out of King County, they’re just shifting into Snohomish, Pierce, and even all the way up to Skagit County, where many homes have climbed up into the $400,000 to $600,000 range.

But it’s not deterring some buyers, particularly those from outside the county.

“They’re willing to pay a high price because they’re able to afford more here than where they came from,” Reichert said. “We know there are a lot of people who live here and commute to Everett or even to Seattle. And for a lot of people, this area is desirable because it’s a rural, small-town atmosphere with strong schools.”

It seems that home “ownership” is so ingrained in some people that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to avoid renting. I wonder what it is going to take to knock some sense back into these people.

(Elizabeth Rhodes, Seattle Times, 01.28.2006)

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

9 comments:

  1. 1
    ob says:

    How about this cnn story placing king county in second place for a very dubious honor…
    http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/30/pf/real_wage_growth_slow/index.htm
    That isn’t going to be good for housing either.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    These “yearly” statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt. They can give a wrong impression about what has actually happened on a month to month basis.

    15% appreciation for the year is an average for the WHOLE YEAR ’05.

    It tells you notthing about what happened in the months of Oct, Nov. and Dec. ’05.

    Most of the US cities that had “15% year appreciation” in ’05 also had stalling and then actual falling off of the numbers for the last quarter of ’05.

    It is the monthly numbers that give an acccurate assessment of the real situation.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. 3
    inseattle says:

    Check the “Bubble Markets Inventory Tracking ” link.

    The numbers are out for % of “Price Reduced” listings in Seattle.

    Our number for Seattle is !!!! 17% !!! of homes on the market have reduced their prices (so far!!!).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. 4
    inseattle says:

    Also, check the Zip Realty “Price Reduced” category for listings that have been reduced in any given neighborhood.

    They also tell you how many days the property has been on the market.

    That info is not generally available on the other MLS lists.

    http://www.ziprealty.com

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. 5
    biliruben says:

    Using Zip, I see a sweatin’ flipper at:
    15755 DAYTON

    The flipper bought this fugly rat-trap in the “great area” a few blocks off Aurora (great if you want to walk to strip clubs and Casino’s I guess) for 278K, threw more time and money than he should have at it (new roof, kitchen bath), and listed it for 360K 42 days ago. Then 355K… then 350K… then 340K .. now 335K, and now Brent “must sell!”.

    Looking at the details, yes he does.

    80/20 2/28 option arm.

    Given a conservative 10K in transaction fees, 2K/mo for mortgage and bills, and already two liens on the property; one for taxes and one for wastewater, he’s in serious trouble. He may get out dead-even, but I doubt it.

    His first, and my guess only, foray into real estate looks like a disaster.

    This is the first of many more investor horror stories to come, is my guess.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. 6
    Anonymous says:

    Zip Realty ROCKS!!

    Anyone who is remotely considering buying or selling RE at this time NEEDS to sign up and take a look at their site.

    I am sitting on the sidelines, ready to buy when it seems appropriate (ie. when prices have fallen A LOT).

    But for sure when I am ready to buy, I’m going to contact the folks at Zip.

    Any RE organization that is freely sharing pertinent info right now, when most are doing whatever they can to hide the facts, REALLY DESERVES the public’s thanks and support.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. 7
    biliruben says:

    I have mixed feelings about ZIP.

    A couple years ago, I was using their search engine (I liked the ability to search on yard size), but foolishly responded to an email and told them I already was working with another realtor.

    They tossed me off their system.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. 8
    Anonymous says:

    Biliruben-

    Thanks for the tip re ZIP.

    Moral of the story: use their great resources but don’t make the mistake of telling them you’re using another RE agent!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. 9
    Anonymous says:

    http://www5.metrokc.gov/reports/property_report.asp
    Your first stop in researching properties in Seattle and King County. Also provides links to tax liens, records, etc…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

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