Cheap South King County Sales Slipping

It’s been a few months since we updated our look at how King County’s sales are shifting between the different regions around the county. This data is interesting to keep tabs on since geographic shifts can and do affect the median price.

In order to explore this concept, we break King County down into three regions, based on the NWMLS-defined “areas”:

  • low end: South County (areas 100-130 & 300-360)
  • mid range: Seattle / North County (areas 140, 380-390, & 700-800)
  • high end: Eastside (areas 500-600)

Here’s where each region’s median prices came in as of May data:

  • low end: $260,000-$418,900
  • mid range: $375,000-$802,000
  • high end: $539,000-$1,914,000

First up, let’s have a look at each region’s (approximate) median price (actually the median of the medians for each area within the region).

Median Price of Single Family Homes Sold

The median-median in the Eastside regions hit an all-time high of $703,000 back in December, but has since retreated to $687,500. Similarly, the mid-tier regions had hit an all-time high of $502,000 in April, but fell back to $472,981 in May. Month-over-month, the median price in the low tier fell 4.2 percent, the middle tier decreased 5.8 percent, and the high tier gained 1.4 percent.

Twenty-five of the twenty-nine NWMLS regions in King County with single-family home sales in May had a higher median price than a year ago, while fourteen had a month-over-month increase in the median price.

Here’s how the median prices changed year-over-year. Low tier: up 8.9 percent, middle tier: up 17.8 percent, high tier: up 11.7 percent.

Next up, the percentage of each month’s closed sales that took place in each of the three regions.

% of Total King Co. SFH Sales by NWMLS Area

Sales in all three regions spiked up dramatically between April and May, and month-to-month the mix shifted slightly away from the Eastside high tier and into the South King and Seattle regions. Month-over-month sales were up 15.7 percent in the low tier, up 16.1 percent in the middle tier, and up 10.3 percent in the high tier.

Year-over-year sales increased in all three tiers as well. Compared to a year ago, sales increased 23.1 percent in the low tier, rose 16.2 percent in the middle tier, and increased 6.9 percent in the high tier.

As of May 2015, 34.1 percent of sales were in the low end regions (up from 32.0 percent a year ago), 35.5 percent in the mid range (compared to 35.2 percent a year ago), and 30.4 percent in the high end (down from 32.8 percent a year ago).

Here’s that information in a visual format:

Bank-Owned: Share of Total Sales - King County Single-Family

Finally, here’s an updated look at the percentage of sales data all the way back through 2000:

% of Total King Co. SFH Sales by NWMLS Area since 2000

Between late last year and March of this year the share of homes sold in the cheap parts of King County shot up dramatically to nearly 40 percent—a level comparable what we saw during the last housing bubble. However, in April and May the share of sales in South King County fell back down to below the mid-tier regions. This sharp decrease in sales in the cheap regions in the past two months is most likely a big part of why the county-wide median price shot up from $440,000 in March to $480,000 in April and May.


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.

21 comments:

  1. 1

    Large Homes Means Big Utility Bills and Property Taxes

    No wonder the S. King County can’t sell new homes….nobody, except Baby Boomers with Y Gens still in the driveway….needs all that space. We build for high prices in the Seattle area. Where is a new building complex with like 1000-1500 SF on slabs [cement floor, single story] to build cheap?

    I know, you come up nada.

  2. 2
    ronp says:

    I never find this series of data (or posts) very interesting. What it always seems to be showing is “there are high, medium and low cost areas and sometimes the demand for housing in these vary.” So?

    I guess the other thing I find annoying is within each area there is huge variability (Blue Ridge and Lake City, Medina and Carnation, Normandy Park and Black Diamond).

    Not sure what stats could make this series more interesting though.

  3. 3
    Cap''n says:

    RE: ronp @ 2

    What ronp said. Maybe a follow up post that shows a finer stratification within each of the three areas? Generally, I think more neighborhood-focused data posts would be interesting. Instead of the usual “Seattle” (king county….)

  4. 4
    Jonness says:

    It would be interesting to show the supply vs sales in each area.

  5. 5
    Mike says:

    RE: ronp @ 2 – Blue Ridge could certainly benefit from some gentrification. One of the “castles” came on the market recently and sat for a few weeks. It’s not exactly a hot area in this market.

  6. 6
    redmondjp says:

    By Mike @ 5:

    RE: ronp @ 2 – Blue Ridge could certainly benefit from some gentrification. One of the “castles” came on the market recently and sat for a few weeks. It’s not exactly a hot area in this market.

    What would also be nice is a secret decoder ring for area neighborhood names. I’ve lived here (Eastside) for 20 years now and I have absolutely no idea where “Blue Ridge” even is! I couldn’t even tell you what city or county it is in.

  7. 7
    Azucar says:

    By redmondjp @ 6:

    By Mike @ 5:

    RE: ronp @ 2 – Blue Ridge could certainly benefit from some gentrification. One of the “castles” came on the market recently and sat for a few weeks. It’s not exactly a hot area in this market.

    What would also be nice is a secret decoder ring for area neighborhood names. I’ve lived here (Eastside) for 20 years now and I have absolutely no idea where “Blue Ridge” even is! I couldn’t even tell you what city or county it is in.

    My secret decoder ring for that kind of information is google maps.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/North+Beach%2F+Blue+Ridge,+Seattle,+WA/@47.700869,-122.3820138,15z

  8. 8
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Azucar @ 7 – Or you can go straight to the source:

    http://clerk.seattle.gov/~public/nmaps/neiglist.htm

  9. 9
    North Highliner says:

    I live in North Highline/White Center and we get lumped in to South King County for some reason. If sales are slipping in my area, I don’t think they have told the buyers that. My neighbors home just sold for 30k over asking price, and after 2 days on the market. While it is nothing what our neighbors to the north are seeing in their neighborhoods, I still do not see sales slipping in my neighborhood.
    Throw in possible Annexation to Seattle in 2016, and things are on the up and up. Maybe we won’t be considered South King County by then.

  10. 10
    redmondjp says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 8RE: Azucar @ 7
    Thanks! But still, that city of Seattle list seems incomplete – for example, scrolling around on the Google map, I saw that the area just to the south of Green Lake is called Meridian, yet this name is not on the other list (and I’m sure that there are many other examples of this, such as Kenwood). There doesn’t seem to be any single arbiter of place names.

    When it gets really confusing, however, is when the same name is used in multiple cities – “Lakewood” comes to mind – is this the city near Puyallup, or near Arlington?

  11. 11
    Mike says:

    Celebrating the spirit of SKC, here’s a short sale that was purchased new in 2014…

    https://www.redfin.com/WA/Renton/829-Mount-Baker-AVE-NE-98059/home/52428248

  12. 12

    RE: Mike @ 10

    The South County trend-down for bank owned and short sales as a % of total sales is:

    2011 – 52%
    2012 – 49%
    2013 – 34%
    2014 – 27%
    2015 – 17%

    This using 1/1/2015 to 5/31/2015 and same period YOY.

    Required Disclosure – Stats in the comment not compiled, verified or posted by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

  13. 13
    scaredy cat says:

    RE: Mike @ 11

    Geez that just leaves me speechless on so many different levels.

  14. 14
    Mike says:

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 12:

    RE: Mike @ 10

    The South County trend-down for bank owned and short sales as a % of total sales is:

    2011 – 52%
    2012 – 49%
    2013 – 34%
    2014 – 27%
    2015 – 17%

    This using 1/1/2015 to 5/31/2015 and same period YOY.

    Required Disclosure – Stats in the comment not compiled, verified or posted by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

    It looks like the recent (post crash) buyers are helping replenish the supply.

  15. 15
    Mike says:

    By scaredy cat @ 13:

    RE: Mike @ 11

    Geez that just leaves me speechless on so many different levels.

    It also highlights how this market isn’t like 2005. Who remembers seeing a short sale in ’05? Especially on a new house with well rated schools.

    Back in ’05 a friend of mine had a neighbor (new house in Kent, bad part, west hill) who caught his wife with another man. Husband beat the crap out of him and got lots of blood stains on the basement concrete, trashed the house (new in 2004) and then sold the wrecked house for $25K more than they paid a year earlier! Those were the days.

  16. 16

    RE: North Highliner @ 9

    I’m Not Disagreeing With Your Blog

    But this “my neighborhood is somehow different” with just an example or two holds no water without a thorough independent “buyers” appraisal and selling history data on dozens of homes.

  17. 17

    RE: Mike @ 14 – There’s Another Way to Interpret the Data

    As time passes the sub-prime bad loans went short or foreclosed right away. Now that the banks took a beating for sub-primes in 2000-2007, and the tighter lending standards are in place; the bank owned defaults ended somewhat and the unqualified buyers mostly lost their homes. Also the historically dinky listing quantities mean only cash bag or the elite are buying homes now…who else can?

  18. 18

    RE: Mike @ 11
    3000 SF?

    It doesn’t appear that big from it’s $600K photo. But assuming it is, what gypsy tribe would need a house that big? We need environmentalists planning our Seattle homes, not the current crop of dolts for big government making bigger better, with a huge utility and property tax bill. Imagine just a couple or a single in that “cash eating” monster.

  19. 19

    RE: scaredy cat @ 13RE: Mike @ 11 – Huh?

    Without commenting on a specific listing, we are once again back in a more normal situation where new construction sells at a premium. That disappeared in late 2008, early 2009. That means that now if you try to sell quickly after buying new construction your losses will likely exceed the costs of sale.

    Personally I’ve never seen the appeal of new construction, unless it’s a custom build, but enough people do want to live in a house no one has ever lived in that in good markets that does generate a premium.

  20. 20
    North Highliner says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 16RE: softwarengineer @ 16

    No I agree with you softwarengineer. I was only stating that lumping everyone south of Seattle as South King County is a bad way to measure such a huge area. Do you mean to say that the real estate market in Auburn is the same as say a Burien or White Center?

  21. 21
    scaredy cat says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 19

    Kary,
    Eh, for my part it was mostly a comment about how I couldn’t imagine paying that amount for that setup in that area, they just are viscerally unappealing to me. If someone likes it though more power to them. I also remember having to bring cash to a closing back on the east coast in a similar type situation what now seems like eons ago (well, actually it WAS eons ago) ….

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