Redfin: Seattle Home Sales Deep Freeze in July

Full disclosure: The Tim is employed by Redfin.

Last week Redfin released their latest monthly data, along with some interesting commentary and insights from their agents. Unlike the NWMLS releases which are always full of “I can’t believe what an amazing time it is for buyers” tripe, Redfin’s text is actually interesting and informative. Here’s an excerpt:

Here’s the word: after the first-time home-buyer tax credit expired, the few home sales that did occur were mostly high-end, driving median prices in King County up 2.6% compared to June.

But the truth is that demand was weak. King County sales volume fell 30.6% and inventory ticked up 1.0% at a time when home-buyers are usually snapping up whatever’s left on the market.

“Right now buyers want to ‘just try’ a low offer, only to have sellers get offended and refuse to respond,” said Robin McCue, a Redfin agent in Ballard. “The listing agent tells us what we would tell our listing clients: that a seller won’t take a 10% discount in negotiations without trying out that lower price on the broader market. Often both sides are unreasonable. We’ve seen buyers pushing a price that would drive sellers into a short sale, and a seller who rejected a 3% concession on a home 45 days on market. It’s crazy.”

This stand-off is taking its toll on sales volume. Last month, we predicted that King County sales in July would drop by 25% or more. This is exactly what happened, with a 30.6% decline.

You can download the full spreadsheet from Redfin here, but I still think an easier way to digest the numbers is in map form. In the map below each zip code with enough sales in July is shown as a dot, with the size of the dot determined by the number of sales in that zip code in July. Each dot is color-coded based on whichever measure you select below the map. You can view the month-over-month or year-over-year changes in inventory, sales, median prices, or median prices per square foot. New this month: Townhomes.

Sales took a tumble almost everywhere last month. The notable exceptions for single-family homes were 98122 (Capitol Hill), 98008 (W. Lake Sammamish), 98119 (Queen Anne), 98105 (U. District), and 98020 (Edmonds). All fairly high-desirability and high-price areas, so it’s not too surprising that they would be somewhat unfazed by the tax credit expiration.

Inventory was flat to up month-to-month across most of King County, but flat to down in most of Snohomish. Meanwhile, the size-adjusted median price ($/sqft) fell in most of Seattle, but actually rose slightly on the Eastside and in parts of Snohomish County.

Queen Anne (98119) and Magnolia (98199) are especially interesting story this month, with sales increasing month-to-month, inventory down year-over-year, and size-adjusted median prices falling 15% to 30% from a year ago. There may be more buyers, but it certainly appears that they’re getting a lot better deals in those neighborhoods.

Anything stand out to you about your neighborhood in this month’s data?

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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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    CalEngineer says:

    Is it possible to have a slider to select home price ranges to filter by in these maps?

  2. 2
    greg says:

    Regarding the numbers of Magnolia-Queen-Anne Tim said:
    ” There may be more buyers, but it certainly appears that they’re getting a lot better deals in those neighborhoods.”

    However I think the drop in the YOY price/sq. ft. can be largely explained by a change in the mix. Clearly, houses in Magnolia didn’t gain 20% in value. The YOY change in the median price was 20% because pricier houses sold this July than the previous July. There must be a strong correlation between price and price/sq. ft.. I suspect these pricier houses have a lower price/sq. ft.

  3. 3
    drshort says:

    The Redfin blog also noted “record numbers of Redfin customers touring properties in Seattle.” How does that balance against the slowdown numbers? Are they suggesting their business is ramping up, but the market is slowing? Or are they saying there’s a lot of active buyers, but few closed deals?

  4. 4
    The Tim says:

    RE: CalEngineer @ 1 – Unfortunately the data Redfin is currently publishing doesn’t break down into price brackets.

    RE: drshort @ 2 – If you look at the full quote, it seems to fit with the numbers:

    So far in August, we have seen record numbers of Redfin customers touring properties in Seattle, but buyers are very picky, and in no rush.

    So, lots of people touring homes, but not a lot of people actually making offers, because the current home shoppers are picky and patient.

  5. 5
    Ron Nelson says:

    Looks like the Buyers want there Tax Credit at the Expense of the Sellers…
    im looking to place a couple of offers next month on a couple of Rental Houses in Boise Idaho.. which have seen a price decline from what i’ve been told to prices that are at 1990 levels..

    We haven’t seen those yet here… try buying that 90,000 dollar property here for the Mere price of 250,000. ++

    as Far as i’m concerned…. The Values aren’t really that great… Positive cash flow- almost doesn’t exist, lucky to break even on a rental here.

  6. 6
    Katie of Japan says:

    Here’s an off-topic question…looking to buy a 2nd home in Leavenworth. The market is “unique”, or so I’ve been told. What do you think will happen there in the next 12 months? BTW, love reading your blog!

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