Eastside Sales Surge, Seattle Sales Slip

Let’s take an updated look at how King County’s sales are shifting between the different regions around the county, 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 December data:

  • low end: $193,000—$303,475
  • mid range: $271,500—$729,000
  • high end: $424,953—$1,035,000

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 mid range dipped a bit in December, but the low and high regions both ticked up again.

Next up, the percentage of each month’s closed sales that took place in each of the three regions. The dotted line is a four-month rolling average.

% of Total King Co. SFH Sales by NWMLS Area

Big shift this month as the spendy Eastside spikes up, stealing share from mid-range Seattle. As of December 2012, 33.7% of sales were in the low end regions, 30.6% in the mid range, and 35.7% in the high end. A year ago the low end made up 35.4% of the sales, the mid range was 32.7%, and the high end was 31.9%.

Finally, here’s an updated look at this same set of data all the way back through 2000:

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

There haven’t been many times when the expensive Eastside regions have had the largest share of sales. We’re certainly in the midst of a weird market.

As a bonus, here’s a chart of the share of sales in each NWMLS region that were bank-owned. I created this one for Eric Pryne over at the Seattle Times a few months ago, and have updated it with December data. In this chart I’ve grouped zip codes into their approximate NWMLS regions, which break South County into SE King and SW King and display Seattle an N King separately.

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

At its peak in January of 2012, nearly half of the sales in SW King County were bank-owned homes, but as of December that number had fallen to just 14%. With the dramatic, across-the-board drop in bank-owned sales combined with the strengthening of sales in the expensive Eastside regions, it’s no wonder the county-wide median price has gone up so much over the past year.

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.


  1. 1

    Eastside Sales May be Up

    Bot God forbid the higher elevations there get snow and ice on those steep hills….I hope you can telework or we don’t get snow this winter….they become impossible roads.

  2. 2
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1 – There is no life east of Old Issaquah-Sammamish.

  3. 3

    The foreclosure stats are very interesting. I don’t think I remember looking in an area where 40% of the listings I was interested in were REO.

    Right now I really sort of miss the REOs. When they first started to become common they were somewhat of a PITA, and their condition was generally horrible. Some of them still are that way. But Freddie, Fannie and a few others really seem to have the process down now where they go smoothly at least. One recent REO transaction was probably the easiest in a long time, and one of the cleanest inspections. The only hassle was a prior lender was slow at giving up their FHA appraisal. Even so, the transaction closed early.

  4. 4
    Bunch says:

    Where does Mercer Island fall in the Seattle vs Eastside grouping?

  5. 5
    softwarengineer says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 2

    There’s Plenty of Life in Issaquah

    The last time I drove those hills in the building construction areas, they were steep too.

  6. 6

    By Bunch @ 4:

    Where does Mercer Island fall in the Seattle vs Eastside grouping?

    And Tim, did you break it out north of I-90 and south of I-90?

    Seriously, I suspect Tim has MI as eastside.

  7. 7

    By Bunch @ 4:

    Where does Mercer Island fall in the Seattle vs Eastside grouping?

    Eastside. It’s area 510, which is grouped by Tim with the other “500” areas, considered by the NWMLS to be eastside.

  8. 8

    Here is one of the tools I use to see what’s happening with trustee sales and eventual REO inventory. Go to WA State, then select your county. Then take a look at “Select Sale Date”


    This is just one trustee. Magic 8 Ball says: More REO inventory coming for Kary.

  9. 9
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 7

    I think Tim also includes 600…which is HUGE and goes into less expensive areas. That gives it some balance as to price.

  10. 10
    ARDELL says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 5

    When I think of steep hills I also think of Queen Anne…and Queen Anne Hill clearly does not hold back prices in Queen Anne. So steepness, unless that is in the driveway of the home itself, may not be a factor in a lot of cases.

    Speaking of which, one thing home buyers neglect to notice when viewing homes prior to offer is “how do you get the trash cans to their pick up point?” Homes on big lots or two or three houses back along a private road often need to take their trash can to the street. There are a few homes not selling that are on market…nice homes…where the walk to the street with the trash cans qualifies as your morning workout with full cans.

  11. 11
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Jillayne Schlicke @ 8 – Woo hoo! Clark county is #1 w/ 629. How come nothing for King county?

  12. 12
    Edward Barkley says:

    Can someone explain this to me? The Fed has been buying up the worst of the real estate deals from over the past 8 years or so by covering the losses on the bad collaterized debt obligations that funded the market (or fed on the market). Therefore, the biggest owners of real estate debt who should have lost everything on those derivatives gambles – made off like bandits. Now, how can that kind of behavior on the part of the banks ,investors and fed continue? Do you really believe that America can just cover all the losers indefinitely? Where is money for mortgages going to come from if it can’t? How can prices keep going up if the big banks have supposedly learned their lesson?

    I can’t see how the market can be sustained. If the US hadn’t covered all of the bad real estate deals, homes would be down 30 percent or more from their current prices. Have we mastered Keynesianism with derivatives and there never will be a piper to pay?

  13. 13
    corndogs says:

    RE: Jillayne Schlicke @ 8 – I was looking at those before I bought my REO last year…. I see a lot more in PC sold to 3rd party for good prices than last time. There will be more REOs but a lot not making it that far.

  14. 14
    David Losh says:

    RE: Edward Barkley @ 12

    Good observation, but the government bought debt, not deals.

    There was no need for the government to get involved with banking. Banking is having record profits, and cash reserves. The only thing the government actually did was preserve thousands if not millions of jobs.

    I agree that I don’t think banks will want to make home owner loans as readily as they did in the past, but it is business so there will always be a formula that makes sense to banks, probably based more on the resale of the property rather than the promise of the new home owner to pay.

  15. 15
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    This is impossible.

    No one wants to live in a house in the suburbs.

    They want to live in 150 ft sq apodments in Belltown.

    This data must be forged by Republicans.

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