Guess the Price Round 5: We Have a Winner!

Just barely over a month ago we launched our latest price-guessing contest: Guess the Price Round 5: 101 Years Old in Phinney Ridge. After round 4 dragged on for seven months, I tried to pick a home that was likely to sell a little quicker. Of course, I didn’t expect it to go pending the same day I posted the contest. I thought they would at least leave it on the market through the weekend, to expose it to as many potential buyers as possible.

304 NW 74th St.Today’s “Guess the Price” guest star is 304 NW 74th Street in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood.

This round’s home hit the market yesterday with an asking price of $439,950. This is not the first time it has been for sale recently—it was originally listed on October 2, went pending on October 9, but was delisted on October 12. It was relisted on October 29, had a price drop on November 12, went pending again on November 17, but was delisted again on November 28.

Just 11 people managed to get in guesses in the less than 5 hours between when the contest posted and when the home went pending. Guesses ranged from $418,000 to $495,000. The average price guessed was $452,177, and the median guess was $450,000. Here’s the plot of all the guesses, with the final close price & date marked in green:

Price Guesses: 304 NW 74th St

According to the NWMLS, the home sold on March 29 (just four weeks after listing), with a closing price of $440,000—which was exactly what was guessed by commenter Beau. Congratulations! I’ve contacted Beau and we’re making arrangements for his prize.

The final sale price came in dead on the original asking price, and pretty much right at what it last sold for in March 2006.

Here’s the difference between the average guess and the final sale price our contests so far:

  1. -2.2%
  2. +5.5%
  3. -10.5%
  4. +10.0%
  5. +2.8%

Stay tuned in the next few weeks, when we’ll kick off another round of Guess the Price.

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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
    Carl says:

    Seattle is back to March 2006 prices. Crazy stuff that we are only about 18-24 months off or the all time highs. When will some sanity come back to the market and we stop having these large gyrations in prices? To me, 10%+ YOY increases are worse than 10%+ YOY decreases. Those types of movements are not good for market confidence.

  2. 2
    nize says:

    i’m surprised how optimistic the guesses are, you’d never know the general readers were so optimistic when reading the regular comments on here. guessing half a million for this house with no garage? seriously? :)

  3. 3
    Carl says:

    RE: nize @ 2 – Not to mention it is on a postage stamp sized lot of 3000 sf and close to a busy street. I am calling bubble v 2.0.

  4. 4
    doug says:

    I am surprised that house sold for so cheap!
    It could be a hedge fund flipping or I imagine just a really smart buyer.
    Raising rents an higher interest rates making for one of the best buyer and seller markets in history in Seattle and close by areas Location!

    This house should sell for $700,000.00 +++++++ in a few years

    Population should double in a few years in Seattle and so will rents and house prices


  5. 5
    SG says:

    @Tim, can you please verify that Beau was not the buyer. If he did, his entry should be disqualified because of the unfair advantage he had with access to insider information :)

  6. 6
    No Name Guy says:

    RE: nize @ 2

    Just because folks guess that the sheeple will pay too much, doesn’t mean they’re optimistic. Heck, if I could have put in a guess before it closed, I would have said it would have been a high priced and fast sale. That doesn’t mean I think the market today is sane nor does it change my long term bearish leanings. It just means I think someone would have been fool enough to pay too much.

  7. 7
    Carl says:

    RE: No Name Guy @ 6 – I generally agree the economic fundamentals (without governmental interference) would suggest a pretty bearish outlook. However, I have also learned not to “fight the tape”. With the Fed printing money for the past 5 years and into the foreseeable future, I have to think that inflation will push all prices up.

  8. 8

    RE: Carl @ 7

    Yes In Russia the Average Income is $550/mo

    Russia has some of the most expensive real estate in the world….it definitely doesn’t mean the working man from the bottom 99% will be bidding prices up. Their crazy rich elite does that.

  9. 9
    mike says:

    This place must be in awful shape to sell so cheap. I haven’t been watching sales much east of 8th, but the PPSF is incredibly low, even on a relatively small lot. Then again, that’s one of the reasons I avoided any 100 year old houses.

  10. 10
    No Name Guy says:

    RE: Carl @ 7

    Well, Carl, then I guess you’re all in with the Bernake and buying the S&P 500 with every spare dime you have, since “don’t fight the tape” is a great strategy (snicker)….until reality intrudes and everyone finds it’s an awfully small exit door and everyone and their brother is trying to cram through it at the same time.

    That’s when there will be the metaphoric (and possibly some real) blood in the streets, and then it’ll be the time to buy for those that have dry powder.

  11. 11
    mike says:

    RE: Carl @ 3 – Comparing it to something like this just 15 blocks SW, the price doesn’t seem all that high. Most of the older, un-remodeled homes in this 98117 are selling for $200+/sq ft. Granted, 304 is kind of ugly, but that is a lot of sq footage, bedrooms and bathrooms for the area.

    (smaller sq ft, 2/1.75 on same size lot, also on arterial)

  12. 12
    Macro Investor says:

    If the price per square foot holds, most of Seattle’s houses would have to be marked way down. The photos don’t show any problems. Has anyone seen the property and have some idea what’s behind that?

    Edit – never mind. I forgot I’ve seen a lot of houses with sq foot irregularities. It’s probably just bad data in the listing.

  13. 13
    Carl says:

    RE: No Name Guy @ 10 – No place else to put money. Maybe Cyprus?

  14. 14
    mike says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 12 – I’ve actually been in this one and it feels smaller than the listing suggests – and it’s at $244/sq ft . It’s just as rough as it looks in the photos. (big bonus though – no arterials anywhere near by!)

  15. 15
    Chris says:

    Yes, there is cheap money, but when you are talking Phinney Ridge, Green Lake, Wallingford, etc., those are some of the most desired SF neighborhoods in the Metro area. There probably are only 75k SF homes in those neighborhoods (north of ship canal, south of 85th), of which maybe 30k are in the choicest locations. These are targeted by a demographic segment that is not exactly hurting at the moment. I’m not sure why there is surprise that price appreciation is strong here.

  16. 16
    Scotsman says:

    Is it time for “buy now or be priced out forever!”?

  17. 17
    Mike says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 16 – doubtful. Even in the high demand neighborhoods, prices are increasing in the single digits, aside from a few well positioned anomalies.

    People are paying top dollar for fully remodeled move in ready homes of a certain square footage, but there are still many ‘rough’ homes that sell below asking.

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