Cheap South King Sales Gain More Share

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 April data:

  • low end: $208,000—$328,975
  • mid range: $318,000—$631,000
  • high end: $465,000—$1,240,000

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 price in the low end regions inched up, while median in the high and mid-tier regions both saw another sizeable bump in April.

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

Month over month the low end regions accounted for a slightly larger share of sales. The high end lost share again while the mid-tier gained. As of April 2013, 34.7% of sales were in the low end regions, 32.7% in the mid range, and 32.6% in the high end. A year ago the low end regions had less of the share and the high end more: In April 2012 the low end made up 33.3% of the sales, the mid range was 33.6%, and the high end was 33.1%.

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

As the low end gains share we’re heading toward a market that looks similar to what we experienced during the bubble, when the low end regions consistently made up 35% to 40% of the sales. So far things are not that extreme yet though.

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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
    Erik says:

    Is it a true statement to say that the Eastside is back to 2006 price levels? That’s how the graph reads to me by putting a straight edge on the current median price.
    Maybe I can sell my condo in Juanita and retire out to low rent totem lake? Or maybe buy a mcmansion in marysville like SWE?

  2. 2
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Erik @ 1

    That is not true of all or most condos vs single family homes, and clearly not a blanket statement for all condos depending on HOA monthly amount, age and condition of building, special assessments in place or “coming soon”, reserve position and many other factors.

    There is no “one size fits all” valuation expectation for all condos due to these issues and differences. It is not simply “location, location, location” when it comes to condo complexes.

  3. 3
    Erik says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 2
    Bummer. I am working on having the place painted this summer. That is my goal if i can get a good price. So far I got a bid of $15,000, which seems a little high. I’m confident I can put something reasonable together. Once I get more bids, I will have the other board members vote on a special assessment and we can get it painted. Also, there are a few of us that have been working on landscaping. We will take care of that and have it done this summer.
    Basically, I heard what you said to me last time and i’m working on those things. Unfortunately we had to raise monthly dues from $250 to $400 for now. Hopefully we can back those down before next summer, but it’s not looking promising.

  4. 4

    RE: Erik @ 1

    Actually Eric

    The charts don’t analyze prices, albeit even if they did, the low inventory lately make predictions of future prices worse than guessing by tea leaves. Not enough crunchy peanut butter to chew on.

    % sales favoring lower priced S King County is not explained as to the “why” but albeit, all three price groups still look nip and tuck; close to each other.

    Nope, I’m not biting on the $74K cash and my SE King county home Title for the Marysville McMansion. Why you ask? Its the same reason my single friend offerred me the deal….too much utilities, property taxes and upkeep over the next decades [assuming I retired soon, and I have the next decade to ferret that out]. Its also a horrifying [and costly at $4/gal] commute until I retire, even with my present 40% telework agreement. My 2011 Dodge Charger can get up to 34 mpg freeway on cruise control….but a commute north to Marysville round trip in HORRIFYING Everett I-5 rush hour [its a 0 MPG parking lot then bubbleheads] would likely halve anyone’s top MPG and add up to an hour more each way in your car seat…..about a 4 hour R/T commute BTW.

  5. 5

    RE: softwarengineer @

    I Could make the Deal and Flip It Fast?

    That might work, but moving is still costly….and I’ve collected [as Kary would say] lots of stuff [junk] that gets jumbled up even worse after a move. Staying put and paying my approx $100/mo property taxes with $170/mo water and HOA fees is cheap predictable living in these turbulant times.

    I liked Kary’s statements about staying put ’til ya die and let the survivors clean up your junk later…LOL

  6. 6
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Erik @ 3

    Hmmmm…better to keep the $250 and add a temporary $150 special assessment that will be extinguished after a stated goal, than to jack the regular dues up like that. We should have coffee sometime and chat. In the meantime get yourself a copy of The Condo Bluebook. It comes in a kindle edition now. Every Board Member should own one.

    It’s basically CA oriented, but it is the best condo reference book there is as to the best way to manage condos.

  7. 7
    3rd Generation says:

    6. “ARDELL
    May 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    RE: Erik @ 3 –

    Hmmmm…better to keep the $250 and add a temporary $150 special assessment that will be extinguished after a stated goal, than to jack the regular dues up like that”

    Thank you Ardell for finding a nice way to say that.

    Doubtful I could be THAT charitable.

    No condo ass. in Puget Sound in going to get $ 400/mo out of me. Ever. Even with the residents playing gardner together. . . Cum Ba Ya. Don’t have $ 15K in reserves for paint and looking for a ‘deal’ ? Yikes, what a freakin mess.

  8. 8
    Macro Investor says:

    Tim, why the emphasis on south king? I’ve heard that’s somewhere below I-90, so the junk’s not worth considering.

    Eric, seems a little unethical to assess everyone a painting fee, just so you can get a better price for your unit. But, I guess if you can live with yourself.

  9. 9
    Macro Investor says:

    By 3rd Generation @ 7:

    6. “ARDELL
    May 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    No condo ass. in Puget Sound in going to get $ 400/mo out of me. Ever.

    Me too, brother. I remember Ray saying a lot of condos aren’t worth taking for free because the taxes and HOA are so high. This sounds like just such a mess.

  10. 10
    TK says:

    According to Redfin, Seattle is now the 5th most competitive real estate market—and I’ll believe it. Every house I have seen has multiple bidders on the day it is listed.

  11. 11
    CK says:

    Good ol’ days of multiple offers and bidding are back!

  12. 12
    erik says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 9
    Whenever I do something that benefits me and provides me more security, I feel better. Things that keep me awake at night are always missed opportunities. Not like I am really hurting anyone. I Put in lots of free labor and I know how to keep things cheap. I know how to remodel and fix things, so I have saved this community lots of money. Dont worry, I will sleep more sound when I am not living paycheck to paycheck.

  13. 13
    erik says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 6
    I was the one that suggested raising dues to get out of our issues we are having. From what you are saying, that was the wrong approach. This is suppose to be temporary, so we intend to lower our dues in the future. Not sure if that is the same thing?
    We can get coffee and talk more whenever you’d like. Text or call me and we can chat. Weekends are better cause I work then do yoga on the weekdays and get home late.

  14. 14
    Erik says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 8
    If I lived my life by this code you have invented that is setup by people that have already formed a financial foundation, I would end up no better than Corndogs. You see how angry he is. I have lived in Pierce county and I can tell you, I have seen his type. He has beat others down in an “ethical” capitalistic manner his entire life. Now he’s finally wealthy, but at what cost?
    My theory is this… He setup this ethical capitalistic standard in his head that you describe. He saw others not abiding by that standard and were succeeding faster than him. He toed the line and bottled up his anger. Now he takes his vent up aggression on others around him and here online. Now he comes on this website and beats down Losh and others repeatedly.

  15. 15
    Erik says:

    RE: Erik @ 13
    I called out Corndogs because if he replies, I’m sure it will be entertaining, but my message is that I don’t want to end up as a conservative penny pinching old man. From what I have seen, conservative old rich men are not that happy. They got rich by pinching pennies and that’s all they know. I’m not willing to make that sacrifice. I want to get rich by having good ideas and taking care of myself.

  16. 16
    ARDELL says:

    RE: erik @ 12

    This weekend should be a bit slower than usual for me because of the Holiday. Juanita Village Starbucks works.

    That book I told you to get explains why the raising dues approach is not recommended. But I can bring a yellow pad and pencil and give you the short version of why and how the math of it functions.

    It would be helpful if you sent me a copy of your Annual Budget and the Summary Page from your Reserve Study in advance, or bring that with you.

  17. 17
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: Erik @ 14

    It is entertaining watching CornDog come off his meds and get wound up. If he wasn’t so pitiful, I’d say he needs someone to punch his face. But he’s probably 95 years old, 400 pounds with a face like Jabba The Hut, and living in a rat infested alley without a friend in the world. Poor miserable wretch.

  18. 18
    Corndogs says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 4 – “the low inventory lately make predictions of future prices worse than guessing by tea leaves”.

    Yeah SWE, some people think that when inventory gets crazy low that it leads to higher prices but that’s just stupid rich people.

  19. 19

    RE: Corndogs @ 17

    Like Uneducated Kids Getting Lots of Inheretance?

    Or GW Bush?

  20. 20
    David Losh says:

    RE: Erik @ 13

    I have this Real Estate discussion all the time. I think Real Estate is done for the small investor, and being taken over by huge hedge fund, REIT, and corporate interests looking for returns greater than 5%.

    It’s like the fishing, and salmon industries here in the Pacific Northwest.

    There’s still money there, but not the quick easy money there used to be. Real Estate is a job.

    Speaking of which, job creation is where I think the best investor dollars are. People make fun of our cleaning business, but the numbers don’t lie. We have continued growth, and a ready supply of people who want to work.

    We pay well because there is no upper limit on our income.

    In terms of your condo sale, you are stuck, the same as corndogs? is stuck. You’re looking at future gains that may evaporate in this time of rising interest rates. It’s completely out of your control.

    The Fed is not kind to small investors when they turn on you.

  21. 21
    Erik says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 17
    I agree. Corndogs may have money as he repeatedly claims, but he is still a pathetic loser by all other metrics. I am glad he is on here as a good example of that lifestyle. As we pursue more wealth, it is easy to get caught up in the details and wind up like him.
    He certainly isn’t dumb. His comments are consistently thoughtful and often precise. He is just someone that doesn’t see life the way most of us on here do. He is a formalist and not a utilitarian.

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