Non-Distressed Median at Highest Point in Over Four Years

As promised on Wednesday, it’s time to check up on median home sale prices broken down by distress status: Non-distressed, bank-owned, and short sales.

King County Single Family Median Price - Non-Distressed, Bank Owned, & Short Sales

As of May, the non-distressed median price for King County single family home sales sits at $449,000, up 6.9% from a year earlier and up 0.9% from April. Last year the month-over-month increase was about the same, up 0.7% April to May.

The bank-owned median sale price was at $229,950 in May, up a whopping 25.2% from a year earlier. The short sale median price came in at $242,500 in May, up 7.1% from 2012.

Here’s a look at the price per square foot broken down by distress status:

King County Single Family Median Price - Non-Distressed, Bank Owned, & Short Sales

The median price per square foot of non-distressed homes was actually up more than the raw median, gaining 12.9% from 2012. The bank-owned median price per square foot shot up 32.0%, while the short sale median price per square foot was up 9.1%. This is the first time the bank-owned median price per square foot has come in higher than the short sale median price per square foot.

With the share of sales that are distressed now below 10%, these charts are quickly becoming less interesting than they were when bank-owned and short sales made up a third of the market.

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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:

    The short sale median price and the bank owned median price don’t really have as much importance since the sample size has shrunk so much. The correlation between what is really happening with prices and what the data shows is not as certain. This is how i interpreted what you were saying in your last sentence. It’s less interesting because there is much smaller sample size.

  2. 2
    mike says:

    Interestingly, one of my in-laws is getting ready to list her home in Meshugyville, and her agent is cautioning that “the price momentum has slowed”. This is for a home that feeds into Loyal Heights Elementary and will likely be priced just within the conventional loan limit with 20%+ down.

    I think we may be nearing the point where inventory is starting to meet up with demand, even in the hot areas and desirable zip codes. Or it could be a reaction to the jump in interest rates. Hopefully it’s a sign we’re headed into a more balanced market.

  3. 3
    David Losh says:

    In Phoenix the big pricing increases came after foreclosures dropped, and short sales were less of the market place. That’s when low inventory was the big thing.

    I haven’t said buyers are stupid for a long time, here, but a buyer would really need to check themselves if they rely on these kinds of statistics for a decision.

    We can probably add this to consumer confidence as an indicator of Real Estate market trends.

  4. 4
    David Losh says:

    RE: mike @ 2

    I agree. We have a property for sale in the area and the pricing has most definitely cooled considerably in the past two months. All of the reports, statistics, market trend lines, and over all market analysis have fallen.

  5. 5
    mike says:

    RE: David Losh @ 4 – Any idea what’s behind the trend? I’m inclined to view it as a normalization following a period of ridiculously low inventory and ‘panic’ buying, now that more people who were inclined to sell have had a chance to prepare their homes for market.

  6. 6
    David Losh says:

    RE: mike @ 5

    It’s because of the sales, at lower prices.

    We also got a huge Real Estate agent laundry list of what “had” to be done in order to get the house sold. It was tough enough getting everything out of the place.

    Real Estate agents need to have perfect properties, priced low in order to get sales. That’s where we are. It’s all about easy commission dollars.

    BTW, some of my Real Estate buddies are looking a little haggard lately. They look tired, maybe a little nervous, I wonder how the money is for some of them.

  7. 7
    wreckingbull says:

    By David Losh @ 6:

    RE: mike @ 5
    Real Estate agents need to have perfect properties, priced low in order to get sales

    Are you describing the market of two years ago? If you are describing today’s market, I can’t conceive of a more incorrect statement.

  8. 8
    David Losh says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 7

    I am describing today. The market has changed a lot in the past two months. Buyers have choices. I’m not saying buyers have good choices, or are making good choices, but even in the past two years buyers have had the luxury to be finicky.

  9. 9
    Erik says:

    By David Losh @ 8:

    “I am describing today.”

    You said previously that you sold all your real estate in 2008. Now you are saying saying today that you have a property for sale in the area and the real estate agent wants you to sell low. This doesn’t add up.

    I want to believe your stories, but I keep noticing these discrepancies. How did you cash in all your real estate in 2008 and you are selling a house today?

  10. 10
    Saulac says:

    I wonder if 2010 is a benchmark in term of non-distressed median price, and thus justify the “over four years” comparison. Why not 3, or 5, or 6?
    Oh wait, the graphs show 2010, the start of the decade. Which is a benchmark in and by itself.

    I note the recent trend in media is to pick seemingly random benchmarks (?): over 3 years, over 7 years, over 11 years, 11 ways to do this, 8 most of of that…What up with the convention (?) of 5, 10, 12,,,? And to pick meaningful related benchmarks when compare something? Maybe I am too old school…

  11. 11
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Saulac @ 10

    When using Public Sources we can go back for longer periods of time. But when using mls info to track short sale and bank owned medians, the ability to go back very far is limited. There was no separate data field to mark a sale as a short sale or a bank owned property prior to 2010ish. So pulling the data by those categories was not possible before they created the data search fields to do so.

    Not sure if that is Tim’s reason, as he uses a variety of sources. But I know that I don’t have reliable data from before the mls created those input fields.

  12. 12
    Erik says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 11
    Remember when Ira was talking about buying a condo in Esplande for his client that was an all cash purchase. A year or 2 later, the litigation was settled and there was a unit being sold a couple weeks ago for $209k. Whoever had enough money to buy there in 2011 or 2012 made a lot of equity. I tried to buy there but I was unable to buy all cash. Hopefully those opportunities will be available to me in the future.

    Do you think this process is repeatable for all cash buyers? I imagine there is a way to research the details of litigation and purchase a condo all cash based on your own analysis. It seems like an easy way to make money quickly buying and selling. If the litigation takes longer, then just rent it or live there until the litigation is settled. Are there many opportunities like this or are they very rare?

  13. 13
    David Losh says:

    RE: Erik @ 9

    My father passed in October. It’s the family home.

    Now go bother some one else we are done, you’re very creepy.

  14. 14
    Erik says:

    RE: David Losh @ 13
    Best quote of all time on seattlebubble.

    “If you keep taking advice from Losh, you’re going to end up shacked up with an illegal alien, sucking off SSI disability while she cleans houses to keep your lights on…. the bright spot of your day (in between naps) will be to post to Seattle Bubble as a form of escapism. A place where you can pretend to be part of a world that you really can’t understand or afford to participate in.”

    I totally believe this. You are a loser. I’m not pal. I saw your picture. You are an old scrawny shriveled up old man that tries to beat down younger people trying to create a nice life for themselves to somehow makeup for your short comings. Sorry things haven’t worked out for you in life, but I imagine it’s you and not bad luck.

    You act like you are better than me online, but you are not.

  15. 15
    Peter Witting says:

    RE: Erik @ 14 – Dude. Do you even lift?

  16. 16
    Erik says:

    RE: Peter Witting @ 15
    Ha ha ha. I already told you what I did for exercise. Here’s what Losh would say “Why is everyone so obsessed with me.”

    I’m not saying I’m some great specimen, but losh is in fact a shriveled up scrawny bitter old man. My suspicions have been confirmed. It completes the picture for me of where he is coming from. I listen to every comment and evaluate all the feedback I get. I am continuously trying to improve. I was trying to figure out what losh was getting out of commenting here. He is trying to stroke his ego because he is a loser in all other avenues of life. I see this behavior at work all the time since I work with engineers. I notice that the little nerdy guys try extra hard to dominate me in the work environment to get back at people like me that forced them into a locker when they were younger. I use to do composite stress analysis on the 787-8. Being athletic and fit was a disadvantage. Some of the people that aren’t tried extra hard to beat me down. This is the same syndrome that Losh has. It’s little man’s syndrome. I do think that is a real factor in life and that is the situation I see in losh.

  17. 17
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Erik @ 12

    1) There has yet to be a closed and recorded sale there with financing since 2010, so I still say we have no hard evidence that lenders will lend. Even if the most recent sale(s) can get financing, then you have the issue of will it appraise at the “no law suit” price without any recent sales in that price range to support the appraised value. In other words even with financing being an option, there still may need to be a large down payment to clear the gap between agreed purchase price and appraised value based on recent past sales. It takes a bit of time for comps to build up at the “no lawsuit” price, unless they comp off of sales in other complexes, which is possible in the instant case.

    2) You have to ask yourself why the lenders won’t lend in a lawsuit for the answer to the rest of your question. In some cases the end of the lawsuit ends up with the HOA needing a special assessment to pay the legal fees and/or judgment. That is why lenders won’t get into the middle of the unknown outcome. It is not merely the lawsuit being lifted, but whether the nature of the suit will result in a large payout.

    Even without a large payout, there could be legal fees that impact the finances by “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul” that could have long term consequences on their reserve position. i.e. They may have the money to pay the judgment and legal fees, but that may have been the money needed for a new roof down the road. No HOA that I know of collects earmarked funds for legal fees.

    3) There are better ways to play a short term situation against a future gain, than to play Russian Roulette with a cash only lawsuit issue. Most notably a building that has collected all of the monies for run of the mill improvements like new siding, new roof and or new paint, but the work is not started or in progress. Those can usually be bought with financing and sell at a discount prior to and during the repairs. It’s a safer near immediate return, and does not require all cash to do it.

  18. 18
    corndogs says:

    RE: David Losh @ 4 – “All of the reports, statistics, market trend lines, and over all market analysis have fallen.”

    Really? Point us to the data dumby…

  19. 19

    RE: Erik @ 14
    So short people are bad, and old people are bad, according to you, who claims to be here to learn. Ardell has provided great advice to you, and I hope you take it. But…without her heels, she’s three foot six, and she was Abraham Lincoln’s first real estate agent.

  20. 20
    Jonness says:

    By corndogs @ 18:

    RE: David Losh @ 4 – “All of the reports, statistics, market trend lines, and over all market analysis have fallen.”

    Really? Point us to the data dumby…


    Common misspelling of the word dummy, almost always used by the people who can easily be described by the word itself.”

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