More Sales Still Happening in Seattle

It’s time once again to 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: $237,268-$412,500
  • mid range: $327,000-$737,550
  • high end: $477,500-$1,575,000

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 all three tiers rose between March and April. The low tier rose 1.3 percent in the month, the middle tier increased 5.5 percent, and the high tier gained 4.8 percent. Meanwhile, the median price in all three tiers is still up year-over-year. Here’s how the median prices changed year-over-year. Low tier: +8.0%, middle tier: +1.5%, high tier: +6.8%.

Next up, the percentage of each month’s closed sales that took place in each of the three regions.

% of Total King Co. SFH Sales by NWMLS Area

The share of sales in Seattle fell off dramatically in April, with South King and the Eastside both gaining ground. Year-over-year sales were down 3.0 percent in the low tier, up 5.6 percent in the middle tier, and down 2.4 percent in the high tier.

As of April 2014, 33.7 percent of sales were in the low end regions, 34.5 percent in the mid range, and 31.8 percent in the high end. A year ago the mid range had less of the share and the high range more: In April 2013 the low end made up 34.7 percent of the sales, the mid range was 32.7 percent, and the high end was 32.6 percent.

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

In the pre-bubble market between 2001 and 2004, the volume of sales in the low tier typically had the largest share (35.8 percent on average across the period), followed by the middle tier (32.6 percent), followed by the high tier (31.6 percent). Even with the decline last month, the middle tier still has the lead with the most sales, which is historically abnormal.

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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

    As Retired Folks Downsize

    New folks leave Seattle and vice versa for job transfers [I see a lot of Californians gifted at marijuana cultivation coming to Washington as the aerospace engineers go to California]; homes will be traded and sold. The retirees waiting around for a steep price on their homes will eventually be forced to sell anyway [many, very soon], as they get too old [and many too poor] to keep up on the costs of home ownership.

    Homes will sell.

  2. 2
    BacktoBasic says:

    Many baby boomers will be retired and will be downsizing and relocated to warmer and sunny places. New graduates with heavy student loan will come to Seattle for jobs. They will choose to live in rental houses. The great recession teach us lesson that mobility and liquidty is the key to financial freedom. This trend will go on for decades. Seattle house will change hand to hand.

  3. 3

    RE: BacktoBasic @ 2

    Step One is for College Graduates to Find a Job

    A blogger’s comments I agree with, even though I wish it weren’t true, from San Francisco:

    “..SecBorders says:
    May 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm
    There is no shortage of US citizens with qualifications to work in STEM. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have a family friend who has a Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford and who one year ago completed a Master’s Degree from UC Berkeley in Computer Science. One year later, she is still unemployed. She is a US citizen, with top notch qualifications, and no one wants to hire her. So much for the lies about there not being enough US citizens to work in the STEM field.
    Where are all the Democrat politicians that are supposedly for being for women’s rights? How do they help American women by bringing in cheap laborer from foreign countries to take otherwise good paying jobs at “American” companies? Many of these jobs could be filled by women who are citizens of the US, the people they claim to represent. In the past women were not hired for the best jobs and were paid less simply because they were a women. But how is the end result now any different when women US citizens are forced out of better paying jobs in an entire industry into lower paying jobs elsewhere? Is it ok as long as male US citizens are also being forced out of jobs, so the discrimination is “equal”? What does this say about us as a country and what does it say about our economic future?
    China and India are growing, and our economy is stagnating. Our economic future depends upon successful R&D of products to sell in the global marketplace. If we discourage our most capable citizens from entering the fields that produce our intellectual capital and instead fill these jobs with a revolving door of citizens from China and Indian who will then take what they have learned and return to China and India to build our competitors, our long term economic prospects are not good….”

    Step 2, stop lying about technical job shortages in America or “the STEMs come equipped with on-the-job training from college”….all “hogwash”; on-the-job training required at all professional jobs comes from “on-the-job”. Those that speak English and understand our culture have the advantage to learn business skills needed at any company….but they have one weakness, they like a livable wage.

  4. 4
    Blake says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3
    Well said SWE…
    You may have seen this already, but the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has been trying to debunk the propaganda put out by the large corporations about this issue:

    And this is good as well:

    … it’s all about $. They’ll lie and cheat and do anything to keep wages down and profits up.

    And this is in the courts right now… amazing:

    And this part is classic: “Later that year, in September 2005, eBay CEO Meg Whitman called Schmidt complaining that Google’s recruiters were hurting profits and business at eBay. Schmidt emailed Google’s “Executive Management Committee”—the company’s top executives— summarizing Whitman’s, and “the valley”’s view that competing for workers by offering higher pay packages was “unfair”


  5. 5
    BacktoBasic says:

    40% of the US senior has minimal saving for their retirement. The biggest asset is their house. It is impossible to get the equity loan now. The only thing to pay for retirement is either sell or reverse mortgage their houses. In Seattle due to the weather, an old house 40 or 50 year old smells terrible bad. Being in an estate sale house, have to get out quick to breath fresh air. The old has passed away, he probably has not enough saving for repairing and updating this 1950 house. In the next couple of years, more and more this kind of house will be on the market.

  6. 6
    mike says:

    RE: BacktoBasic @ 4 – At that age most of the homes have already turned over. I bought one of the last original owner 1950’s houses in my neighborhood. There still some coming on the market, but out of the 14 houses on my street only 1 is still owned by the original family. Most are still in salvageable shape, but the ones that aren’t quickly get torn down and replaced with $1M homes. The last 2 of these 50’s estate same homes went for $550K and $580K – both with no updates, but good bones. There’s another tear down under contract now – I’m waiting to see what that one goes for.

  7. 7
    BacktoBasic says:

    Due to Seattle weather and construction material, a house useful life is not long. So the 580k that old house buys you basically the land. This kind of cycle goes on and on. Today’s new construction would be another torn down in another 60 years.

  8. 8

    RE: BacktoBasic @ 5

    A Lot of Delayed Maintenance is Roofs In Seattle

    The water seeps in between the sheet rock and the exterior panel causing mildew. The only solution is what I think Kary did to his old house…..tear all the sheet rock out, replace it [at this point I’d do the plumbing and electrical too], repaint and wish you’d just bulldozed it down and started all over again….

  9. 9

    RE: softwarengineer @ 8 – I did that just as part of a major remodel, not for water issues. The house had no insulation in the walls prior, as was common in houses built around here in our “mild” climate.

  10. 10
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3

    Interesting, but we don’t know the whole story. The woman mentioned may have facebook photos of herself doing drugs, or other questionable behavior. Companies all do background checks that include social media, police records, etc.

    You will never be told why, but nobody will ever hire you.

  11. 11
    mike says:

    RE: BacktoBasic @ 7 – Tear down value is lower – they sell in the $300K-$400K range. Houses priced at $500K+ have some value in the structure in this neighborhood. So far this year the highest any builder has paid for a scraper is $380K.

  12. 12

    RE: Macro Investor @ 10

    I Agree

    Its a snapshot in time and not a true general indicator.

    The general “Engineer Shortage Myth” is best described by the IEEE:

    “…And yet, alongside such dire projections, you’ll also find reports suggesting just the opposite—that there are more STEM workers than suitable jobs. One study found, for example, that wages for U.S. workers in computer and math fields have largely stagnated since 2000. Even as the Great Recession slowly recedes, STEM workers at every stage of the career pipeline, from freshly minted grads to mid- and late-career Ph.D.s, still struggle to find employment as many companies, including Boeing, IBM, and Symantec, continue to lay off thousands of STEM workers….”

    Its another snapshot in time too, but agrees with the general late 2013 IEEA findings on how engineers are sufferring during this so called recovery recently:

    Two engineers have been recently laid off from my Toastmasters Club….both worked in Seattle….about 20% of the club membership.

  13. 13

    Kiss Boeing Good-bye?

    China successfully tested its first commercial jet.

    “…..The C919 is an official initiative “for China to re-capture the value in aircraft manufacturing that currently goes offshore to Airbus and Boeing,” said industry analyst Will Horton of CAPA Centre for Aviation. “With such a large objective, accomplishments will come gradually.”

    The company has received 400 orders from 16 customers, including aircraft leasing company GE Capital Aviation Services. Low cost carrier Ryanair and British airlines have signed memorandums of understanding about their intention to purchase planes, Tian said….”–finance.html

    Many of the bloggers to the news article above alleged Chinese “Reverse Engineering” of Boeing/Airbus products….I agree.

    By 2018 the Chinese will have a bigger commericial jet coming on the maket too.

  14. 14
    Swillbilly says:

    @softwareengineer – I agree we have some improvements to make on the jobs/economy front, but as a person with STEM qualifications there seem to be a fair amount of opportunities in Seattle (it took me about a month to find a job when I moved here 2 years ago).

    What does everyone think about the article below that explains the global real estate market on Vancouver, BC housing prices. I could see Seattle experiencing some of the same factors – has anyone seen this happening here? Maybe the local market/economy will matter less in the future as international buyers park money in desirable cities.

  15. 15
    JWS says:

    RE: Swillbilly @ 14

    A fascinating article, thanks for sharing. I agree that in today’s global market the local economy has less of an impact on home prices in some markets…..some larger cities I imagine.

    Between foreign buyers and the hedge fund/private equity groups, a whole lot of money can come from far away locations. I’m very curious to see what happens with Vancouver prices over the next 5 years.

  16. 16
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Swillbilly @ 14 – Are the priced out Vancouver natives consumers of Chinese manufactured goods? Oh, the humanity!

  17. 17
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Swillbilly @ 14 – ” I agree we have some improvements to make on the jobs/economy front, but as a person with STEM qualifications there seem to be a fair amount of opportunities in Seattle.”

    As someone who has a little bit of input into hiring decisions, I would *never* hire someone who retrained into STEM with no experience. The IEEE article is correct – the STEM shortage is a complete myth, and the retraining “meme” is totally false.

    I think you’re missing the point. Those who get back into college to try to get a STEM degree (or worse, some bogus retraining) will fail. Additionally, the high school kids who hear the STEM nonsense should not try for a STEM degree unless they’ve got good math skills. Math skills are already known at the high school level – they can’t be gained in college.

  18. 18
    Erik says:


  19. 19
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Erik @ 18 – Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such an idiotic response. Are you Gabbo? You’re an idiot, and I’m sincerely sorry for anyone who has to report to you.

    I love Linear Algebra, but there’s no way it could be understood by someone who doesn’t understand high school AP math. Do you disagree???

    A 40-year-old who buys into the STEM propoganda will presumably pay for the linear algegra lesson, but there’s no way I would ever hire them.

    Weird – it appears you’ve edited your post at 18 since I replied. Are you drunk?

  20. 20
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 17

    It is probably true that a person’s math aptitude is known by the time they’ve gone through high school.

    Interesting article today — it’s late I’ll let folks look it up themselves — apparently apple, google and a few other large tech companies have settled with the DOJ for conspiring to fix/lower wages of their engineers. A class action may include 1 million workers, and 21 companies (cough, Microsoft, cough). So if you haven’t had a raise since 2000, or you aren’t getting call backs from job applications — it may not be entirely because of the global economy.

  21. 21
    Erik says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 13
    This is a huge deal. This has been in the works many years and Boeing is pretty scared. Airbus and Boeing have already discounted their narrow bodies to try and get rid of Comac.

    If they are successful with this plane and they are also successful with the widebody, profit margins for airplanes will go down and aerospace workers will be paid less. The day of the arrogant aerospace executive will be over.

  22. 22
    Erik says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 19
    No idea what you are talking about man… I don’t edit my comments. I keep things real. You need to chill out and put the crack pipe down and get some sleep. I am not sure what you are using, but whatever it is, I want some.

    I treat others with respect Chris. Calling me names like “idiot” is a little offensive and it does hurt. I hope tomorrow brings a better day for you and you don’t feel the need to attack others as you have attacked me this evening. I am going to go to sleep now and try to get past this recent attack.

  23. 23
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 12

    Engineers often have the very narrow skills, or outdated skills. They are the ones who get laid off and have nowhere to go. Many were lazy or in denial. They should have seen it coming years ago and updated their skills.

    I have to laugh at referring to IBM or Symantec employees as “engineers”. Programmers are not engineers. This is a field where someone can get in with no math background and little education. I’ve seen many software “engineers” with zero science and math background.

  24. 24
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: Erik @ 22
    At least you realized you totally misread his comment. But do you always have to be such an @ss?

  25. 25
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 20 – One could wonder why there are no indictments, if one thought this were a nation that upheld the rule of law:

    I’m, quite shocked to realize that Russia probably has the same amount of freedom as the United States. I never thought I’d say such a thing, but given the drone assassinations and the Guantamimo “situation” I think it is a fair statement. I’d love to hear from servicemen who disagree….

    I had a clearance, but am doubtful that I’d be able to get a clearance today..

  26. 26
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Erik @ 22 – “No idea what you are talking about man… I don’t edit my comments. ”

    Perhaps it is my browser, but for #18 I only see “hmmm”

    Can others reply as to what they see? I have javascript disabled, so it is possible I don’t get the full picture. Otherwise, if Eric’s #18 reply contains anything other than the word “hmmm” then we have a fun discussion topic.

  27. 27
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 26 – All I see is “hmmm”

  28. 28
    boater says:

    ChrisM is correct that there are many people with engineering or software degrees that are never going to get hired. Part of the problem is the degree factories that graduate incompetent students. Part is a failure of companies to be willing to train employees. I’ve worked at average tech companies and top tech companies. The average ones tend to hire based on who they can get cheaper and train to be functional. The best want people who need no managing to get a job done. The wage discrepancies are are wide. If you’re an average programmer who wants an above average wage due to experience you’re in a bad position.

    Macro Investor – you’re correct many people in software have mediocre math backgrounds but many of the ones at places like Amazon Google Facebook and Microsoft have excellent maybe and science backgrounds. Better than many engineers I’ve known.

  29. 29
    Erik says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 24
    I wasn’t trying to be condescending macro idiot. Note to self… Don’t say “hmmm” or people freak out.

    I am waiting for wreckingbull to come running out of the shadows to attack me for no reason as macro idiot and Chris did.

    I think you owe me am apology Chris. I will check back later to read your apology.

  30. 30
    Erik says:

    RE: boater @ 28
    I had a class were I programmed matlab to calculate math problems and create graphs. We wrote algorithms to closely estimate answers that can not be calculated directly. I would talk to programmers to get help writing the code. The people I talked to were supposedly very smart. They did not understand the math part. They could write the code just fine, they just didn’t understand the math behind it. I was surprised how little math programmers really know. I would have thought there education would have included more math. I learned programmers learn a skill to write code and that is it. Low level thinking.

  31. 31
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: Erik @ 29

    Hey, moron. I saw your brain dead comment before you changed it. Don’t try to lie. Somebody really needs to punch this punk’s face.

  32. 32
    Blake says:

    By ChrisM @ 25:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 20 – One could wonder why there are no indictments, if one thought this were a nation that upheld the rule of law:

    I’m, quite shocked to realize that Russia probably has the same amount of freedom as the United States. I never thought I’d say such a thing, but given the drone assassinations and the Guantamimo “situation” I think it is a fair statement. I’d love to hear from servicemen who disagree….

    I had a clearance, but am doubtful that I’d be able to get a clearance today..

    Mark Ames and colleagues at Pando media have been doing the best work on this story…
    … huge, explosive… it lays bare the reality of the “new economy” and the bahavior of these tech titans… and large firms in general. They hate to COMPETE!
    Monopsonies, monopolies, oligopolies, cartels… THAT’s the new economy and the natural result of concentration of power.

  33. 33
    Azucar says:

    If we could vote someone off of the blog, I would vote for Erik.

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