Seattle & South King Sales Up as Eastside Sales Slip

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 September data:

  • low end: $240,000-$395,000
  • mid range: $350,000-$724,500
  • high end: $509,000-$1,706,000

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 middle and high tiers fell between September and October, but the low tier rose slightly. The low tier rose 2.4 percent in the month, the middle tier decreased 8.2 percent, and the high tier lost 3.7 percent.

Area 520, which includes Bellevue west of I-405, Medina, and Hunts Point, hit an all-time high median price of $1,706,000 on 39 sales—the sales highest volume for that region in over a year.

Twenty-two of the twenty-nine NWMLS regions in King County with single-family home sales in October had a higher median price than a year ago, while just twelve had a month-over-month increase in the median price.

Here’s how the median prices changed year-over-year. Low tier: up 7.6 percent, middle tier: 0.0 percent change, high tier: up 5.5 percent.

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 the low tier regions of South King County gained ground in October. Seattle gained slightly as well, while Eastside sales dipped. This shift in the geographic sales mix away from the expensive regions and toward the cheaper regions explains much of the month-over-month dip in the county-wide median price.

Year-over-year sales were mixed across the three tiers. Compared to a year ago, sales increased 9.4 percent in the low tier, rose 1.5 percent in the middle tier, and dropped 3.3 percent in the high tier.

As of October 2014, 32.7 percent of sales were in the low end regions (up from 30.5 percent a year ago), 35.8 percent in the mid range (down from 36.1 percent a year ago), and 31.5 percent in the high end (down from 33.4 percent a year ago).

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

Interesting to see a dip in overall sales on the Eastside as sales in Seattle and South King jumped up quite a bit from September. Most likely all three tiers will see a dip in sales next month.

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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

    So the middle tier , YOY, changed by 0.0%? When was the last time we didn’t see YOY gains ? A couple of years?
    I’m not suggesting that it’s time to “run for the hills”. But that, along with the strength of the low tier(sometimes the last gap forward in a market about to turn, ) there are definitely clouds on the horizon. Just noting something I haven’t observed in a while.

  2. 2
    Shail says:

    What do you mean by that? Do you expect a decline in the middle tier housing market for the eastside? Asking because I am actively following that market.

  3. 3
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 1
    You are a pretty smart guy and you have a lifetime more real estate experience than me. That said, to me it appears that all the indicators are saying we will have big gains this year. The feds will likely keep mortgage rates low in 2015, inventory in Seattle is low, and the unemployment is low in Seattle. Those things should drive housing prices up. It seems more like prices slumped and now they are headed back up in 2015.

    Do you have a specific reason that you think prices will decline other than historical trends?

  4. 4

    By Shail @ 2:

    What do you mean by that? Do you expect a decline in the middle tier housing market for the eastside? Asking because I am actively following that market.

    I’m not predicting anything. It’s just that in the mid tier, it was said in the post), ” Here’s how the median prices changed year-over-year. Low tier: up 7.6 percent, middle tier: 0.0 percent change, high tier: up 5.5 percent.” Mid range did not change. Year over year numbers have been rising for the last couple of years for all the tiers. Sure, it not rising could be an anomaly, and it’ll reverse and go back up. But we’ve seen some pretty swift and significant price rises, and despite what some real estate agents say, prices don’t just keep going up. What I expect is that prices may continue to rise for a little while, albeit at a slower rate. And then the market will take a breather, with stagnant or slightly declining prices for a little while. I don’t expect anything like 2007, unless Amazon decides to move all of their employees to Arkansas or something. Seattle has historically been a boom and bust town, and I’m not sure that chapter is over. When you have a vested interest in something, it’s hard to see other possibilities.

  5. 5

    RE: Erik @ 3
    Where did I say that I thought prices would decline? I think 2015, prices will probably rise a bit more, but after that is anybody’s guess, probably a small decline . Why would I think that? It’s not historical trends. It’s gut feeling. Which has been wrong plenty of times before..

  6. 6
    BacktoBasic says:

    I would expect rent increase due to $15 min wage increase. Population growth drive rental demand up. Short term interest still be low. As economy improving, bank will loose lending standard to make more loan to earn more profit. People will looking to buy. 5~6% YOY gain is pretty healthy gain in Seattle area.

  7. 7
    Dave McConnell says:

    Just happened to stumble upon your site. Quite interesting. When I look at the sales maps, I see home prices divided not by area of the county, but by race. Neighborhoods with large minority populations have lower home prices that ‘whiter’ areas. The maps suggest that when generating comparable home prices, agents and brokers, unknowingly are promoting racism.

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