Cheap South King Sales Edge Up, Seattle 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 December data:

  • low end: $252,500-$377,500
  • mid range: $383,975-$719,000
  • high end: $480,000-$1,960,000

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-median in the Eastside regions retreated from the all-time high set in December, falling from $703,200 to $660,600 in January. The median in the low and mid regions both increased slightly. Month-over-month, the median price in the low tier rose 5.3 percent, the middle tier increased 2.1 percent, and the high tier lost 6.1 percent.

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

Here’s how the median prices changed year-over-year. Low tier: up 15.4 percent, middle tier: up 21.6 percent, high tier: up 8,2 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

Sales in all three regions fell dramatically between December and January, and the mix changed slightly away from the Seattle middle tier and into the South King low tier. Month-over-month sales were down 28.6 percent in the low tier, down 35.7 percent in the middle tier, and down 32.9 percent in the high tier.

Year-over-year sales increased in the low and high tiers, but fell in the middle tier. Compared to a year ago, sales increased 2.8 percent in the low tier, fell 2.4 percent in the middle tier, and increased 7.4 percent in the high tier.

As of January 2015, 35.7 percent of sales were in the low end regions (up slightly from 35.5 percent a year ago), 33.1 percent in the mid range (down from 34.7 percent a year ago), and 31.3 percent in the high end (up from 29.8 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

No big changes from the sellers’ market, but the year-over-year sales changes did weaken in January. It will be interesting to see if sales come roaring back this 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
    Rudolfo says:

    Low inventory in Seattle seems to be pushing prices higher. It should be an interesting Spring!
    Oh wait. I just looked outside. It is Spring!

  2. 2
    Goblue72 says:

    Well, it’s just anecdotal but just went under contract our house we are selling in NE Seattle. 6 offers, all pre-inspected, most waived the appraisal. 5% over asking. YoY appreciation of 11.5 percent when I annualize the total gross appreciation.

    Frothy? I don’t know, but tight inventory for anything that’s not a dog.

  3. 3

    Here Comes the Millenials to Control the Seattle Real Estate Market

    After all, they’re basically the single demographic group in Seattle that have delayed purchasing due to low wages and hence are interested to buy in. Snippet:

    “….Younger Americans who have been locked out of the housing recovery as lenders raised standards and wages stagnated are getting a boost this year. Federal regulators late last year adjusted mortgage rules to reduce risks for lenders and cut premiums and down payments for lower-income borrowers. The slowdown of home purchases by investors has also created an opening for first-time buyers.

    They “are stepping a toe in the water in 2015,” said Richardson. “There are fewer cash buyers, fewer investors, and that gives people who actually need financing some breathing room.”…”

    Thank God I bought in a market price level they barely qualify for. It also appears from this article that the “old money” is running on empty….the main driver for higher priced Seattle real estate. I don’t see the Millenials generally wanting the large new homes they’re building in the under $300K prices in SE King County….they don’t qualify and even if they did; the taxes, maintenance and utilities would bankrupt ’em.

  4. 4
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Goblue72 @ – That’s pretty good. How many years had you owned the home?

  5. 5

    RE: Blurtman @

    Yes Blurtman

    But timing on low inventory higher prices locations [IMO the Lynnwood and Kirkland areas may be included in the N. Seattle area, but are definitely not the expensive limited inventory, i.e., Greenlake $1M circa 1920 museum pieces]…IMO, most buyers consider their neighborhood somehow especially special, especially if they recently bought or are planning a recent sale.

    Ya see why I need to see the 5-10 year historical property assessment trending in writing on any neighborhood’s specific unit, not just verbal assurances what it should sell for from the sellers/owners on an unscientific data group of an unit or two?

  6. 6
    Erik says:

    RE: Rudolfo @
    That is what I have repeated on this site again and again. Low inventory means prices will go up.

  7. 7
    Goblue72 says:

    RE: Blurtman @ – Actually did my math wrong – forgot about the escalation clauses. Final price 11.5% over list. 15.4% YoY appreciation. Crazy.

  8. 8

    We Won’t See 5% Mortgage Interest rates in 2015 Redfin Alleges

    Sounds good, except for the buyers barely squeaking by on the rates 7 weeks ago.

    “…“Rates have been freakishly low, so they’re now looking more normal, not less,” Nela Richardson, chief economist for Seattle-based property-data provider Redfin Corp., said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Still, I think rates will stay low through 2015. There’s no risk of them going above 5 percent, and that’s good news for homeowners this year.”

    Housing demand remains uneven even with an improved job market. U.S. single-family housing starts declined 2 percent to a 1.07 million annual rate in January as demand cooled from an almost seven-year high, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

    Mortgage applications decreased 13 percent in the week ended Feb. 13, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The refinancing portion of the mortgage market fell to 66 percent of total applications from 69 percent the previous week….”

  9. 9

    RE: softwarengineer @

    Home Owners Generally Hate Schiller for His Honest Pragmatism

    The Millenials outside of home ownership applaud him.–ever–robert-shiller-174038372.html

  10. 10
    Rudolfo says:

    In the context of the residential real estate market in Seattle, “low inventory” is a specific term for “supply”. It is simple economics really.

  11. 11
    Jonness says:

    Bellingham named as hottest RE market in the nation. Seattle and Portland not far behind.

  12. 12

    By Rudolfo @ :

    In the context of the residential real estate market in Seattle, “low inventory” is a specific term for “supply”. It is simple economics really.

    I would view “inventory” to be more a spot on a line, where “supply” as an economic term would be the entire line. Although even that is difficult given the differences in individual houses.

  13. 13
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Jonness @ – I noticed that just trolling on Zillow. But why? Canadian bootlegger money? Vancouver Chinese wealth migration? The growing airport has to be a plus, but what is Bellingham’s economy?

  14. 14
    Mr.Chang says:

    “Seattle is now ranked #6 top market in the world,” said Realogics owner Dean Jones of Sotheby’s International Realty.

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