2015 Real Estate Year in Review

Let’s start with Single Family Homes under $1 Million:

fremont house

Average Sales Price:
The price of a single family home in Seattle just keeps climbing. As of December 2015, the average sold price was $566,740. That is almost 15% higher than December of 2014.

avsold SF

Volume of Homes Sold:

This is the least impressive metric. We saw our usual seasonal spike of home sales in the summer months. Overall volume is much below what it could be. The lack of homes for sale combined with the rapid price increases driving some first time buyers out of the market all contribute to less homes sold overall.


When looking at condos in Seattle under $1 million:

Mosler Lofts

Average Sales Prices:

It’s been a weird year for condos. As the price of the entry level single family homes exceeds the affordability for the median income in Seattle, a lot of people that would have originally preferred a single family home are now in the condo market. With increased demand comes increased prices. In 2015 we also finally saw the first new construction condos beginning to sell. The number of those new units is only a small percentage of the overall sales, but it drove up the average price.

condo sold

Percentage of List Price to Sales Price:
Condos were selling for a lot closer to the original list price, and were selling in longer amounts of time. The demand for condos is still exceeds the amount of units for sale, but condo buyers seem to move a bit slower and pay prices closer to list.
It is easier to understand the actual value of a condo than it is a single family. With the availability of direct comparable (often in the same building), it is easy to know what a fair price is. That information may be one of the factors that kept sold prices in alignment with list prices.


From dollars to cents.  The most and least expensive sales of 2015:

Sold for $5.75 million in October:


  • Located at 344 McGilvra Blvd E
  • NWMLS #821520
  • Built in 2012
  • 5 bedrooms, 7.75 bath rooms
  • 9,820 square feet of living space
  • Sold in 123 days for 93% of the list price
  • The buyer paid all cash!

Sold for $62,000 in February


  • Located at 10459 Des Moines Memorial Dr #S203
  • NWMLS #725727
  • Built in 1969
  • 2 bedrooms, 2 bath rooms
  • 999 square feet of living space
  • Sold in 9 days for 95% of the list price
  • The buyer paid all cash!

In conclusion:

It was a year of desperately low inventory and rapid price increases.  Rumors of a “bubble” are swirling around.  My predictions for 2016 are:

  1. Continued price growth, just at a more modest rate of 5% to 7%
  2. Continued low inventory.  I think we will see an uptick in the amount of available homes, but not nearly enough to satisfy the back-log of demand.  2016 will still be a sellers market.
  3. Interest rates are going to continue to rise.  With each jump on the average APR for a mortgage, we will see a spike in sales (classic consumer reactive behavior), then a leveling off in purchases (as the higher rates often push out buyers that were on the border of affordability).
  4. 2016 should be more of the same, just a little less extreme.

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