Seattle Co-ops. 2017 Year in Review


In 2017, there were a modest 62 co-ops sold in the city of Seattle.   When we compare that to the 11,241 total “living spaces” that sold in 2017, co-ops represent less than half of one percent of all sales.   Co-ops are clumped under the condo category for data reporting purposes.  In 2017, in the City of Seattle, 2,722 condos sold.  That means that co-ops are still only 2.3% of all condo sales.

Watch the video here.

  Since co-ops have a small number of units sell, it’s a bit trickier to spot trends on a monthly basis.  When we look at the annual sales data, we can see trends more clearly.

Median Sale Price of Co-ops in 2017:

Due to the limited number of sales, the median price was quite the roller coaster month-to month.   Let’s look at the 5 year trend in median prices:

If we take the average of the median price (wrap your head around THAT math), we get average median prices as follows:

  • 2013 = $171,519
  • 2014 = $196,129 (13% increase Y/Y)
  • 2015 = $187,604 (4% decrease Y/Y)
  • 2016 = $255,727 (36% increase Y/Y)
  • 2017 = $282,644 (10% increase Y/Y)

Let’s compare median prices of co-ops and condos:

The median sales price of a co-op was 37.5% less than the median sales price of a condo in 2017.

Why do we sell so few co-ops?

First of all, the total number of co-ops in Seattle is less than 5% of all condos city-wide. The co-op was most popular in the first half of the 1900’s, with NO new co-ops being built since the 1960’s.  Also, due to the fact that co-op buildings tend to have far less units per building, and that the purchase process involves an interview with the existing owners for approval as a member of the community, these dwellings often attract homeowners that plan to STAY in the unit for many years to come.  I guesstimate that 1/3 of the total co-ops in Seattle still have the original owners!

Condos tend to be starter homes or “transitional” spaces.  Co-ops tend to attract buyers looking to put down permanent roots and be deeply involved with their building community.  They stay much longer than condo residents, therefore the much lower than average turnover rates.

In Conclusion:

Co-ops are a GREAT choice if you are on a limited budget or plan to stay in the home for over 5 years.   Just be aware that because of the limited number of buyers interested in co-ops, your resale value will always be less than if you had purchased a condo.  The good news is that co-ops DO increase in value at about the same rate as condos.  And any appreciation is good news!


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