The Most Remarkable Thing About Seattle Real Estate in 2019?
It was the least remarkable year in almost a decade.
Let’s talk about the thing you likely care most about. The median sales price:
Houses and Townhouses:
During most of 2019, our median sales price was lower than it was in 2018. Seattle home prices saw the usual price increases through early summer, then it levels out and does a gradual decline at the end of year. Interesting to note… The median sales price in December is almost the same for the past 3 years.
Not as smooth and predictable for condos. 2019 was like a puppy at his first day at doggie daycare. All over the place! Ups, downs and obviously at least one nap in August. Condo prices don’t follow the consistent annual trends that houses do, so timing the market is trickier when you are buying or selling a condo. Seattle condo prices are unpredictable!
Supply and Demand Heavily Impacted the Market:
Seattle real estate doesn’t exist in a bubble. It is influenced by global economies, trade wars, the influence of our major employers (Boeing, Amazon and others) and by good old fashioned supply and demand. We had a lot more houses, townhouses, and condos for sale in 2019 than we did in 2016,2017 and early 2018. But we had a better ratio of buyers to available properties than we did during the steep drop in the Seattle housing market during the last 6 months of 2018.
Houses and Townhouses:
For most of the year, we had more homes for sale that were selling (meaning the buyers had several options). In December, we saw the number of sold properties EXCEED the number of homes available for sale. That was really common during the frenzy of the market, but not something we have seen since early 2018. The closer those lines get to each other, the more the seller is in charge and the more competition buyers see.
The Seattle condo market wasn’t as competitive as the house market. Condo buyers had the upper hand all year, with over double the number of available condos for sale compared to the number of active buyers. The supply and demand did tighten up in December for condos also, but not to the extreme that it did for houses.
The Seattle real estate market typically ebbs and flows during the course of a year, and it actually did in Seattle in 2019. Long gone are the frantic and relentless month-over-month price increases and homes flying off the market in under a week. 2019 was still a competitive market for buyers looking for houses under $500,000. The Seattle condo market continued to be soft, with a steady amount of inventory and condos taking an average of a month to get an offer.
Looking forward to 2020:
You will have to wait for that! My 2020 predictions blog will be out the first week of February.