When our worlds changed seemingly overnight, Seattle real estate STILL found a way to power through.
What happened to home prices in 2020?
When looking at houses (this includes townhouses but NOT condos), we see two spikes in prices. One in April, from people panic buying in late February and early March before the initial Stay Home orders came out, and another in September as we had a delay in our seasonal surge of home sales. Although December saw prices dip a little, we still have a median sales price $50,000 higher this year than we did last year.
Condos are a different story. We had a similar spike, but this was BEFORE the Stay Home orders, and was a result of the strong early market. Prices had a peak in October and November, and that was due to the low number of overall condo sales combined with the 10 BRAND NEW condos (McGraw Square) on Queen Anne that all sold for over $1M. Prices took a drastic dip in December, and are 8% lower than this same time last year.
How 2020 Prices Compared to Previous Years:
Somehow, we ended up with record high prices this year. We were lagging behind the peak prices of 2018 until August, and then ended the year with the highest prices to date for August through December.
Ouch. Condo prices are the lowest they have been in 4 years. 2016 was the last time prices were this low in December. The condo market, and most specifically the city core (Downtown, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne) have been hit the hardest.
Did People Really Buy Houses and Condos in 2020?
They sure did! The seasonality of it shifted due to the Stay Home orders, but overall, MORE properties sold in 2020 than the year before.
We sold 11% MORE houses this year. We lagged in April and May, but then came back strong with houses flying off the shelves the rest of the year.
We squeaked out a 2% increase in the number of condos sold compared to last year, but that is not much to brag about since 2019 was a terrible year for condo sales. A part of this increase is due to the fact that “common interest communities” are now classified as condos, so when a developer splits a lot and builds 2-3 “houses”, they get clumped into the condo category. I see this a big issue going forward as it will likely skew the data, but that is more of my problem than yours ;).
Bigger WAS Better!
To sum it all up, demand for big houses was the biggest shift in buyer behavior. The majority of people buying homes in 2020 shifted from wanting a smaller home in a closer-to-work environment to a big house and WHO CARES about the commute. Demand was through the roof if the outlying counties, but Seattle did hold it’s own. For those that feared a mass exodus out of Seattle, they were half right when we talk about condos, but dead wrong when we talk about houses. The Seattle market is still strong with no data pointing to the collapse so many speculated about.