Seattle Real Estate – 2019 in Review

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.  

Condos:

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.

Condos:

  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.

In Conclusion:

  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.

2019 Seattle Real Estate Year in Review

Watch the Video Here

Download the video transcript here.

Looking forward to 2020:

  You will have to wait for that!  My 2020 predictions blog will be out the first week of February.

Seattle Housing Market – December 2019

This month for Seattle real estate was anything but predictable and sleepy.  

#1 – How much??!?!?

  What we care most about is the home prices in Seattle.  Let’s take a look at the median sales price in Seattle:

The past 10 years of median sales prices for condos and houses in Seattle

Seattle home prices dipped $10,000 from November, but are exactly the same as they were this time of year in 2018.  Seattle condo prices went up $22,500 from November prices, and the median sales price is down only $2,500 from this time last year.  The Seattle housing market turned out to be a lot more stable and healthy that I had predicted at the start of the year.

When we look at the past decade, we easily see the sharp rise in values from 2011 to 2017.  And what we have had for the past two years resembles more of a balanced and healthy market, even if it has felt a bit chaotic and unbalanced.  It’s funny to look back and realize that we had been so accustomed to the madness of every increasing prices and competition, that once we got what we wanted, a more balanced market, we acted like the sky was falling.  SMH.

#2 – How competitive??!?!?

December is historically a FANTASTIC month to be a buyer,  You often have reduced choices, but far less competition from other buyers, and really motivated sellers.  This month turned out to be the opposite.

WHOA!  For the first time since the peak of the market (May 2018), we saw the number of sold houses exceed the number of houses for sale.  Now it seems crazy to sell what you don’t have, but it was common to have the sold number exceed the total available homes number during 2016, 2017 and early 2018.  In 2018, there were 826 houses for sale, and only 484 sold.  The buyers came OUT this December.  If this continues, we will see steep month-over-month price increases follow.

#3 – How long??!?!?

  The market is still moving slowly, despite the increase in number of properties sold and the steady prices.   It took condos, on average, 52 days on the market before they got an accepted offer.  That is 10 days longer than November, and 12 days longer than December 2018.  What likely happened is that the surge of buyers was enough to finally get all those “Crusty Rusty” condos (the ones that had been on the market for over 90 days) interested buyers.

  Houses and townhouses took an average of 36 days to get an offer.  That is just 2 days slower than November, and the same as December 2018.  Only 19% of the homes that sold in December were Crusty Rusties, and 38% of the houses sold had been on the market for less than 2 weeks!

 

#4 – Other Fun Metrics

We saw inventory tighten in December, but not to the point where it had a huge impact on median sales prices.

  • Houses and townhouses sold for an average of 99% of list price
  • Condos sold for an average of 98% of list price
  • Houses are worth, on average, 82% more than they were a decade ago
  • Condos are worth, on average, 52% more than they were a decade ago

**  Stay tuned for my 2020 real estate predictions coming by early February  **

Watch the Video Here

Download the transcript here

Seattle Real Estate Trends – Episode 9 – 12/27/19

Who the heck buys a house the week of Christmas?  Who the heck puts their condo up for sale during Hanukkah?  

 

Turns out, lots of people!

 

Houses:

34 people put their home up for sale this week, and 45 people put in an offer on a house this week.   That is almost 80 people that went all-in on late December real estate.  And it might have worked out well for both buyers AND sellers this week.

We have only 10% of all the houses for sale in Seattle having been on the market for less than 2 weeks.  The Seattle housing market is over 50% of all houses for sale having been on the market for over 60 days!

Condos:

  8 brave souls decided to put their condo up for sale this week, and 6 buyers came out and put in offers on condos this week.  The Seattle condo market is sleepy.  Snooze fest.  Boring.  36 lucky buyers closed just in time for Christmas, and Hannah and Tim were one of those sets of people.  Congrats and welcome to the family kids!

Only 6% of all condos for sale have been on the market less than 2 weeks.  Any condo that goes up for sale this coming week and is priced right has a great chance of getting an offer the first week on market.  That would be a nice change of pace from the 30+ days it is taking for most condos to get an accepted offer lately.

It was a sleepy week, but a few bright spots here and there.   Watch the video below for more details.

Download the transcript here.

 

Seattle Real Estate Trends – Episode 8 – 12/20/19

The window of opportunity for buyers has officially closed.   We have seen a seasonally appropriate decline of total homes for sale, but we have not seen the buyer decline to match. 

For houses, buyer demand is down 12% over the last month, but the number of homes for sale is down by 35%.  That leaves a lot fewer homes for the active buyers, therefore increasing demand and creating competition.   Overall condo supply is down 31%, but buyer demand is actually 15% HIGHER than it was a month ago.  Since we had a surplus of condos for sale, the buyer demand has moved us entirely into a competitive market yet, but it has put some life back into a lagging condo market.

 

 

Watch the Video Here.

Download the transcript here.

 

Seattle Real Estate Trends – Episode 7 – 12/13/19

Before we dig into the weekly numbers, let’s zoom out.   In case you wonder why I think it’s so important to look at the number of active and pending properties, let’s look at the last 2 years at the drastic change in the levels of inventory:

 

Houses in Seattle Over the Past 2 Years:

The green line shows how many total houses (including townhouses) we have had for sale over the past year, and the blue area shows the number of pending (the time when an offer has been accepted on a property so it is no longer for sale, but the property has not yet officially sold).  Think back to to 2015, 2016, 2017 and the first half of 2018.  During that time we had record low inventory (homes for sale), and high demand.  That resulted in bidding wars and double digit price increases.  Then in April 2018, everything changed in an instant.   Notice how for the first time, the number of active listings exceeded the number of pending listings.   As the number of total listings almost doubled, we saw the seasonal decline in buyer activity.  This left home sellers and the media convinced that the market was crashing, therefore spurring more people to put their homes up for sale, making the situation even worse.  According to the graph above, the best time to be a buyer is when the green line is furthest from the blue area. 

Condos in Seattle Over the Past 2 Years:

Applying the same logic as we did with houses, you can see that the market flipped on April 2018.   Ever since then, it has been a buyers market for condos.  Sellers, take note that the smallest distance (therefore indicating the best position to be a seller in), is during March and April.  If you are thinking of selling in 2020, I highly suggest you get on the market in early March.

Zooming in on the last week:

  Whoa!   81 new listing AND 81 pending listings for houses this week!!!!  That’s a huge number of pending listings, and a 15% jump in new listings from the previous week.  Last year this week we had 99 new listings, but if you look back at the first chart in the blog, you can see we had too many total listings last year.   Even with the 15% increase in new listings, we saw an 11% drop in the total number of homes for sale compared to last week, and 26% fewer total homes for sale than this time last year.

  Condos saw a lot of the same.  30 new listings this week, 32 last week and 33 last year.  Just 15 pending condos this week, 15 last week, and 20 last year.  Thanks for some sold, expired and canceled listings, the total number of condos for sale dropped 7% from last week and is down 16 from last year.

Watch the Video Here

Download the transcript here.