Bidding Wars and Price Escalations Continue

Spring is here, which is typically the start of the “busy” season each year for the market and agents. This is no normal year however, and low inventory continues to be the trend across the region. With buyers eager to lock in available inventory, paying above market price and waiving financing has become the norm. In hot neighborhoods, a new listing can have all of the first-weekend showings reserved within a matter of hours. Over the past month I’ve held two open houses – one in Woodinville and one in Bothell. I held each open house for two hours and had about 100 visitors at the Woodinville open and 80 in Bothell. The good news with open houses is even with limitations on the number of people in the house at once, people are able to flow through pretty smoothly. Speaking of that Woodinville listing, I received about 20 offers on offer review date, and accepted an offer well above the asking price, so all of my anecdotes here are in line with the Puget Sound real estate market statistics I’m about to share. All of the data in this post is courtesy of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) of which I’m a member-agent.

Closings and Volume

In March of 2021 we saw agents mark 10,863 listings pending. This is across the 26 member-counties served by the NWMLS. The volume of offers marked pending in March was an increase of 22.3% from the same month in 2020. I think any positive news on the supply side is a good thing, but keep in mind that March 2020 was peak pandemic uncertainty. That said, another supply side positive indicator is that pending sales were up 40.6% last month compared to February. Active listings between March 2021 and March 2020 saw a huge drop of 55.9% decline. Pending listings up and active listings down tells us that the demand for homes is stronger than ever. It basically means all reasonably priced homes are going pending within days of hitting the market. In terms of overall volume, agents closed $5.3 billion in residential and condo sales last month.


The bidding wars and price escalations haven’t slowed down and the March data is here to back that up. Last month median prices were up 19.5% compared to March 2020 across the NWMLS with a median price of $548,199. In King County last month, which leads all NWMLS member counties in terms of price and volume, we saw a median price of $740,000 and average price of $928,617. I’ve been watching the average price number to see when it will pass 1 million, and it looks like we might only be a month or two away. Anecdotally these prices line up with what I’ve been seeing, especially on the Eastside. Late last year it felt common for buyers to target around a 10-15% price escalation and now I’m seeing offers in excess of 30% above the asking price! Buyers in these situations are overpaying currently, but as long as the trend continues, you may find equity in your new home quickly. For example; I’ve closed on homes for my clients in Q4 2020 that have already built hundreds of thousands in equity due to the current market conditions.


As you can see it is a competitive market but I’m well dialed in and my buying strategies are winning offers on a regular basis. In the past month I’ve had 4 closings on the buyer side alone. You can check them out under “Past Sales” on my Zillow profile page. If you’re thinking about buying or listing feel free to contact me; I’m always happy to chat and there is never any pressure!


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