Buying a House in Seattle

King County Real Estate Trends

What a time to be buying a house in Seattle! I feel like a broken record when I keep saying how shocked I am by the unprecedented, record setting price increases throughout the Puget Sound real estate market. A report that just came out from CoreLogic is telling us that as of January 2022, home appreciation hit the highest levels ever recorded in the 45-year history of the Home Price Index (HPI). Across the nation, the HPI showed a 19.1% increase in home prices from January 2021 to January 2022! Back in January 2021 when I felt like I was sharing equally jaw-dropping news, prices had “only” increased by 9.4% nationwide!

In the rest of this post I will dive into some recent inventory and pricing statistics, with a focus on King County for all the Seattle-area homebuyers trying to get a foothold right now.

Inventory

Inventory remains significantly lower than what was available one year ago. Hopeful buyers should keep shopping, especially as we enter the spring and summer months which traditionally have the most new listings added in a given year.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) recorded 6,350 pending home sales for January of this year. That is approximately 1,000 fewer homes compared to January 2021! January’s pending sales outgained new listings to further shrink inventory. When January came to a close there were only 3,092 active listings, down more than 30% from a year ago. King County observed the biggest drop in active listings, decreasing by almost 59% from a year ago. Finally, we are also well back into the “weeks of inventory” territory, whereas the metric is traditionally written as “months of inventory.” Across all the NWMLS member-counties there is only about 2.5 weeks of supply (0.61 months)!

At my own listings recently I’m definitely seeing the low inventory feed into buyer demand. Appointments for showings are filling up almost immediately on new listings, and receiving 10-20 offers for a hot listing is not unheard of!

Pricing

Some good news for prospective Seattle-area buyers is the high pricing for areas along the I-5 and I-90 has been established for some time now compared to some of the up-and-coming areas. As of January 2022, median home prices in King County were up 11.64% compared to the year prior. That comes in below the region-wide price increase of 14.85% for the same time period (and nicely below the 19.1% nationwide increase). That said, King County has been expensive for some time and had the highest median price in January at $644,950.

Prospective homebuyers will want to check out my homebuying strategies for 2022 page, which offers some advice on how to best position yourself in this market. That said, having a chance at a winning bid right now starts with excellent communication with the listing agent and tailoring the offer to meet all of the seller’s needs. As always, feel free to contact me if you would like to further discuss your own home buying or selling strategy.

-Jennifer

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