Economic NewsReal Estate News November 11, 2013

King County median home price up 15% over year ago

By Sanjay Bhatt Seattle Times business reporter

The pattern was repeated in Snohomish and Pierce counties: Median prices were $286,250 in Snohomish and $222,000 in Pierce, with double-digit appreciation over the year, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

The median price of single-family homes sold in King County last month rose to $426,000, a 15 percent increase over the year.

After a remarkable frenzy of homebuying in early summer sent the median price to $434,000 in July, the highest level in five years, October’s activity showed a more balanced market, with more inventory for sale.

Buyers closed on 2,187 homes, 10 percent more than in the previous October, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) reported Tuesday.

While extremely tight inventory drove bidding wars in spring, October was the first time this year that inventory of single-family homes was higher than a year earlier.

In King County, there were 4,575 single-family homes listed, 6 percent more than a year earlier. In the condominium market, there were 1,133 units listed, 8 percent more than a year ago.

The Eastside, as usual, had the highest median price in King County: It was $575,377, up 14 percent from a year ago. Southwest King County had the lowest median price at $240,000, about 7 percent higher over the year.

The median price was $286,250 in Snohomish County and $222,000 in Pierce County, with double-digit appreciation over the year, according to the MLS.

Pending sales slipped to 2,579, down almost 4 percent from a year earlier, perhaps related to the federal government’s partial shutdown from Oct. 1-16.

Pending sales are where the shutdown’s impact would have shown up, but it’s hard to tease that out from other possible causes, said Glenn Crellin, associate director of research at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington.

“I’m very encouraged by the fact that listings are increasing gradually,” he said.

Regionally, inventory remains tight: King, Snohomish and Pierce counties all have less than three months’ supply, the MLS reported.

A balanced market generally has enough supply for four to six months.

“It still looks like a potential housing shortage in Puget Sound come 2015 if building doesn’t increase,” Dick Beeson, principal managing broker for RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma, said in a statement.

Mike Gain, president and CEO of Prudential Northwest Realty Associates, said the shutdown “definitely hurt consumer confidence” and caused would-be buyers to pause.

Also Tuesday, Gain said his local brokerage, which has more than 350 agents and was established in 1942, was changing its name to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. It will be a member of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or On Twitter @sbhatt