Better balance: King County home values up only 2 percent annually

By George Moorhead

Monday, December 10, 2018

Just one of the four metro counties in the Puget Sound region, Pierce, saw a year-over-year double-digit increase in the median sales price of single-family homes last month as inventory surged and sales declined across the region.

A Northwest Multiple Listing Service report out Thursday shows that King County experienced a 114 percent increase in the number of homes for sale. Snohomish County wasn't far behind at 86 percent.

"(The) massive increase in the number of homes for sale in King County last month means we are officially on our way back to a more balanced market," Windermere Real Estate President OB Jacobi said in news release.

The market is in better balance today than it has been for years, but it still has a long way to go. A market balanced between buyers and sellers would have four to six months of inventory.

King's inventory increased from 0.8 months in February to 2.2 months in November. Snohomish County saw a similar rise. Pierce and Kitsap's supply both went from nearly 1 month to around 1.8 months.

Jacobi anticipates the trend toward a more balanced market will continue into 2019.

The median sales price in King County increased 2.1 percent to $643,913; Snohomish County's median price increased 5.6 percent to $470,000, Pierce County increased 11.3 percent to $344,950 and Kitsap County's increased to $330,000, up 6.5 percent.

The number of closed sales was down 18.6 percent in King,15.7 percent in Snohomish, 12.2 percent in Pierce and 18.2 percent in Kitsap.

The market is shifting with buyers who had been forced to look in outlying Pierce and Snohomish counties are coming back to core communities in King, said George Moorhead, owner of Bentley Properties in Bothell. Knowing their chances to extract seller concessions before spring when the market traditionally heats up, many buyers are aggressively looking to purchase now, he said.

Kitsap condo market is so small that it tends to be anomalous as it was again in November, when there were only 17 sales. The median price was $252,000, down 37.3 percent.

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