In Seattle, home prices grew 10.3 percent in September to a new median of $630,000, mirroring a similar trend for the suburbs in King County.
It's been a punishing year for home buyers in the Seattle area, and it doesn't look like it's going to get much better. The fall price cool-down that many buyers anticipate has yet to arrive for those looking to buy a home in Seattle.
The market remains one of the hottest in the country, even though the region is finally starting to see more houses come on the market.
As a real estate agent, I am still seeing a high demand for homes, but instead of receiving 10+ offers, we're seeing three or four. It's hard to say whether this is seasonal or a bit of "structural correction."
September marked the third straight month in which King County single-family home prices declined from their all-time peak reached at the end of the spring. Prices are typically lower this time of year.
Buyers pummeled by the red-hot market seen earlier in the year might take what they can get at this point.
In Seattle, the annual increase in home prices has begun to level off and now represents half the explosive growth rate seen at the beginning of the year. The typical Seattle house now costs $630,000, up 10.3 percent from a year ago.
The good news is that for the first time in the last few years, additional homes in significant number are finally starting to come back on the market for sale.
The number of houses for sale in the county is now at its highest point in two years, although it still has a long way to go to get back to “normal” inventory levels. That could help contain the recent bidding wars and price spikes triggered by the historically low supply of homes for sale.
As for renters, they're not seeing any relief either.
Despite nearly 10,000 new apartments which have opened in the past two years, rent continues to rise at a similar pace as home costs, and are now up 9.3 percent across the Greater Seattle area compared to a year ago, according to a new Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors report. That’s similar to the increase reported in each of the last two years, and puts Seattle among the fastest-growing rental markets in the country.
Overall, the median King County house now costs $538,000, up 9.7 percent from a year ago but down 6 percent from the record prices seen a few months ago.
The Queen Anne/Magnolia neighborhood led the way with an annual price hike of 33 percent, followed by 28 percent in the southeast Seattle/Seward Park area and 25 percent in both the Sodo/Beacon Hill region and the Benson Hill part of Renton. But the rest of Renton saw prices drop slightly.
Condos, in particular, are seeing prices surge unabated as buyers look for cheaper options. The typical Seattle condo in September cost a record $475,000, up a whopping 31 percent in one year.
The biggest slowdown in the Puget Sound region was in Kitsap County, where prices rose 7.6 percent from the previous year. The current price of $285,000 is off 5 percent from this year’s peak.
Snohomish County led the way on the county level, with home prices in September climbing 11.1 percent vs. a year ago, to a median of $395,000, just shy of the county’s all-time high.
Pierce County saw home prices hit $279,000, up 10.5 percent from a year ago and similar to the high points seen earlier in the year.
While the market is not a buyer or renter's market, the up side is that buyers and/or renters now have more options to choose from before making a heavy investment in a home.