Semi Annual Market Report: A Look at the First Half of 2017

Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty presents a look at the housing market trends for the first half of 2017 in 15 key markets from around the Puget Sound, from the shores of Bainbridge Island’s waterfront homes, to Seattle and beyond.

Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island is quintessentially “Pacific Northwest,” whether at the water’s edge or further inland. With avid gardeners and farms, residents embrace its “farm to table” lifestyle at locally sourced eateries. The island saw 248 sales in the first half of 2017, 23.4 percent more than during the same period in 2016. The median selling price was $707,500, 6.8 percent higher than last year; and a median market time of 12 cumulative days on market (CDOM). In 2017-Q2, the median selling price rose to $738,000, with a reduction to 9 CDOM. The Island draws those who want to escape from city life yet remain only 30 minutes by ferry to the downtown core.

Bainbridge Island   |   Sold  for $3,800,000 June 2017

Bainbridge Island   |   Sold  for $3,800,000 June 2017

Bainbridge Island   |   Sold  for $3,800,000 June 2017

Ballard  |  Greenlake

Sales have finally begun to slow in Ballard and Greenlake, mainly due to an exhaustion of supply: the median price of $700,000 was still up 17.6 percent from last year, and prices paid had been bid up 4.7 percent over list. These popular neighborhoods for affluent young professionals feature excellent recreational opportunities along the waterfront, Burke-Gilman Trail, and Greenlake Park, complemented by close proximity to downtown Seattle. Among the Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s (NWMLS) areas comprising metropolitan Seattle, 2017-H1 selling volume in comparatively dense Ballard and Greenlake ($871.5 million) ranked second only to that of the far more expansive area east of Lake Sammamish ($929.8 million), on a roughly equal number of sales for the half (1,209 for Ballard/Greenlake, 1,175 east of Lake Sammamish).

Ballard | Sold  for $625,000 May 2017

Belltown  |  Downtown Seattle

Among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., downtown Seattle and Belltown are home to an abundance of urban campuses and the majority of Seattle’s job growth, drawing in residents who want the convenience of a “live, work, play” lifestyle. Many locals within the tech industry are drawn to the long-urbanized downtown areas where high-rises and mid-rise developments are found.

Relative to their high demand, the acute shortage of condominiums in Belltown and downtown Seattle have forced buyers in this area to search for substitutes in Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, and other neighborhoods nearby until the supply deficit can be relieved by new projects such as NEXUS. In downtown Seattle, the number of sales fell by 30.1 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2017. The state of the in-city housing market is evidenced by the strong consumer response to new construction projects including INSIGNIA, LUMA, Gridiron, and NEXUS.

Downtown Seattle |   Sold  for $1,175,000 March 2017

Bothell  |  Kenmore

The aspirational market comprising Bothell and Kenmore has seen significant growth in recent years, with overall selling volume now third highest in the region at more than $797.5 million for 2017-H1. Kenmore, at the north end of Lake Washington, is valued for its proximity to both the Eastside and Seattle. Downtown Bothell is in the midst of re-development and expansion, as new restaurants and boutiques draw new residents and visitors alike. Cumulative days on market in this area are at a historic low of six days, and the median price for the half rose 19.4 percent year-over-year.

Bothell   |   Sold  for $760,000 April 2017

Capitol Hill  |  Madison Park

Among the city of Seattle’s most stately neighborhoods, Madison Park (30 sales in 2017-H1) and neighboring Broadmoor (three sales in the same half) are coveted communities where vintage estates hearken to a rich history, complemented by an eclectic mix of local restaurants and boutiques. As such, buyers generally pay slightly above list price to secure their space in these dynamic areas. In the warmer seasons, beloved public beach parks are a draw, where a day spent on Lake Washington’s waves ends with a tie-up at a guest dock for shorefront dining.

Prices in the broader Central Seattle area including Capitol Hill, Madrona and other neighborhoods continued to rise in the first half of 2017, 14.1 percent higher year-over-year on a median price of $695,400, with homes typically selling within a week from listing.

Capitol Hill |   Sold  for $1,675,000 March 2017

East Bellevue

East Bellevue continues to attract employers and talent from around the world and contributes to the Pacific Northwest’s robust tech sector. Buyers are attracted to the top-rated school systems and outdoor amenities that include equestrian facilities, premier golf courses and newer housing developments that integrate extensive trail systems. While the number of homes sold in this area was down by nearly 9 percent year-over-year, the premium paid by buyers was higher than anywhere else: 9.3 percent over the listing price, and 6.1 percentage points higher than in 2016-H1. The median selling price was also up by 20.5 percent year-over-year, to $742,500.

East Bellevue |   Sold  for $1,200,000 June 2017

Issaquah  |  Sammamish

In Issaquah and Sammamish, aquatic adventures aboard paddle boards and kayaks meet lush, top-rated golf courses and premier public education systems. Over the past few years, these communities have established themselves among the region’s largest residential markets with steadily rising prices paid as buyers are drawn to recreation, nearby employment centers, and the Eastside tech corridor. Selling volume in Sammamish in 2017-H1 was up by 16.7 percent compared with 2016-H1. For the two cities combined, the overall median selling price was 21.8 percent higher year-over-year, with homes selling in a week or even faster, and for a median selling price 2.4 percent higher than the listed price.

Issaquah |   Sold  for $615,000 January 2017


In Kirkland, an outdoor lifestyle at the water’s edge meets a charming downtown core that will soon be further enhanced as new development projects such as Kirkland Urban are currently underway. This waterfront community is coveted by buyers craving the area’s award-winning schools, seasonal events and beachfront recreation. Like several other areas of the Seattle-Eastside metroplex, Kirkland has seen the number of home sales shrink due to an excess of demand over supply, even as the median price, selling volume and prices paid over list continue to rise.

Occupying a large stretch of Lake Washington’s eastern shoreline, the real appeal of Kirkland comes from quaint communities that give way to beaches, waterfront parks and boat parking for dockside dining after a day of recreation on the waves. The median selling price of a waterfront home in Kirkland was $1.38 million in 2017-H1.

Kirkland |   Sold  for $3,375,000 January 2017

Mercer Island

Surrounded by Lake Washington, Mercer Island is the perfect pivot point toward both Seattle and the Eastside. Marked by their own private docks, waterfront homes together comprise a strong island community that takes pride in a small-town atmosphere and award-winning public schools, earning Mercer Island the wealthiest zip code in the state. In 2017-H1, home sales on Mercer Island saw the sharpest growth in the region by both the number and dollar volume of sales (up 27.7 percent to 189, and 54 percent to $324.14 million, respectively). The island community also saw the steepest reduction in cumulative days on market (down two to just eight). The year-over-year proportional increase in selling volume was half-again that of the second-ranked Southeast Seattle.

Mercer Island | Sold  for $3,800,000 June 2017

North Seattle

North Seattle, east of I-5 from Ballard, features the waterfront markets of Laurelhurst and Windermere, as well as the internationally recognized University of Washington. Residents enjoy close proximity to downtown Seattle, recreation at the water’s edge and unique enclaves in which the history of the city comes to life. Home prices in this area overtook those in Queen Anne and Magnolia to lead all other major areas of Seattle in 2017-H1 at a median price of $730,000; and competition among buyers was second only to that found in East Bellevue, with homes selling for 7.4 percent over list. Waterfront properties in these areas sold at above-trend rates in recent years and remain in short supply. Three of these homes sold in 2017-H1 at prices ranging from $1.95 million to $8.85 million.

Northgate   |   Sold for $675,000 May 2017

Queen Anne  |  Magnolia

Though located within minutes of downtown Seattle, Queen Anne and Magnolia offer residents a family-friendly setting with walkability where great public schools and parks meet a variety of local shops, restaurants and other amenities. Both communities remain steady seller’s markets, where the numbers and dollar volumes of home sales continued to rise year-over-year in 2017-H1, together with ever-increasing prices paid. Looking to the future, the area stands to benefit from near-term business relocations, most notably Expedia’s move in 2019.

Queen Anne  |   Sold for $1,250,000 April 2017

Southeast Seattle

Mt. Baker and Seward Park offer a respite where a day at the park leads to an evening at a boutique restaurant or watching the stars come out above the lake. Among Seattle’s sub-regions, Southeast Seattle in the first half of 2017 saw the third-largest year-over-year increase in the number of home sales (17.6 percent higher to 420), and the fastest-rising median price (21.8 percent higher to $578,500). The area was also runner-up to Mercer Island in respect of the year-over-year increase in selling volume (up 36.1 percent to $267.25 million). This area also continues to gentrify, with the price per square foot rising by 19 percent since last year.

Seward Park   |   Sold for $762,000 May 2017

West Bellevue

The Four Points of Medina, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point and Clyde Hill are home to the Puget Sound’s top executives and are among the most prized neighborhoods in the region, where waterfront estates with their own private docks give way to stunning view retreats. Given their prominence, the Four Points regularly command the highest prices in the region, though they are likely to linger on the market for one to three months, even in periods of high demand.

In West Bellevue, schools that rank among the highest in the nation meet the Eastside’s financial center, where a host of elite companies define a variety of lifestyles, from esteemed and exclusive waterfront locations to lively downtown condominiums. Although the number of sales in the first half of 2017 declined ever so slightly year-over-year, the median selling price was 7 percent higher at nearly $1.34 million, and selling volume increased by 13 percent during the same period.

West Bellevue   |   Sold for $1,360,000 June 2017

West Seattle

In West Seattle and its southern neighbors, residents and visitors enjoy sandy, saltwater beaches, boardwalks for bicycling and rollerblading, and delicious eateries. Given the easy commute to downtown Seattle offered by the Water Taxi, the area has seen an influx of young professionals to its neighborhoods. While the number of sales in West Seattle were up by “only” 2.5 percent year-over-year in 2017-H1, as in other areas of the city, the median selling price and selling volume were up by double digits: respectively up 15.5 percent to $560,000, and up 14.3 percent to $565.2 million.

Alki   |   Sold for $1,360,000 May 2017

Woodinville  |  Redmond

Situated within easy access to Microsoft and the Eastside tech corridor, the heart of Washington’s wine country in Woodinville gives way to Redmond, the Bicycle Capitol of the Northwest. These neighborhoods are marked by quintessentially Northwest homes and expansive equestrian estates complemented by verdant parks and seasonal recreational opportunities. Competitive bidding in Redmond was third-highest in the region after that found in East Bellevue and North Seattle, with the median premium to sellers rising by 5.1 percent year-over-year in 2017-H1 to 6.2 percent over the listed price. Meanwhile, the median selling price in Redmond rose by 18.8 percent year-over-year to $769,500.

Woodinville   |   Sold for $1,250,000 June 2017

See, 2016/2017 MARKET REPORT 

Aaron FreemanComment