Seattle-area home sales rocket back to 2006-era levels

A new report shows just how hot the Puget Sound region housing market is.

Bellevue home lending Even though more people are putting their houses and condos on the market, it’s still not enough to keep up with demand, and the inventory of available properties is less than it was a year ago, according to the report on February sales that the Northwest Multiple Listing Service issued Thursday.

“The pent-up demand being unleashed has rocketed pending sales back to the levels of our record year in 2006,” said Ken Anderson, president/designated broker at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Tumwater.

Buyers have come off the sidelines.

“At the same time, homes for sale are near a 10-year low,” Anderson said.

Last month in the four-county metro region the number of new residences on the market shot up 7.3 percent over February 2014. Yet pending sales increased more. The result is there are now 13.6 percent fewer houses and condos for sale, and that means higher prices.

The median sales price of houses and condos in February increased 8.5 percent in Snohomish County to $319,000. Pierce County’s median sales price was $233,000, or 6.8 percent higher than the same month the year before. Sale prices jumped 2.7 percent in King County to $375,000, and less than 1 percent in Kitsap County to $235,000.

“Listings are flying off the shelf faster than allergy medicine in this early spring market,” said Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo. He said the brisk activity is posing challenges for buyers. “They will probably make several offers before one is accepted, and they just need to expect to be competing with others.”

John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain at the Seattle Lake Union office, said it is not uncommon for weekend open houses to draw upwards of 100 group visits.

“Multiple offers rule the day, with many bids at 20 percent over well-priced properties around greater Seattle,” he said.

The condo markets in Pierce and Snohomish counties are surging. The median sale price last month in Pierce was $215,500, up 51.6 percent. In Snohomish, condo prices jumped 37.6 percent to just over $240,700. The Pierce number, however, likely is skewed because it is based on only 40 sales, or 20 percent fewer than in February 2014.

The county with the highest median sales price for single-family homes was, by far, San Juan, though the number is based on a limited number of sales. The median price of the 15 houses that sold there last month was $630,000. That’s up 118 percent over February 2014, when 11 houses sold. The second highest median price for single-family residences was $429,900 in King County, up 6 percent.

Source: Marc Stiles covers commercial real estate and government for the Puget Sound Business Journal.

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