I'm lying of course - the sky is only falling in the form of lovely snowflakes in Seattle this week. That fact alone will hurt the February 2019 numbers when they are released in March...people tend not to go look at houses when they can't get out of the driveway... It was the warmest January on record in Seattle - but not for Real Estate, that actually was a bit cooler price and volume wise, and that is a very GOOD thing, let me explain why I feel this way and perhaps what to do about it if you are thinking of buying / investing / selling / waiting.
Here are some King County vital signs for January 2019:
-$610,000 Median price for residential blended Condo / Townhouse / Single Family -1542 sales across those three categories with market segments accounting for the following:
- 25% under $400,000 (387 sales)
- 50% between $401K to $800K (757 sales, I guess Boeing Employees could afford a lot of these homes? hehe)
- 25% top quartile above $800K coming in at 10% for $800-$1 Million (156 sales) another 9.5% for sales between $1 Million and $1.5 Million (149 sales) and just 4.5% of the market were sales above $1.5 Million (68 sales) As a side note the most expensive home to sell in January 2019 was a fabulous modern masterpiece in Medina, a cool $7.8 Million and just 79 days on the market. Here is a photo of that pretty one:)
There are 9 properties highlighted in the banner photo map image at the top of this article. As a fun experiment I looked up what you could get for the January median... these are the only 9 properties that sold for exactly $610,000 last month. This is fun because it is a great snapshot of what you get - and where - for the money. I'll spare you the details for each one, but suffice to say they are all quite nice homes - all livable today with no teardown in the mix! One was a super cute cottage in W Seattle - another a very nice newer home in Maple Valley, etc.
I found it encouraging to realize that for $610,000 you can still live in pretty much any city you want to in King County, except perhaps Medina.
Why does this matter in a good way that our median price in King County is down $116,000 from the peak in May 2018? It is a good thing to take the pedal off the gas, and create space for opportunity to emerge and nerves to calm. For the past 3 years - since april 2015 really - the King county market has been a little too hot for my liking, good first time buyers were blocked from entering the market because of massively increasing prices and bidding wars that required crazy concessions from Buyers like waiving their contingencies.
It was NOT sustainable. I like sustainable. Sustainable keeps the market going and provides some measure of predictability (see: opposite of the 2018 word of the year 'volatility') - Predictability will let you make a plan - work that plan - and succeed.
Are you sad that your house might sell for a little less this spring than it would have last spring? Tough cookies - The world is full up on things to be both sad and happy about, the choice in what you focus on is yours. I bet you might be sad you didn't buy Amazon stock 10 years ago as well.
Now is the time to choose to be happy - happy about the new stability that is creeping into the market. We are not falling off any cliff - Seattle and our surrounding region will remain relatively 'West Coast Expensive'
Now lets make a plan!
Sources for market data are directly from the Northwest Multiple List Service