Industry News

Northwest MLS brokers report 2017 home sales valued at record-high $46.5 billion despite depleted inventory

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Chart: Closed Sales of Single Family Homes and CondoesKIRKLAND, Washington. (Jan. 18, 2018) – Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported 99,345 closed sales during 2017, outgaining the prior year’s volume of 95,500 transactions for an increase of more than 4 percent. Inventory dipped to record lows while prices continued to rise.

Measured by dollars, last year’s sales of single family homes and condominiums were valued at more than $46.5 billion. Compared to 2016, that dollar volume represents a gain of 6.2 percent.

The sales activity reflects the work of more than 28,000 brokers across 23 counties in the member-owned Northwest MLS.

Of last year’s 99,345 completed sales, 85,819 were single family homes (86.4 percent of the total) and 13,526 were condos (13.6 percent). About 11 percent of these sales were newly built residences.

The area-wide median price for last year’s sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $370,000, a gain of 9.6 percent from the year-ago figure of $337,500.  A comparison by county shows median sales prices ranged from $133,000 in Ferry County to $562,000 in King County. All counties registered year-over-year price increases.

Year-over-year prices for single family homes (excluding condominiums) increased 9.2 percent system-wide, rising from $348,000 in 2016 to last year’s median price of $380,000. Condo prices jumped 10.1 percent from the 2016 figure of $287,000 to last year’s median selling price of $316,000.

Inventory shortages persisted throughout 2017. Member-brokers logged 120,706 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during 2017, while adding 114,297 new listings to inventory. As a result of the market imbalance, competitive bidding and multiple offers on homes in the most desirable areas were common.

Last year, the area-wide supply, as measured by months of inventory, averaged only 1.48 months, down from the previous year’s figure of 1.86 months. Among the counties in the MLS service area, King County had the lowest level, averaging only 0.88 months. In general, industry analysts use a 4-to-6 month range as an indicator of a balanced market, favoring neither buyers nor sellers.

High-end sales also surged during 2017. Northwest MLS members reported 5,727 sales of single family homes priced at $1 million or more, up more than 76 percent from the 2016 total of 3,251 “luxury” sales. A total of 2,604 condos sold for $500,000 or more, outgaining 2016’s total of 1,771 half-million dollar-plus sales (up 47 percent).

The highest-priced single family home that sold during 2017 by a member of Northwest MLS was a property in Medina that commanded nearly $23.4 million. Topping the chart of high-priced condominiums was a penthouse unit in a downtown Seattle high-rise that sold for $7.5 million.

Among other highlights in its annual compilation of statistics, Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported:

  • About 45 percent of last year’s home sales had three bedrooms; of the condo component nearly 76 percent had two or fewer bedrooms..
  • The median price for a 3-bedroom home that sold in 2017 was $311,000. A comparison by county shows the median price for 3-bedroom home ranged from $178,650 in Grant County to $600,000 in King County.
  • Of the condo sales, nearly six of every 10 (about 60 percent) were located in King County.
  • For the new construction component involving Northwest MLS brokers, newly built condos fetched higher prices than single family homes, just like 2016. Last year’s sales included 10,309 newly built single family homes that sold for a median price of $455,000 (up about 4.4 percent from 2016), and 705 condos that sold for a median price of $554,950, about the same as the previous year ($552,900).
  •  Prices vary widely among school districts. Homes that sold in the Mercer Island district had a median price of $1,546,000, the highest among all districts.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 companies includes nearly 28,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

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