According to NWMLS, area wide prices were up 10.2% over last year. King County prices, which peaked in 2007, were back to 91.2% of 2007 values. Many pockets of King County have fully recovered to 2007 prices. Prices are impacted by school district and vary accordingly. Demand in Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington and Bainbridge school districts is high resulting in woefully low inventory and continuously rising prices. Median price on the Eastside was $550,000 for single family homes compared to $419,000 for all of King County.
Although more homes came on the market in 2013, sales paced at a fast rate leaving little “on the shelf” from which Eastside and close-in Seattle buyers could select. Area wide supply of homes ranged as low as 1.95 months’ supply of homes in March (# of homes available – # of homes sold) to a high in December of 3.68 months’ supply. A balanced market is considered to be 4-6 months’ supply. Only homes over a million dollars saw near balance, but sales were up in the high end 45.2% over 2012.
137 condos sold at prices over $1,000,000 nearly matching the 2012 total of 138. Condos enjoyed an appreciation of 15.3% area wide with a median price in King County hitting $250,000 with an increase of 21.36% over last year!
So with recovery seeming to be in full swing, what will 2014 bring?
Experts believe we will see another healthy year with increasing prices and tough competition between investors and first time homebuyers competing for median and below median priced homes and between cash buyers and those obtaining loans in other price ranges. The healthy job market and pent demand that resulted from the recession as well as move up buyers who have equity in their homes again will drive the market. Interest rates are likely to creep up. A question still remains regarding short sales; since the government did not extend the debt forgiveness act, sellers who sell their homes short will owe taxes on the debt forgiven by their lender leaving the decision to short sale or to allow foreclosure instead.
In general, it is a good time to buy or to sell. I would love to consult with you to see if the time is right for you to jump into the 2014 real estate market. It’s shaping up to be a great year!