Annual Seattle-Eastside Real Estate Report: A Look Back at 2018

Annual Market Snapshot for Seattle and the Eastside

 

An increase in homes for sale coupled with rising interest rates have created a far more balanced market than we started 2018 with. This is a good thing as it will help our region tame affordability and create a sustainable marketplace. More homes came to market in 2018 than in any year since 2011. This provided home buyers with plentiful choices and forced home sellers to competitively position their homes to compete with other homes for sale—something they haven’t had to give much thought to in the last seven years.

 

The cost of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage began the year at 3.95% and ended at 4.64%. Indications show rates could rise to 6% by the end of 2019. Mortgage rates are a far bigger factor than most people consider. A 1% increase in mortgage interest rates decreases buying power by 10%. Or said differently, a 1% rate increase has the same net effect on monthly payment as a 10% increase in the sale price. That also means if prices fell 10% but rates went up 1% the monthly mortgage payment would remain the same.

 

Our 2019 market will be driven by buyers motivated to beat interest rate hikes nipping at their heels and by sellers who will choose to price moderately following a seven-year appreciation growth run. Properly-priced homes in good condition and in desirable settings will do well, as will affordable homes on the periphery of the metro region. Strategic positioning, savvy marketing, and expert negotiation have never been so important as they are now.

 

2018 Market Averages for Seattle

 

Click or scroll down to find your area report:

Seattle | Eastside | Mercer Island | Condos | Waterfront

 


SEATTLE

2018 was a year of transition from an ultra-competitive seller’s market to a more balanced market. The first four months of the year saw dramatic price acceleration—arguably far beyond the comfort of Seattle area home buyers—as home values skyrocketed each month through the spring market. Around the beginning of May, home buying activity slowed as the number of homes for sale increased and buyers had more choices for the first time in years. Home prices have declined since that peak in most neighborhoods, but still ended the year up comfortably over 2017 values.

Seattle’s overall Median Sale Price was up 8.8% to $769,950, while its Average Sale Price was up 10.4% to $883,590. The Average $ Per Square Foot increased 9.7% to $437, with Lake Forest Park/Kenmore the most affordable region at $327/sq ft and Madison Park/Capitol Hill the most spendy at $561/sq ft.

Three Seattle neighborhoods had double-digit median price growth in 2018: Lake Forest Park/Kenmore at 14.4%, West Seattle at 12.7%, and Queen Anne/Magnolia at 12.2%.

Seattle Chart

Click here to view the complete report for a neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown of Average Sale Price, size, and number of homes sold.

Seattle Report

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EASTSIDE

Even with Eastside expansion announcements from several notable tech companies, 2018 saw a shift from an ultra-competitive seller’s market to a more balanced market. While the sky is not falling, price growth has slowed to a more modest and sustainable pace. After rising astronomically at the beginning of the year, prices have generally softened as buyers and sellers find their new norms.

The Eastside’s overall Median Sale Price was up 8.2% to $939,129, while its Average Sale Price was up 9.3% to $1,143,557. The higher average sale price reflects the impact of luxury home prices at the upper end of the market. The median sale price is attributed to the larger volume of mainstream sales at more moderate price points.

Four Eastside neighborhoods had double-digit median price growth in 2018: Kirkland at 23.8%, Woodinville at 12.9%, West Bellevue at 12.4%, and Mercer Island at 10.0%.

Eastside Chart

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

Eastside Review

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MERCER ISLAND

The Island, much like the region surrounding it, saw a shift from an ultra-competitive seller’s market to a more balanced market as the number of homes for sale increased markedly following a strong spring market. Home values have softened since the peak market of 2018, but still ended the year with a hefty increase over 2017 values.

The number of home sales were down in 2018: 285, as compared to 330 in 2017. Modern, turn-key homes and highly desirable settings were most sought after while those lacking essential attributes were often passed over, ending the year unsold.

Uniquely situated near both the Seattle and Eastside metro areas, the Island has always tended to fare better than most in a transitioning market. Mercer Island’s Median Sale Price was up 10.0% to $1,700,000, while its Average Sale Price was up 10.5% to $2,059,996. The higher average sale price reflects the impact of luxury home prices at the upper end of the market. The Average $ Per Square Foot increased 11.3% to $606.

Mercer Island Chart

Click here to view the complete report for a neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown of Average Sale Price, size, and number of homes sold.

Mercer Island Report

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CONDOS – SEATTLE & EASTSIDE

New construction added to the more than two-fold increase in the number of condos for sale during the year compared to 2017, from 2,131 to 4,857 units listed throughout the year. Even so, regional affordability issues drove condo desirability to all-time highs and fueled price increases that outpaced single-family homes.

Seattle’s Condo Median Sale Price was up 12.8% to $505,500, while its Average Sale Price was up 10.5% to $582,163. The Average $ Per Square Foot increased 7.5% to $601. Three regions saw increases above 20%: Richmond Beach/Shoreline at 26.8%, Ballard/Green Lake at 24.1%, and South Seattle at 24.0%.

The Eastside’s Condo Median Sale Price was up 17.2% to $480,500, while its Average Sale Price was up 17.0% to $576,061. The Average $ Per Square Foot increased 13.5% to $453. Two regions saw increases above 20%: East Bellevue at 34.0% and Kirkland at 25.0%.

Check out all of these factoids and more in the full condo report.

Condo Report

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WATERFRONT

While the number of sales in 2018 was down markedly compared to recent years as a result of fewer international buyer purchases, a handful of notable sales drove value markers up, creating the artificial appearance of appreciation when price growth was relatively flat in 2018. Those sales include three Media and Points properties sold above $14 M, a record Lake Sammamish sale above $11 M, a Mercer Island sale above $13 M, and a Laurelhurst sale at $11 M.

This top-level overview of the entire Seattle-Eastside private waterfront market, including Mercer Island and Lake Sammamish, provides a glance into the trends occurring in our region over time. Interesting, and certainly insightful, it in no way replaces an in-depth analysis on waterfront value provided by a savvy broker with years of local waterfront experience.

Check out the full Waterfront Report for a complete list of waterfront home sales by address and community.

Waterfront Report

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ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

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© Copyright 2019, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

Posted on January 16, 2019 at 2:13 pm
Windermere Mercer Island | Category: Seattle Area Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

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