Each month we go back and take a look at condo market sales here in Seattle as reported by the MLS.
We first take a look at the whole city of Seattle to get a general overview of our area’s condo market and then we drill down by neighborhood using the MLS areas focusing on the areas that have the largest concentration of condos here in our city. Those areas we track are:
- Capitol Hill/Central/Madison Valley (area 390)
- Queen Anne and Magnolia (area 700)
- Downtown/Belltown/SLU (area 701)
- Ballard/Fremont (area 705)
We then use this data and information to make forecasts to help buyers and sellers make decisions on their real estate needs.
August was an interesting month with the number of total sales of Seattle condos dipping from the previous month. The median sales price of a condo in Seattle last month was $299,000, which is up from July when the median price was $287,225. It’s also up when compared year over year to the same month last year by about 1%.
It gets more interesting as we narrow in on each of the neighborhoods as we saw median prices up for the third month in a row over the same period last year in Ballard/Fremont. And two months in a row up from last year in Queen Anne/Magnolia. Where we saw median prices dip from year-over-year comparison to August 2013 was in both Capitol Hill and Downtown (areas 390 and 701).
On closer look, the number of new listings so far this summer has trended up to a peak of 483 new condo listings in June and then have slowly tailed off again in August with 443 new listings in Seattle as a whole last month.
But overall numbers of new listings across the board is lower than they were in 2013 still. Then this begs the question of how are sales numbers doing. You know, the old supply and demand thing, right? Well, sales in August dipped in Seattle as a whole, but in both Ballard/Fremont and Capitol Hill/Central, sales were up over last year's August numbers. So with sales up and number of listings decreasing we still seem to be trending toward a condo supply shortage continuing. Some people are talking about things slowing down just a bit, the condo numbers make me think things might just be starting to heat up.
The most impressive numbers in August were posted by Ballard/Fremont with a 16% increase in price on a Y-O-Y comparison to August of 2013 and sales increasing as well by 13%. That means prices are up and the number of sales is up. Some of this is likely due to the new construction condo buildings, Vik Condominiums and Solo Lofts, both in Ballard, who are seeing pre-sales happening now.
Additionally Queen Anne/Magnolia (area 700) posted some interesting improvements with median price up 6% on a Y-O-Y comparison to August of 2013. The number of sales however remained roughly the same compared to August 2013.
On the other end of things, median prices last month were down compared to August of 2013 in both the Downtown/Belltown (area 701) by 13% and in Capitol Hill/Central (area 390) by 6%. But both of these areas in previous months this summer posted some strong median price increases, so it just might be a small “leveling of the playing field” as we end the summer busy season. Inventory is still down in both those areas, so I predict we’ll see pricing inch up again especially in downtown where the Nat Bosa project, Insignia, just announced they have already reached the 50% sold mark on the their 1st tower. These units of course do not show up on the “sold” side of things yet, but it’s clear that buyers in Seattle are ok spending much higher than these median price points for location, high-end finishes and amenities.
The summary here is that we do need to pay attention to each neighborhood closely as they differ at different times of the year, and the new construction inventory in downtown at Insignia, as well as in Ballard at Vik Condominiums and Solo Lofts do have an effect on inventory and median prices, although that affect isn’t directly known quite yet until those units start to close escrow in 2015.
As sellers, it’s likely still a great time consider selling your condo, and for buyers the low inventory is still a predictor in my opinion that prices will continue to inch up into the fall real estate market. So buying sooner than later might be advantageous.
Capitol Hill, Central District & Madison Valley
By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.
Wish/request: more neutral comments. “As sellers, it’s likely still a great time consider selling your condo, and for buyers the low inventory is still a predictor in my opinion that prices will continue to inch up into the fall real estate market. So buying sooner than later might be advantageous” sounds like something that a stereotypical real estate agent would say — “It’s a good time to buy! Or sell!”.
I think this boils down to putting as much emphasis into critical comments as positive ones, and also to considering critical comments to be just as positive as glowing ones. The goal isn’t to entice sales (hopefully), it’s to talk about the state of the market.