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 closely track are:

  • Capitol Hill/Central/Madison Valley (area 390)
  • Queen Anne/Magnolia (area 700)
  • Downtown/Belltown/SLU (area 701)
  • Ballard/Fremont/Wallingford/Phinney (area 705)

We then use this data and information to make forecasts and to help buyers and sellers make decisions on their real estate needs.
SCR Market Chart (Nov 2014)_Page_1

November Recap:

For November of 2014, in Seattle overall, we saw a decrease in the number of listings on the market,  the number of sales that closed and a decrease in the median prices compared to last month’s  numbers.  Of these, the big number that jumped out at me was the number of condo listings is 22.2% less than same time last year. However, when we look at the year-over-year median sales price number from last November (2013) we see an increase in the median prices over all in Seattle condos by 3.9%. So things are slower over all when comparing to last month, but when comparing to the previous year, the condo values seem to follow the general housing trend in Seattle with median prices still continuing up for condos.
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By the Neighborhoods:

When we drill down to the local neighborhoods, we find this trend generally continues with all four areas tracked for this report showing less closed sales than last year, with Ballard/Fremont (area 705) seeing the largest year-over-year decrease at 15.6% less closed sales than the same time last year. For median prices, we saw them up in area 700 and 390, (Queen Anne/Magnolia and Capitol Hill/Central) but median price were down in areas 701 and 705 (Downtown/Belltown and Ballard/Fremont), so somewhat of a split. Capitol Hill was at 10.3% and Queen Anne/Magnolia at 4.4% increase over last year at the same time.

Additionally, the number of condo listings, which is our precious new inventory that you hear me talking about every month, was down in all the areas with the exception for Ballard/Fremont which was up by 7.4% more listings than last year. This is most likely a result of the new construction and presale listings of both The Vik and Salt Ballard condominiums. 

In summary, it is normal to see the number of new listings, as well as the number of closed sales start to slow down this time of the year due to the holidays, but the more concerning thing to me is that compared to the same time last year, we are generally lower still on the number of listings.  Until we start to see the number of new listings increase and balance out, we are finding buyers incredibly frustrated with the lack of options to consider along with the rather inflexible negotiation environment in our current market which favors sellers at this time.

Where will it balance itself you might ask? Well, recent announcements of upcoming new pre sale condominium buildings coming in Belltown at 4th and Bell and on First Hill (Luma) will help with new inventory, but those sales don’t start for a while, and completion of those buildings aren’t until 2016/2017. However, with Insignia Condominiums starting their closings of lower floor units of the south tower in summer of 2015, we should start to see some trickle down inventory from those buyers selling their existing units. It remains to be seen how many of the new construction condo buyers will be selling their current condos because not all of them of course own condos currently here in Seattle as several are likely either downsizers from single family houses, first time buyers or buyer/investors from out of the area.  Might be an interesting topic for us to try and research. Maybe we’ll dig into that and report back in the New Year. Any ideas let me know. 

We’ll wrap up the monthly reports with December numbers as well as yearly review in January after the new year.

Happy Holidays.

Belltown & Downtown
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Capitol Hill, Central District & Madison Valley
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Ballard & Fremont
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Queen Anne
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For a copy of the MLS report or any questions or comments feel free to reach out me [email protected]

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.