May was a record-breaking month for the real estate market. Inventory hit all-time lows, and home prices reached record highs. With the supply of homes so tight, this sizzling seller’s market is expected to continue throughout the summer.
High demand hammered inventory in May. While the number of new listings increased, homes sold within days, leaving the market with just a few weeks of available inventory. There were 43% fewer homes on the market in King County at the end of May as compared to a year ago. The supply of homes was particularly dire on the Eastside where inventory was down 71%, leaving just 239 single-family homes for sale across the entire area, which stretches from Issaquah to Woodinville. Snohomish County saw the same trend, with inventory down 60% year-over-year. With the local economy remaining strong and population continuing to grow, don’t expect demand to slow down any time soon.
With inventory so scarce, it was yet another record-breaking month for home prices. The median price of a single-family home in King County last month jumped 29% to an all-time high of $869,975. Home prices in Seattle soared 20% to a record $919,000. The Eastside posted a median price of $1,298,475, down slightly from its all-time high, but soaring 37% from a year ago. Slim supply and high demand resulted in 78% of homes on the Eastside selling for over the list price.
A 62% jump in pending condo sales in King County indicates that some buyers are opting for a more affordable home option. At a median price of $459,000, condos look like a relative bargain when compared to single-family homes. Snohomish County home values rocketed up as well. With some of the tightest inventory in the region, home prices there shot up 35% to a record $697,000.
It’s a challenging market for buyers, and it looks like it will continue to be that way for quite some time. Now more than ever, you need a broker who can help you set your priorities, strategize your options and negotiate successfully on your behalf. And sellers need someone who really understands this fast-changing market and who can create a plan to get you the greatest return on your investment.
The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. Every Monday, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here. If you are interested in more information, your broker can provide you with a detailed analysis of your specific area.