Northwest MLS brokers summarize 2018 housing activity highlighted by record-high dollar volume
Special to Northwest Reporter
February 7, 2019
Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported 92,555 closed sales during 2018, fewer than the previous year, but the dollar volumes surpassed 2017 by nearly $688 million for a small gain of 1.4 percent.
Measured by dollars, last year's sales of single family homes and condominiums were valued at almost $47.2 billion across the 23 counties served by the member-owned Northwest MLS.
The sales activity reflects the work of more than approximately 31,700 brokers in more than 2,300 member offices (NWMLS members may access the comprehensive 43-page report on the MLS website).
Of last year's 92,555 completed sales, 80,232 were single family homes (86.7 percent of the total) and 12,323 were condos (13.3 percent). About 12 percent of these sales were newly built residences.
The area-wide median price for last year's sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $402,000, a gain of more than 8.6 percent from the year-ago figure of $370,000. A comparison by county shows median sales prices ranged from $154,000 in Ferry County to $620,000 in King County.
Year-over-year prices for single family homes (excluding condominiums) increased about 7.9 percent system-wide, rising from $380,000 in 2017 to last year's median price of $410,000. Condo prices jumped 11.4 percent from the 2017 figure of $316,000 to last year's median selling price of $352,000.
Inventory shortages persisted throughout 2018, even though brokers added more new listings (117,177 versus 114,297) last year compared to 2017. Member-brokers reported 112,267 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during 2018, a year-over-year drop of nearly 7 percent compared to 2017.
Last year, the area-wide supply, as measured by months of inventory, averaged 1.77 months, a slight improvement on the 2017 figure of 1.48 months. Among the counties in the MLS service area, Snohomish had the lowest level, averaging just under1.4 months. In general, industry analysts use a 4-to-6 month range as an indicator of a balanced market, favoring neither buyers nor sellers.
Sales of high-end homes outgained 2017 by 6.5 percent, with homes selling for more than $1 million rising from 5,727 in 2017 to last year's total of 6,101; of these 61 residences commanded $5 million or more. The highest priced home in the 2018 sales report, located in Medina, sold for $26,750,000. Sales of luxury condos surged nearly 28 percent. A total of 3,332 condos sold for $500,000 or more, and 412 of these fetched $1 million or more. The three most expensive condos were in Kirkland, topped by one at Water's Edge that sold for $6.1 million.
Among other highlights in its annual compilation of statistics, Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported:
- About 45 percent of last year's home sales had three bedrooms; of the condo component nearly 72 percent had two or fewer bedrooms.
- The median price for a 3-bedroom home ranged from $163,500 in Ferry County to $610,000 in King County.
- Of the condo sales, 55 percent were located in King County.
- For the new construction component involving Northwest MLS brokers, newly built condos continued to fetch higher prices than single family homes, just like 2016 and 2017. Last year's sales included 10,076 newly built single family homes that sold for a median price of $544,950 and 974 condos that sold for a median price of $634,950. New homes in King County commanded the highest prices: $824,925 for single family homes and $835,000 for condos (although San Juan County reported a single sale of a newly built condo, with a price of $1.6 million).
- Prices vary widely among school districts. Single family homes that sold in the Mercer Island district had a median price of $1.7 million, the highest among all districts.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,300 companies includes around 31,700 licensed brokers (including designated/branch managing brokers). The organization, based in Kirkland, Washington currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.