How the Seattle Housing Market Compares to the Nation in 5 Key Metrics

June 7, 2024
Last updated:
June 7, 2024
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Most people who live in the Seattle area already know that it’s one of the more competitive housing markets and that local home prices run higher than the national average. But how much higher, and how does the Seattle housing market stack up in other areas?

We recently used Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data and other sources to compare the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area to the nation as a whole, in several key areas.

Yes, our real estate market is more expensive compared to the national average. The same is true for many populous metros. But some of the other findings might surprise you.

Seattle Home Prices Nearly Double the National Average

In terms of home prices, the Seattle-area housing market is pricier than the nation as a whole. A lot pricier, as it turns out.

As of spring 2024, the median sale price for the Seattle metro area was around $850,000. During that same time, the median price point in the U.S. was $434,000. When measured by this metric, the Seattle housing market was nearly twice as expensive as the bulk of the nation.

Of course, housing costs are relative and don’t tell the full story.

The Seattle area also has a much higher median household income when compared to the national median. And local residents enjoy a lot of quality-of-life benefits like mild weather, natural beauty, and a strong job market.

In short, people choose to live in the Seattle area for specific reasons, and many of them earn enough money to afford our higher home prices. That’s why there is so much competition within the local real estate market.

The Seattle Housing Market Moves at a Faster Pace

Home buyers should also know that the Seattle real estate market moves at a faster pace than most other cities across the U.S.

We can find evidence of this trend by looking at two different metrics:


  • The median number of “days on market,” which offers insight into how quickly homes are selling.
  • The percentage of homes that are off the market within two weeks, which indicates strong demand and quick Seattle home sales.

And in both of these areas, the Seattle housing market stands out from most other markets across the United States.

When this report was published, homes listed for sale across the Seattle metro area were spending a median of just 6 days on the market. The national median was 35 days. So, a typical house listed for sale in the Seattle real estate market might sell five times as fast as in many other parts of the U.S.

Low Supply Remains a Big Challenge for Local Buyers

Like many other U.S. metros, Seattle has suffered from a housing market inventory shortage for many years. But unfortunately, our real estate scene has a more extreme version of this.

As of spring 2024, the United States as a whole had about a 2.3-month supply of homes for sale. This metric means that, in theory, it would take 2.3 months to sell all the available houses if no new ones were listed and the sales pace remained constant.

That’s a fairly low level of supply from a historical perspective, and it’s partly why the real estate market remains so competitive for buyers these days.

Seattle real estate statistics show that inventory levels present an even bigger challenge to buyers. Our metro area currently has about a one-month supply of homes for sale. Some cities, like Sammamish, had less than a one-month supply when this report was published.

Low supply levels are arguably the biggest hurdle for home buyers across the Seattle metro area. Long-standing Seattle real estate trends show that inventory shortages have been an ongoing issue in the area. At Sammamish Mortgage, we understand these challenges. So we’ve created a guide to buying a home during a Seattle housing market inventory shortage.

More Homes Selling Above List Price

Our last metric has to do with homes selling for more than the list price. And once again, it shows that the Seattle real estate market is more competitive than most other U.S. cities.

When a local housing market has a high percentage of homes that sell above the list price, it says a lot about the supply-and-demand situation. It shows that buyers are competing for limited Seattle housing inventory and sometimes offering more than the asking price to edge out other buyers.

In spring 2024, 44% of homes listed for sale across the U.S. ended up selling for more than the list price. During that same timeframe, the Seattle metro area real estate market had more than 76% of home selling above the original asking price.

The Bottom Line for Buyers: Work Smarter Not Harder

Seattle-area home buyers should not be alarmed or intimidated by these statistics. In fact, for most people who live in the area, there probably aren’t any surprises here.

According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, King County recorded more than 2,000 home sales during the first five months of 2024. This shows that plenty of people are having success when buying a home in Seattle, despite the challenges mentioned above.

So don’t be discouraged by any of this. Seattle is a highly competitive real estate market, but savvy and well-prepared buyers can still succeed!

Here are some timely home buying tips in Seattle:

  • Have a Budget: Multiple-offer scenarios are a common feature of our real estate market. So you’ll want to have a firm budget in mind to keep yourself grounded.
  • Act Fast: Homes sell quickly in the Seattle area and often go under contract within days of hitting the market. Be ready to make quick decisions and submit offers promptly.
  • Get Pre-Approved: Having a pre-approval letter demonstrates seriousness and can give you an edge over other buyers. It’s practically a must in a housing market like ours.
  • Consider All Options: Due to limited inventory, be open to different neighborhoods and types of homes than you initially considered.

Sammamish Mortgage can help. We offer a wide variety of mortgage options and can help you get your financing in order before entering the Seattle housing market. Find out today’s Seattle mortgage rates and get pre-approved for a mortgage with our help. Contact our staff with any mortgage-related questions you have or to begin the process.

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