King County Real Estate Market Trends: November 2016

A recent report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) offered some insight into King County, Washington real estate market trends for fall 2016. In short, tight supply and steady demand continue to lift home prices across King County.

The real estate market update was published on November 4, 2016 by the NWMLS, which tracks housing trends in King County and across the Pacific Northwest.

King County Real Estate Market Trends, November 2016

Here are some highlights from the recent report:

  • Housing supply remains tight across western Washington, and it’s particularly constrained within the King County real estate market. According to the latest data from NWMLS, the county had about one month of supply. That’s far below the five to six months of supply that is considered a “balanced” market.
  • Several areas within the county had less than a one-month supply of homes for sale.
  • Out of the four-county Puget Sound region, the King County real estate market saw the largest increase in home prices in October. Prices in October 2016 rose 14.5% compared to the same time last year. King County also had the highest median home price in October, at $495,500.
  • In October, the median sales price for condos within the county rose to $320,000, roughly 10% higher than the same time last year. Condo supply also remains tight, as we head into 2017.

Forecast for 2017: Smaller Gains Ahead?

The King County real estate market trends above paint the picture of a buyer’s market. And that has been the case for the last couple of years, particularly in and around Seattle, Washington. But the market might cool down a bit in 2017, despite the tight supply situation.

Recent housing market forecasts for King County — and for individual cities within the county — suggest that home prices might rise more slowly in 2017 compared to this year.

According to the housing analysts at Zillow, home prices in Seattle rose by around 14% over the last year or so (Nov. ’15 – Nov. ’16). But the company is forecasting a gain of 6.4% over the next 12 months, through November 2017. That’s a stronger projection than the nation as a whole, but it does suggest a slowdown in local home-price appreciation.

There’s a similar, more modest forecast for other cities in King County. Zillow predicts an increase of 5.6% in Bellevue, compared to the 12% increase over the last year. Kent, Washington has also gone from a double-digit price gain to a single-digit forecast. So it’s a common trend across the King County real estate market.

Granted, these are just forecasts. They’re the equivalent of an educated guess. But the consensus seems to be that the King County real estate market could experience smaller gains in 2017, compared to the last couple of years.

Nationally speaking, Zillow has forecast a gain of 3% for U.S. home prices in 2017. So while these King County markets might slow down, they are still expected to outperform the national trend next year.