The latest MLS data showed a drop in home prices in Seattle. But that might be a short-term “blip” as opposed to a sustained trend. Long-range forecasts for this market suggest that home values across the Seattle metro will be higher in fall 2019 than they are right now.
Seattle Home Prices Dipped in Summer 2018
Last month, the Seattle Times published a report that was based on data provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). MLS figures revealed that home prices within the city of Seattle dropped quite a bit over the summer.
During the three-month period from June to August 2018, the median price point for the Seattle housing market dropped by $70,000.
According to that report:
“Looking just at the city of Seattle, the change is even more pronounced: The median house last month sold for $760,000, a drop of $45,000 in just one month and $70,000 in three months.”
Prices fell across King County as a whole, according to NWMLS data. Countywide, the median cost for a single-family home fell to $669,000 as of August 2018. That was a drop of around $57,000 since May of this year.
These short-term trends are noteworthy because they suggest a shift in the Seattle real estate market. Home prices in the area have risen steadily, and significantly, for the last few years. So it’s certainly a change to see them dip for a change.
Forecasts Predict Higher House Values in 2019
Despite these declines, most analysts and economists are predicting that home prices in Seattle will be higher toward the end of 2019 than they are right now. So that’s something to consider, if you’re planning to make a purchase in 2019.
The research team at Zillow, for example, predicted this month that the median home value in Seattle would “rise 6% within the next year” (ending around October of 2019).
So, we have one report showing a short-term drop in house prices in Seattle, and a forecast that predicts values will be higher in fall 2019 than they are right now.
The key takeaway here is that the Seattle real estate market — which has long been cited as one of the hottest markets in the country — is finally cooling down a bit. Change is in the wind.
Signs That Housing Inventory Is Increasing
There’s another sign that the local real estate market is changing, and it’s one we’ve covered in the past. After years of suffering from record-low inventory levels, the Seattle area is now seeing an increase in the number of homes for sale. It’s happening across King County as well.
An NWMLS report from October stated:
“A new report from Northwest MLS shows double-digit increases in inventory in several of the 23 counties it serves, led by a 78 percent year-over-year gain in King County.”
If inventory continues to grow, it could affect home-price appreciation in the Seattle metro area. It would also be welcomed news for buyers who are planning to enter the market in 2019. They might have more properties to choose from, compared to those who purchased in 2017 or 2018.
The city’s population continues to grow as well, creating more housing demand on both the rental and purchase side. According to “Emerging Trends in Real Estate,” a report published recently by the Urban Land Institute, the city of Seattle’s population could grow at “twice the national rate” in 2019.
These are interesting times for the Seattle housing scene. We will continue to monitor these and other trends relevant to home buyers and homeowners in the area, and provide ongoing updates.