Washington State continues to lead the nation in home price gains, according to recent reports. The Seattle metro area, in particular, has seen significant gains in house prices. It’s the result of low inventory and high demand. These are a few of the Washington State real estate market trends we are tracking, as we head into spring of 2017.
Washington State Real Estate Market Trends: Spring 2017
With the spring home-buying “season” right around the corner, buyers will soon be entering the real estate market in higher numbers. That’s usually what happens this time of year. What will they find? Limited inventory and higher prices. Those are the prominent trends in the Washington State real estate market right now.
1. Washington State had the largest increase in home prices in February.
According to a recent report by CoreLogic, a financial and property information company, home prices in Washington rose faster than any other state in February 2017. Statewide, house values rose 11.1% in February, compared to a year earlier. The real estate data company Zillow reports a gain of 10.3% over the last year, using their own proprietary measurement.
2. The median home value statewide is now north of $300,000.
According to the latest data, the median home price for Washington State is now somewhere between $320,000 and $330,000 (depending on the source). Of course, it’s much higher in the Seattle metro area, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Washington State home prices are higher now than they’ve ever been before, even during the last housing boom. They are expected to continue rising throughout 2017.
3. Housing inventory in Seattle has fallen sharply over the last five years.
Seattle is an exaggerated version of the real estate market trends happening across Washington State in 2017. In many cities, limited inventory and strong demand are pushing prices north. And nowhere is this trend more apparent than in Seattle.
In fact, a recent report by Trulia showed that the number of homes for sale across the Seattle metro area has dropped by 67% over the last five years. That was the second-biggest decline among the nation’s 100 largest metros (Salt Lake City had the biggest).
4. Seattle median home price rises above $700,000, excluding condos.
In Seattle, the median home price for all property types rose to $630,800 in March 2017, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That was an increase of 14.2% over March 2016. If you exclude condos, the median price jumps to $700,000 — the highest level ever recorded, and 10% higher than last year. Home prices in the city have doubled over the last five years, the MLS group reports.
House values in the Eastside portion of Seattle climbed even higher last month. The median price in the Eastside rose to $870,000, an increase of 17.7% from a year ago and another record.
5. Mortgage rates are settling down, for now.
Washington State real estate market trends have created a sense of urgency among home buyers planning to enter the market. There’s little doubt that house prices will continue rising for the foreseeable future.
Mortgage rates, on the other hand, seem to have settled down following a sharp spike at the end of 2016. We reported on this yesterday. According to the latest survey by Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan fell to 4.10% for the week of April 6, 2017. That marked three consecutive weeks of falling rates.