Seattle Real Estate Market Update – Year to Date

I know I have been saying this now for a number of months, but the Seattle market has been off the charts! Instead of doing a month over month review, I wanted to take a look at the overall trends and compare how the real estate market is doing at the 2014 halfway point, comparing year-to-date residential and condominium data for 2011-2014. What I found is several areas are feeling the inventory pinch in a big way. Take a look at the summaries for the five areas I track below:

Central Seattle (Area 305)

Central Seattle is feeling the inventory pinch, though not as bad as other areas. You can see our surplus of inventory in 2011 and how much it declined over 2012 and 2013. We have not seen much change between 2013 and 2014, other than the average inventory has declined by an average of about 12.5%.


The number of solds increased dramatically in 2013 (+32.8%), but inventory challenges have caused 2014 to get off on a slower start.


Queen Anne/Magnolia (Area 700)

Demand for homes is strong in these areas. Again, average inventory declined between 2011 and 2012 and has stayed about the same over 2013 and 2014. Average pendings are about the same as well, but you can see how close the pendings are to the inventory which indicates that demand is high.


The number of solds over 2013 and 2014 have also been stable. These would likely be higher if more inventory was available.


Belltown/Downtown (Area 701)

In 2011, housing demand in this area was the lowest among the five areas I evaluated, though not significantly so. This improved dramatically in 2012 but even more so in 2013 and 2014. Average inventory has improved in 2014, but only slightly. However, the average number of homes under contract have increased even more than the inventory has improved.


Accordingly, the number of sold properties has increased in 2014. However, we are not seeing a large increase in solds between 2011 through 2014 as we have in other areas.


Ballard/Greenlake (Area 705)

Wow!  Inventory decreased dramatically between 2011 and 2012. 2013 and 2014 are about the same in terms of average active listings and pendings. What is interesting is the number of average pendings is higher in both years than the number of available listings. This is indicative of very high demand.


Solds are up slightly and would be even higher were there more inventory to purchase:


North Seattle (Area 710)

This is the most in-demand area at the moment with the average number of pendings the same as last year, but the average inventory has dropped 11.38% over last year. Again, we see a dramatic change between 2011 and 2012, but 2013 and 2014 have the highest demand.


The number of solds has also increased, although this would be higher if more inventory was available.


Of the 12 listings I have at the moment, 8 of them are pending after being on the market an average of 11.88 days. What does this market mean for your real estate investment? Please give me a call at or give me a call: (206) 226-5300.

Light Rail and It’s Impact on Seattle Real Estate

In the last few years, you may have noticed an increase in the number of listings and rentals that are touting the benefit of being in close proximity to a Sound Transit station. With demand in the city center driving real estate and rental prices up, buyers and renters are being forced to find housing further away from the city core. However, light rail is leading the charge in bringing people in from the outskirts into Seattle and people are expected to flock to areas surrounding the planned new stations in the coming years.

For example, when Sound Transit came to Tukwila a few years ago and the station near the airport opened, there was an uptick in real estate interest in the area surrounding it. Commuting via light rail from Tukwila only takes a little more than a half an hour according to the Seattle Times. In Tukwila the median sales price in April, 2014 was $205,000. In Seattle, the median sales price for the same period is $415,000*. It is much more affordable to live in outlying areas and simply commute in!

Developers, potential homeowners, and landlords are watching light rail plans very closely and are investing in areas where Light Rail will be connected. Here are just a few of the light rail projects in various planning stages which are targeted over the next several years according to

  • East Link Extension: There will be 10 stations along this route which will include Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Bel-Red, and Overlake in Redmond. This is expected to be completed in 2023.

  • Lynnwood Link Extension: This will link Lynnwood to Northgate. This is targeted for completion in 2023.

  • Northgate Link Extension: This will link Northgate, Roosevelt, and U District Neighborhoods to downtown Seattle and the airport. Ride time will be 14 minutes from Northgate to Downtown. It is expected to be completed in 2021.

  • University Link Extension: This will link the University of Washington and Capitol Hill to downtown Seattle and the airport. There will be two stations at UW and Capitol Hill. This project is expected to be complete in 2016.

So what does this mean for housing? Here is an example of how our market is impacted by Sound Transit’s transportation projects: University Manor Apartments near UW were recently snapped up by an investor who was very interested in the property due to its proximity to future Light Rail. The 80 unit apartment/commercial building received an amazing 14 offers. The new owner indicated that due to the amount of increased traffic in the area may call for converting the ground floor apartments back to retail. Rentals around Light Rail in the Puget Sound can command higher rent. Opportunities abound!

In addition to commuting via Light Rail for work, people are also opting to use Light Rail for traveling for recreation and events in Seattle. This helps avoid the headaches associated with battling traffic, and finding and paying for parking.

Homeowners, potential buyers, and investors should keep a close eye on opportunities surrounding planned Light Rail stations. For additional information on how our area’s transportation plans impact you, please contact me: (206) 226-5300 or