Puget Sound housing market roars back to life in March
After a winter lull, the housing market across the Puget Sound region rebounded in a big way in March. Why the quick turnaround, and where should potential buyers look for bargains? Windermere Real Estate’s Matthew Gardner stopped in to answer those questions.
In January, the median closing price for residential homes in King County sat down at $610,000. That number jumped all the way up to $667,00 in March. Similar increases were also reported in Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap Counties.
“Quite a significant pop,” Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross on Seattle’s Morning News. “I started looking at the number of sales and transactions between February and March — they jumped by over 60 percent in King County, more than that in Snohomish, and about just shy of that in Kitsap.”
Gardner attributes that to a couple factors: First, the historic amount of snow that dumped on the region in early-February, and the subsequent turnaround in weather for March. Second, a “significant” decrease in mortgage rates that saw them drop by around half a percent.
“I think a lot of people that were on the fences jumped off them, and we actually are going to see a real spring market,” he said.
Despite all that, the real boom in real estate prices is occurring outside the boundaries of King County. Among King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap Counties, King County was the only one to see a year-over-year dip in prices.
From March 2018 to 2019, King County saw a 3.22 percent decrease in the median closing price for residential homes. Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap saw increases of 5.26 percent, 3.75 percent, and 5.23 percent respectively over that same period.
That leaves buyers in King County with a handful of feasible options in the Greater Seattle Area, buoyed by the impending expansion of light rail.
“I am still remarkably excited about markets which are proximate to future light rail stations,” said Gardner.
To that end, he suggests more affordable areas like Northgate, Shoreline, and Mountlake Terrace, all of which will be treated to more transit options in the coming years.
“I would be without a doubt looking at these markets,” he notes.