King County housing market soars skyward ahead of summer
After a lull to start the year, the King County housing market is once again headed skyward.
Since February, the median closing price for residential homes in King County has yet to increase by more than 1 percent in any month, even falling by 5 percent in March. That’s not the case for May, where that median price climbed almost 7 percent ahead of the busy summer months.
“We had a pretty robust May,” Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “Essentially we saw mortgage rates drop precipitously down to about 4.2, 4.3 percent at the start of the month, down to 4 percent at the end. That got a lot of buyers off the fence.”
With more buyers entering the fray, pending sales in King County jumped 5 percent in May.
Even with that, though, prices are still well below 2018 levels, with the median residential home price falling 3.62 percent year-over-year. Year-over-year prices in King County have dipped in all but one month in 2019. The only exception occurred during February’s slight 0.78 percent bump.
According to Gardner, that’s been driven primarily by an increase in available homes.
“The number of homes are in the market continues to rise, with more choices for buyers,” he noted. “It’s still pretty tight, but we are seeing more inventory.”
While the summer months are typically the hottest both for weather and home prices, Gardner still expects increases to arrive “absolutely at more modest rates through the balance of the year.”
Down south, prices continued to drop in May, marked by a massive 5.24 percent dip in median residential prices in Pierce County.
“If you look at sales prices, let’s say for May — in King County: $645,000. In Pierce County? $365,000. A significant difference,” Gardner pointed out. “Based on affordability, that’s meaning a lot of people are heading down south.”