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Record-breaking month spurs ‘strong, chaotic’ Puget Sound housing market

Housing prices in the Puget Sound region have soared to record levels. (Getty Images)

Housing prices in the Puget Sound region have continued to soar, reaching record levels in May, and showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

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According to the latest data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the median sale price of residential homes grew nearly 30% year-over-year in King County last month, as well as over 35% in Snohomish County, and 28% in Pierce County. That marked a new record high for median prices in the region.

This has come alongside record lows in supply, with housing inventory in Western Washington dropping by over 4,800 listings year-over-year in May, marking a decline of 46%.

“Everything is about breaking records this past year with record-breaking housing prices, record-breaking low inventory, and record-breaking consumer savings rates during the pandemic,” said Meredith Hansen, owner of Keller Williams Greater Seattle, in a written release.

All this amounts to what Hansen describes as a “very strong, chaotic market that may not slow down for the next year.”

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Additionally, homes being sold in the Puget Sound region are often going for well over the asking price. Combined across King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap counties, residential homes sold for an average of 108.6% over the asking price in May. In King County alone, that number sat at 109.5%.

As Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner also points out, though, any year-over-year comparisons we make right now should come with a disclaimer, given that the pandemic had a significant effect on the housing market in May 2020.

“I would caution everyone to take those numbers with a bit of a pinch of salt,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “I say that because remember where we were last May, and so looking at year over year comparisons, quite frankly for anything, is probably going to give you an overly optimistic view of the world.”

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