Puget Sound housing market hits record numbers as prices continue to soar

Jan 20, 2022, 3:50 PM | Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 10:40 am
homes, single family zoning, moving company, Puget Sound housing...
Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house for sale in 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin)
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin)

Despite historically low inventory, the Puget Sound region’s housing market set records for total closed sales in 2021.

Economist: Unsustainable for Puget Sound home values to be up every year

Newly-released year-end data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) showed that “annual sales volume surpassed 100,000 transactions” in the region in 2021, the first time that has ever occurred. In total, 107,354 sales combined for over $75 billion in value, marking a year-over-year increase of roughly 33%.

“Last year’s robust sales came despite record low inventory,” the NWMLS said in a press release. “No month had more than a month of supply.”

Typically, a so-called “balanced market” will have between four and six months of inventory. According to the NWMLS, the Puget Sound region hasn’t had four months of inventory in nearly seven years.

That’s made it a decidedly seller-friendly market, evidenced by the fact that buyers paid nearly 105% of the listing price on average last year. That number increased to almost 107% in King County, and 106% in Snohomish County.

That was accompanied by a 20% jump in prices for single-family residential homes region-wide, and a 14% increase in King County. In terms of more affordable homes, only a small sliver of sales sat in the price range, with just 6% of single-family homes selling for under $300,000. Nearly half of all sales were between $500,000 and $1 million.

How the pandemic is leaving a lasting footprint on the Puget Sound housing market

Increases have been consistent across King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties dating back to 1991. Between 1991 and 2001, residential home prices in King County shot up by almost 90%, 57% in Snohomish County, and over 32% in Pierce County. Even more significantly, prices in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties skyrocketed 249%, 274%, and 258%, respectively, between 2011 and 2021.

An additional 174 homes sold for $5 million or more in 2021, with the highest price tag coming from a house along Lake Washington that sold for $30.7 million. Another three homes on the Eastside sold for over $20 million each.

Among school districts in the region, the most expensive homes were found in Mercer Island, selling for an average of $2.2 million. That was followed by Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Bainbridge Island, and Lopez Island, all of which averaged more than $1 million per sale.

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Puget Sound housing market hits record numbers as prices continue to soar