Flurry of year-end home sales brings strong finish to 2014
A dip in the number of King County homes sold during 2014 can be traced to the tightest supply of active listings in more than a decade. December’s median single-family home price was up 4.8 percent over the year.
Seattle Times business reporter
King County’s housing market ended 2014 with a flurry of sales, but with the lowest supply of active listings in any month going back more than a decade.
The median price of single-family homes sold in December was $440,000, up 4.8 percent over the year, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Tuesday.
Last month’s 1,982 single-family sales in King County made it the busiest December since 2005. And there were 2,130 pending sales — mutual purchase agreements that haven’t closed yet — a 9 percent jump over the year.
“We don’t have the inventory to fill the demand,” said John Deely, principal managing broker at CB Bain in Seattle.
That crunch affected total sales: The MLS reported 24,393 sales of single-family homes for the year, 300 fewer than in 2013. In the previous five years, total sales volume climbed each year in King County.
The $440,000 median price of single-family homes in 2014 was 6 percent higher than in 2013, MLS data shows.
“I’m looking forward to 2015,” said Mike Gain, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate in Seattle. “It’s just going to be a very healthy, steady year. I don’t think we’ll see price increases off the charts.”
Sales of high-end homes ramped up in 2014. Nearly 2,000 homes priced at $1 million or more sold in King County, the MLS reported — more than 25 percent higher than in 2013.
King County’s median price still was about 3 percent off the last peak of $455,000, set in 2007.
The degree of recovery varies hugely across the county, however. Nine MLS areas ended the year with median prices surpassing their last peak, while the rest are still catching up.
Among the areas reaching all-time highs in 2014:
Mercer Island, with a medium price of $1.1 million, up from $963,500 in 2013, a 14.2 percent jump that led all MLS areas in the county in annual gains.
Bellevue neighborhoods west of Interstate 405 had a median price of $1.45 million, the highest of any area in King County, up from $1.28 million in 2013.
Also on the Eastside, median prices in Redmond and Kirkland reached new highs of $634,800 and $708,500, respectively.
In Seattle, Central Seattle, Queen Anne/Magnolia and areas north of the Ship Canal all surpassed their last peaks. Areas north of the Ship Canal saw median prices gain more than 10 percent over the year, hitting $515,000.
At the same time, seven MLS areas are still more than 20 percent off their last peaks in median prices, including the Skyway, Jovita and Burien/Normandy Park areas.
Meanwhile, the condominium market poked along in December, with 732 units sold in the tri-county area.
In King County, December’s median price was $260,000, up 4 percent over the year; in Snohomish County, it jumped 43 percent to $240,000, likely due to more sales of high-end units; and in Pierce County, the median price was $140,000, up 3.3 percent.
For the year, the median condo price in King County was $252,000, still 12 percent off the peak set in 2007.
Only one MLS area has surpassed the last peak: Downtown Seattle.
In Snohomish County, December’s median price for single-family homes was $332,000, 8.5 percent higher than a year ago, while Pierce County’s median was $227,000, up 6.6 percent. Kitsap County’s median was unchanged at $235,000.