Is the real estate market in Seattle good or bad?
Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:11PM
Bonnie Beddall in Market Update, Seattle Real Estate Market

Over the 23 years I’ve been in the Seattle Real Estate business I have tracked the Seattle Real Estate market statistically. Often times studying the numbers tells an experienced agent things that are contrary to what most people actually think is, or has been, happening in the Seattle Real Estate market.  Staying current with sales numbers year after year gives me vital information I need for my clients that are both buying and selling.

For example when the bubble burst in Seattle at the end of 2007 most people thought that 2008 was the worst year we have had for sales in Seattle in our recent times.  Well they were partially correct because total sales in 2008 were way below sales levels in 2007.  Then people thought that prices kept falling every year until 2011 and again they were partially correct.  Depending on where the property was however, which neighborhood it was in and the style and condition of the property had a substantial impact on the price as well.  The closer in to the Seattle city center you were, the less the price dropped and the sooner prices stabilized.  The farther out you were the more the prices fell and they kept falling for a longer period.

Some Seattle neighborhoods survived the bad years for the real estate market

So “close-in” areas like Queen Anne, Magnolia, Capitol Hill, Ravenna, Bryant, Green Lake, Wallingford, and Ballard saw prices fall between 25% to 30% from 2008 through 2009.  Then prices stabilized for the most part by the spring of 2010, while areas further away from downtown dropped more in price over a longer period of time.  For the most part, the close-in Seattle neighborhoods have been stable from early 2010 until the spring of 2012. One interesting trend to note is that total sales have declined each year starting in 2008. 2011 was worst year we have had for the total number of homes sold, although prices were relatively stable.

In these close-in areas, MLS #390, 700, 705 and 710 there were a total of 4663 single-family homes that closed in 2007.  In 2011 the total was 3434 or 36% less than in 2007. 

For the close-in neighborhoods, MLS #’s 390 (Capitol Hill), 700 (Queen Anne/Magnolia), 705 (Ballard/Green Lake), and 710 (Northeast Seattle), the total number of single-family homes sold increased by about 15% from 2011 to 2012.  3,434 homes were sold in 2011 compared to 4,056 homes sold in 2012. Remember that 2011 was a very low year for total sales.  In 2012 the total number of sold homes increased, yet it was still about 15% fewer homes sold than in 2007. Although we are still rebuilding the region’s inventory, there are some indicators that point to the real estate market in Seattle looking more good than bad.

Two Seattle neighborhoods with a good market in 2012

Let’s take a closer look at MLS area 700 (Queen Anne/Magnolia) and 705 (Ballard/Green Lake). For MLS Area 705, Ballard/Green Lake, the average List Price for 2011 was $442,546 and the average sold price was $432,256.  The average List price for 2012 was $459,387 with the average Sold price being $458,467.  That represents about a 5.7% increase in average price from 2011 to 2012.

For MLS Area 700, Queen Anne/Magnolia, the average List price for 2011 was $655,497 with the average Sold price of $628,570.  Then the average List price for 2012 was $668,132 with the average Sold being $652,164 for a 3.6% increase over 2011.

The Seattle Real Estate Market is GOOD

The Seattle economy is one of the best economies in the country.  The state jobless rate has fallen to 7.6% and the national rate is 7.8% while Seattle jobless rate has fallen to 6.5%.  OK I feel a prediction coming here: If the National economy continues to improve or at worst stays the same the bottom of Seattle Real Estate Market was at the end of 2010 and is on its way up.  If the national economy falters then I think the worse case for Seattle Real Estate is that it remains flat.  Either way this is a great time to buy for first time homebuyers and a great time to buy for the move up buyer.  And if you bought your home prior to 2005 this is not a bad time to sell especially if you want to move up.

In summary, the Seattle real estate market is VERY good and getting better. This is perhaps the best time to buy real estate in Seattle that we may see our lifetime!  That being said, you still have to be smart about what you buy and how much you pay. 

I’d love to talk with you about buying a home or perhaps selling and moving up to take advantage of today’s great market. Let’s get in touch!



Article originally appeared on Seattle's Best Real Estate (
See website for complete article licensing information.