December King County home prices surpass July 2007 peak

Increased-CostThe median price of single-family homes sold in King County in December jumped 15% over the year to a new record of $508,000.

King County’s housing market hit two milestones in December: The median single-family home price set a new high, $508,000, topping the $481,000 peak reached in July 2007 before prices began their long slide.

And the number of active listings of houses and condominiums — just 2,196 — hit the lowest monthly level since at least 1993, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

For sellers, it’s a dream. For buyers, it’s a nightmare. And for sellers who want to buy their next home, it’s complicated.

Surrounding counties also saw robust gains: The median price in Snohomish County was $358,000, up 8%; in Pierce County, $252,500, up 11%; and in Kitsap, $269,950, up 15%.

Location, location, location…

Across the region, there continue to be large discrepancies in home prices and market dynamics.

On the Eastside, the most expensive sub-market in King County, the median price of single-family homes sold in December was $675,000, up a relatively small 6% over the year.

However, in Seattle, the median price rose 20% over the year to $600,000. North King County saw its median price jump 25% over the year to $480,000.

Some still underwater in South King County

While the median single-family home price in those pricier submarkets has recovered the ground lost in the past recession, some homeowners in large swaths of South King County remain underwater. Their mortgage debt is greater than their home’s value.

In seven South King County areas, median prices are still more than 10% off their peak in the last cycle, but they seem to be moving in the right direction: In Southwest King County, the median price rose 17% over the year to $305,000. The median price in Southeast King County was $349,950, a 12% gain.

Condominium prices also rose in December. In King County, the median sale price was $279,975, up 8 percent over the year, and in Snohomish County, it was $256,995, up 7 percent.

All of condominium market not fully recovered from bust

The condominium market outside downtown Seattle, the Central District, and downtown Bellevue, hasn’t recovered fully from the bursting of the housing bubble. In many sub-markets, median condo prices are still more than 20% off the previous peak.

From: The Seattle Times, January 7, 2016

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