King County home prices climb with the worst shortage of inventory in a decade

The continuing shortage of homes for sale helped send prices on homes sold last month through the roof: King County’s median price for single-family homes sold was $499,950, a 13.6 percent increase over a year ago.


King County is experiencing the worst shortage of homes for sale in more than a decade, driving prices higher and keeping more would-be buyers in apartments.

The median price of single-family homes sold last month in King County was $499,950, a 13.6 percent increase over the past 12 months, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Friday. The median condominium price jumped 19.4 percent over the year to $298,500.

There were 2,917 active listings of houses and condos in all of King County, or a month’s supply, compared to the historical average of about 9,000 listings for this time of year. Brokerages are alarmed… as far back as 1999 there’s not been a lack of homes for sale to this degree.

Housing production can’t keep up with the massive influx of residents from out of state, said Todd Britsch, Northwest regional director for Metrostudy, a research firm that tracks home construction. State data on driver’s licenses show about 6,000 new people moved to King County, on average, each month so far this year.

Though the long-term homeownership rate has been well above 60 percent, King County, especially Seattle, doesn’t have enough buildable land for single-family homes, Britsch said. As a result, about 70 percent of the housing being produced over the next two years is apartments.

“What we are doing with our current regulations is turning the Puget Sound into the next San Francisco, where only the elite can afford a house,” he said.

Land costs are so high that the median price of new single-family homes is $720,000 in King County and in the mid-$500,000s in Snohomish County. The Seattle TImes, December 4. 2015

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