Brokers within the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) area were *busy* during 2015 (all 23,800 of them, working within 23 Washington State counties!). Closed sales NWMLS-wide surpassed the pre-recession volume levels of 2007. Measured in dollars, single family residences and condo sales topped $34+ billion. That equates to sales of 75,975 single family homes and 12,356 condos last year. Wow!
Growth in Seattle area home prices during 2015 repeatedly made national news. This image above outlines how much growth the NWMLS areas in the Puget Sound region experienced last year in the single family residence market, with each area seeing increases in median home prices year-over-year. The neighborhoods with the largest single family increases are Bellevue – West of 405(22.7%), Beacon Hill (17%) and Shoreline (15.5%), while 11 of the neighborhoods in the Puget Sound region experienced over 10% growth in median prices in 2015. Well priced, desirable homes flew off the market, which contributed to these increases, with the droves of tech and STEM workers who relocated to greater Seattle.
Luxury sales NWMLS-wide surged last year, with the sale of 2,676 single family homes and 237 condos priced at $1million or more. The high end home market in the greater Seattle area experienced noteworthy activity, where 34 homes sold at $5+ million dollars during 2015 (compared to 31 homes in 2014). 2/3 of those sales were all cash! The international buyer extensively made high end home purchases in the Puget Sound area, making up 39% of high end buyers. Which cities had the most high-end sales during 2015? That would be Mercer Island and Bellevue, they both had 7 home sales priced over $5 million dollars. In fact, the city of Mercer Island was home to the highest priced sale in the NWMLS last year ($13.8 million).
2016 is shaping up to bring more home price growth to our region. Zillow projects a 5.4% growth in Seattle housing prices this year, placing it in the number 2 spot on their list of hottest markets in the U.S. Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell said in a statement, “… this year, the markets that shine brightest will be those that manage to strike a good balance between strong income growth, low unemployment and solid home value appreciation.” There have been questions about affordability for Seattle buyers, but our income is also slated to grow by 1.1% – that solidly places our area second on the national income growth list Zillow compiled.
How about the luxury market? Will it fare as well in 2016? Zillow is speculating a cooling in higher priced residential real estate. Windermere Real Estate president, OB Jacobi, has something different to say about this real estate sector, “With so many companies hiring, and no one wanting to leave, we expect the trends of 2015 to carry on through 2016.”