A record low inventory of houses and condos for sale helped push the median price of single-family homes in King County sold in February to $429,900.

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The median price of King County homes sold in February rose 6 percent over the year to $429,900 amid a sharp drop in active listings.

February marked the fourth consecutive month of record-low inventory of houses and condominiums for sale in King County. It’s an indication that the seller’s market — now going strong for three years — is even more difficult for first-time buyers.

The month’s ratio of active listings to pending sales was the lowest of any February going back as far as 2003, and the third lowest in any month over those 12 years, according to a Seattle Times analysis of data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The drought in local homes for sale, combined with heavy demand from buyers, has real-estate brokers openly worrying that the pressure on prices could become toxic.

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“We’re to the point now where I’m worried about another bubble,” said Bill Groen, a veteran broker at Keller Williams Realty in Bothell. “I worry about affordability throughout King County and South Snohomish County.”

Trevor Smith, managing broker of Locality Seattle, said he’s concerned when he sees homes that need a lot of work receiving multiple offers.

“It’s important for the buyer to keep their wits about them and not get caught in the frenzy,” Smith said.


Just like January, February’s number of pending sales — mutually agreed contracts that haven’t closed yet — were the highest on record in King County since 2005.

“February was a very robust month,” said Gary O’Leyar, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, in a MLS press release. “If there is any real-estate-market slowdown, we’re not seeing it.”

The area’s biggest jump in median price was in affordable Southeast King County, which soared 16 percent over the year to $310,000, according to the MLS. Pending sales were up 46 percent.

Close behind was North King County, where the median price rose 15 percent to $419,000. Single-family home sales there were up 74 percent over the year, according to the MLS.

In Seattle, where there were 18 percent fewer active listings in February than a year ago, the median price of single-family homes jumped 13 percent to $520,000.

The Eastside, King County’s most expensive submarket, had the smallest decline in the number of active listings, which were down 8 percent. The median price of Eastside homes sold was $617,645.

Southwest King County, the county’s most affordable submarket, saw a 40 percent jump in sales, with a median price of $265,000, 10 percent more than a year ago.

Snohomish County’s median price was $330,000 while Pierce County’s was $233,000, both 5 percent more than last February.

In the condominium market, the number of active listings dropped sharply in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

That helped boost the median price in King to $257,000, up 5 percent over the year; in Snohomish to $240,712, a 38 percent jump; and in Pierce to $215,500, a 52 percent jump, according to MLS statistics.

In downtown Seattle, the region’s largest condo market, February’s median price was $539,500, 2 percent lower than a year ago.

Overall, the median price of condos sold in Seattle last month was $295,000, down 8.5 percent over the year. On the Eastside, it was $272,600, up 10 percent.