The typical house in Seattle now costs 74 percent more than it did in 2011. Across King County, the median home price is up 66 percent over those five years.
As home prices and rents continue to soar faster in the Seattle area than just about anywhere else in the nation, the city and its neighbors have set new highs for housing costs.
Seattle’s median single-family home cost $666,500 in June, easily beating out the record set in February, according to figures released Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Seattle home prices have risen 15.9 percent just in the past year and an astounding 74 percent in the last five years.
The typical Seattle home now costs about $300,000 more than it did when the market bottomed out in 2011.
Looking across the broader area, King County set a price record for the fifth straight month, while Snohomish County hit a new high for the second straight month. The Eastside actually saw prices drop slightly from a month ago, but still had its second-priciest month ever. And Pierce and Kistap counties saw double-digit percentage growth to close within inches of their price peaks set before the recession.
“I don’t see any end in sight, yet,” said South Lake Union broker Eric Shull of John L. Scott Real Estate. “We’re still going to see price increases. With all the tech companies moving our way and more employees moving this way, it’s just nuts.”
Kally Macarthur and her family had been looking for a house in South Seattle for eight months, only to be outbid on four homes despite offering more than the listing price.
“We just felt really down, like we’re never going to get a house,” Macarthur said. “Like, where are these people coming from with all this money?”
They wound up buying a house in the Lakewood/Seward Park area in May, after, like many buyers, going $100,000 over their initial $550,000 budget.
“As the process went on, our price range went higher and higher,” she said. “I’m just amazed how the market has become the way it is.”
More homes for sale
The extreme shortage of available houses continues to drive up prices, though the latest figures show what may be at least a glimmer of hope: The number of homes available across the county soared 18 percent from a month ago.
The increase was somewhat expected because summer is always a busy homebuying season.
The supply of homes listed for sale is still down 7 percent from a year ago. That gap may not sound good, but it’s actually the smallest annual drop in supply in King County in more than a year and a half.
“We’ll probably have some more inventory on the market through October,” said Laura Horetski, a broker with John L. Scott. But she added, “There are a lot more buyers than there are sellers.”
Across King County, home values clocked in at $573,500 for June — up 14.7 percent in a year and 66 percent in five years.
Home costs are going up fastest in outlying areas with the most room for prices to grow.
The median home cost soared 36 percent during the past year in Burien/Normandy Park, 28 percent in the Highlands/Kennydale part of Renton and 25 percent in Northeast Seattle.
Prices actually dropped slightly in two high-cost areas: Mercer Island and Redmond/Carnation.
No condo consolation
Looking for something smaller and cheaper? Good luck. The median condo in King County now costs $350,000 — also a record, and an increase of 22 percent in just a year.
Not every area set a record. The Eastside actually saw its median home price ($746,500) drop slightly compared with a month ago, making June “only” the second-most expensive month in its history.
The Eastside’s annual home-price growth of 11.4 percent — while historically very high — still lags Seattle’s.
Looking at the rest of the Puget Sound region, Snohomish County’s median home price in June was $395,000, an increase of 9.7 percent from a year ago and a new high.
Home values were $284,200 in Pierce County (up 10.6 percent in a year) and $299,975 in Kitsap County (up 11.1 percent).
Pierce County is now just about $7,000 below its high-point set in summer 2007, and Kitsap County trails its pre-recession record by roughly $5,000.
Housing costs are going up across the nation, but not like this.
In May, the Seattle region’s home-price growth ranked 10th among 402 metro areas in the nation, according to new CoreLogic data. The only major city it trailed was Portland.
And after Washington led all states in price growth for three straight months, it now trails only Oregon after statewide home values rose 10.1 percent in May compared with a year prior, CoreLogic said.
Renters aren’t faring any better than homebuyers. A slew of new reports in the last week from various firms shows Seattle continues to climb up the rankings of cities with the fastest-growing rents, rising between 7 and 11 percent in the past year, depending on the source.
Apartmentlist.com put Seattle’s surging rents first among major cities, with the median 1-bedroom on its site at $1,730 a month and the typical 2-bedroom at $2,250.
Making things worse, workers haven’t been getting big enough raises to cover the housing-cost increases, and wage growth has slowed across the state.