It’s not just the Craftsman down the block dropping in price. Home prices across the Puget Sound area continue to trend down.
That includes some of the priciest homes on the market. A waterfront home in Hunts Point on the Eastside that was listed for $21.5 million in July is now $18.9 million. An expansive mansion at an undisclosed address on Lake Washington dipped from $32.5 million to just under $30 million. And an estate in a secluded Madison Park enclave priced at $35 million in May could now be yours for just $29 million.
Price drops spanning all levels of homes are yet another sign of the region’s cooling real estate market, according to new data released Thursday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The number of pending home sales in King County in August was down about 27% year over year, according to the listing service. Home prices are still up compared to this time a year ago, but continue to fall from their peak this spring.
The median single-family home sold for $899,999 in King County, $749,999 in Snohomish County, $555,000 in Pierce County and $550,000 in Kitsap County.
King County prices were up 5.9% from last August, but down 9.9% since May of this year. During the same period last year, prices dipped 2.3%.
Condo buyers and sellers are encountering a similar market. The median-price King County condo sold for $485,000 in August, up 5.9% from last year but down 8.6% from the spring. During the same span last year, prices were flat.
The figures underscore that the latest trend is more than a typical fall slowdown, as rising mortgage rates and economic concerns keep homebuyers on the sidelines.
Similar slowdowns are playing out all over the country. Nationally, the average home sold for slightly less than its list price last month, according to Redfin.
Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner called the local figures “eye-opening,” but argued “they are simply indicating the market is trending back to the more normalized conditions that we were seeing before the pandemic.” Gardner said in a statement he expects prices to continue to drop this fall.
Homeowners needing to move or hoping to cash in on their current property are squeezed.
“A lot of sellers I’ve had on market for a couple months have started to pull their listings,” said Redfin agent David Palmer. They’re opting to stay in the houses for now or rent them out, he said.
Sellers whose properties are languishing may drop their prices. And those just hitting the market “are more conservative” in their pricing, Palmer said.
On the flip side, buyers are finding less severe competition.
Buyers are securing deals with protections that have become uncommon in recent years, like the ability to sell their previous house first.
“It’s not going to happen on every property, but it’s a definite possibility if the home has been on market longer than 30 days,” Palmer said.
Still, plenty of people are staying put. In King County, sellers and buyers struck 27% fewer deals for single-family homes in August compared to the same month last year. Elsewhere in the Puget Sound region, pending sales dropped between 18% and 23% year over year.
Keller Williams agent Nicole Dankworth described the trend as “a stalemate market.”
Buyers are holding off to see if the market will cool even further, while sellers are hesitant to let go of their homes for less than the prices they saw a few months ago, Dankworth said. “I’ve never really seen anything like this.”
Dankworth worked with one recent buyer who secured a Craftsman home in West Seattle for $185,000 under its list price. She listed an updated four-bedroom in Kenmore for $1.35 million in June that sold for $1.2 million last month.
Those trends extend to the luxury market, too, she said.
Dankworth suspects luxury buyers hit by downturns in the stock market are “not making any big moves right now.”
Meanwhile, luxury sellers who have been reluctant to drop their prices are finally ready to go for a huge reduction or accept a low offer, according to Dankworth.
Even so, the region remains a seller’s market, according to the listing service. It would take about six to seven weeks to sell all the homes for sale in the Puget Sound region at current demand, according to a measure known as months of inventory.
That’s better news for buyers compared to this spring, when it would have taken three weeks or less, but still short of the four to six months the industry considers a balanced market.