Prices have dropped, but the median sale price of a house in King County is $644,000. That remains on the high end of the market nationally and makes homeownership an impossible dream for many.

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After having the hottest housing market in the country for two years, Seattle home sales have cooled and the city has dropped to fourth place behind San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix. This is annoying news for people who paid way over the asking price for their house purchases at the height of the market a few months ago. It is also a disappointment for folks with homes to sell right now. Instead of having the price jacked up in a frenzied bidding war between potential buyers, sellers are cutting the asking price to lure in the diminished number of house hunters.

This is good news for homebuyers, right? The answer is yes — with a big asterisk. From 2012 to last spring, prices shot up 136 percent. The 11 percent drop since then is significant, but it still leaves the median sale price of a house in King County at $644,000. That remains on the high end of the market nationally. If someone is moving from San Francisco, a house under $700,000 may sound cheap, but coming from most other places — or being a longtime local with a modest income — it is still a big chunk of change.

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