Q1 2016 Real Estate Reviews for Seattle, Mercer Island and the Eastside

Seattle Report

Affordability is the buzzword this quarter as inventory continues to be extremely tight and prices escalate faster than wages can keep up.

Monthly housing costs increased 7% in Q1 over those in Q4 and 21% over Q1 of 2015. Wow! With wage growth in the 3-5% range it’s easy to see why affordability is a topic of discussion.

Sellers commanded the market in the first quarter with record low levels of inventory to meet demand.

The draw to our region continues to be strong employment growth—especially in the tech sector—that makes paying higher costs worth the sacrifice for many local residents who land their dream job.

Rent increases, having exceeded home appreciation in the Seattle area for much of the past decade, are finally showing signs of slowing as 36,000 new apartments are slated to come online.

Seattle residential homes benefited from significant year-over-year appreciation – with Q1 2016 prices up 21.7% over Q1 of last year.

Sustainability is a word that should be on everyone’s mind. When housing costs get out of line with wages a correction is usually just around the corner.

Click here for the full report and to see how prices have changed in your neighborhood!

Eastside Report

The Eastside has benefitted greatly from the tech industry expansion of several well-known companies who’ve decided to call the Eastside home.

One look at the Bellevue city skyline or the list of major employers growing in Kirkland leaves no doubt that the numbers are real.

The first quarter of 2016 was a solid seller’s market with limited supply of homes to meet buyer demand.

Monthly housing costs increased 6% in Q1 over those in Q4 and 16% over Q1 of 2015. More conservative than Seattle’s growth despite the Eastside’s higher price point.

While most areas continue to be dominated by a seller-favored environment, balanced markets are popping up—particularly in the higher price brackets.

Eastside residential homes benefited from significant year-over-year appreciation – with Q1 2016 prices up 15.6% over Q1 of last year.

Mercer Island, East Bellevue, Juanita-Woodinville showed this strongest year-over-year price gains in Q1 while West Bellevue prices stagnated following a run-up in Q3 of 2015.

Click here for the full report and to see how prices fared in your neighborhood!

Mercer Island Report

Gone is the entry-level low end of Mercer Island’s real estate market. It’s sad but true that not only is there very little inventory to choose from—less than half of normal levels—there are almost no livable homes priced below a million dollars and those that are have largely been snatched up by builders and remodelers.

Mercer Island’s Q1 average sale price was up 27.3% over Q1 of 2015, although its cost per home square foot was only 16.7% higher.

Given that the homes sold in the first quarter of 2016 were 9% larger, it makes sense that some of that double digit increase reflects an increase in the percentage of larger and more valuable homes transacting rather than just simple appreciation.

Anecdotally, those active in the market have found the most desirable and turn-key homes priced below $1.5 million to be listing at prices 10% above those of last fall and often being bid up another 10%.

Being centered in the middle of both the booming Seattle and Eastside metro hubs has certainly hasn’t hurt Island properties.

The biggest question on many people’s minds is likely to be, “how long will this last?”.  The answer is as long as demand and wages can support it. Seattle and its suburbs are still affordable compared to many national tech meccas.

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

© Copyright 2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

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