KIRKLAND, Wash. (Jan. 21, 2016) - Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported 88,331 closed sales during 2015, outgaining the prior year's volume of 77,276 transactions for a 14.3 percent increase.
Measured by dollars, last year's sales of single family homes and condominiums were valued at more than $34 billion. Compared to 2014, that dollar volume represents a gain of nearly 23 percent.
The sales activity reflects the work of 23,800 brokers across 23 counties in the member-owned Northwest MLS.
Last year's completed sales included 75,975 single family homes (about 86 percent of the total) and 12,356 condominiums. The total units and dollar volume surpassed the previous highs during 2007 when members registered 82,197 sales valued at $32.3 billion.
The area-wide median price for last year's sales of single family homes and condominiums was $310,000, improving on the previous year's figure of $285,000 (up nearly 8.8 percent). A comparison by county shows median sales prices ranged from $123,000 in Ferry County to $432,000 in King County.
Year-over-year prices for single family homes (excluding condominiums) increased almost 8.5 percent system-wide, rising from $295,000 in 2014 to last year's median price of $320,000. Condo prices jumped 13.3 percent, from the 2014 figure of $225,000 to last year's median selling price of $254,900.
Brokers scrambled to replenish inventory throughout 2015. They reported more than 116,000 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during 2015, while adding 107,578 new listings to inventory. Brokers said depleted inventory often led to bidding wars for homes in the most desirable areas.
During 2015, the average area-wide supply, as measured by months of inventory, fell to 2.4 month, down from the previous year's figure of 3.5 months. King County had the lowest level, averaging only 1.3 months of supply. Industry analysts tend to use a 4-to-6 month range as an indicator of a balanced market, favoring neither buyers nor sellers.
High-end sales also surged during 2015. Northwest MLS members reported 2,676 sales of single family homes priced at $1 million or more, up more than 29 percent from the 2014 total of 2,069 "luxury" sales. Condos priced at $1 million and up accounted for another 237 sales. A total of 1,459 condos commanded sales prices of $500,000, far outgaining 2014's total of 878 half-million dollar-plus sales (up 66 percent).
The highest-priced single family home that sold during 2015 by a member of Northwest MLS was a property on Mercer Island that commanded $13.8 million. Topping the chart of high-priced condominiums was one in a downtown Seattle high-rise that sold for more than $3.1 million.
Among other highlights in its annual compilation of statistics, Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported:
- About 46 percent of last year's single family home sales had three bedrooms, while the vast majority of condos (73 percent) had two bedrooms or fewer.
- The median price for a 3-bedroom home that sold in 2015 was $283,250, about 7.9 percent higher than the previous year's figure of $262,500. A comparison by county shows the median price for this size home ranged from $139,000 in Ferry County to $452,500 in San Juan County.
- Of the condo sales, about six of every 10 (61.9 percent) were located in King County, primarily in Seattle or on the Eastside. That ratio matched the figure for 2014.
- For the new construction component involving Northwest MLS brokers, newly built condos fetched higher prices than single family homes. Last year's sales included 8,548 newly built single family homes that sold for a median price of $425,000, and 1,018 condos that sold for a median price of $449,950.
- A comparison of 2015 and 2014 median prices of single family homes shows all but one county reported year-over-year gains, but most have not yet outgained the peaks reached in 2007.
- Prices vary widely among school districts. Homes that sold last year in nine districts reported median prices of more than a half-million dollars, topped by Mercer Island at $1.2 million.
In addition to the comprehensive statistical summary for its members, Northwest MLS also reported enhancements to several services it provides to brokers. Among 2015 highlights in its year-end report to the brokers were major upgrades to various features of its database system and mobile applications. The MLS also announced plans to provide a new online scheduling and management tool in early 2016.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 member offices includes more than 25,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.