Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported 75,517 closed sales during 2013, surpassing the 2012 volume by around 11,000 transactions for an increase of nearly 17 percent. Measured by dollars, last year's sales of single family homes and condominiums were valued at nearly $25.5 billion to outgain the previous year by more than $5.5 billion (up 27.4 percent).
Last year's completed sales included 65,122 single family homes and 10,395 condominiums, as tallied by nearly 21,000 real estate brokers in the 21 counties that make up the Northwest MLS service area. The total units and dollar volume are the best since 2007 when members registered 82,197 sales valued at $32.3 billion.
The area-wide median price for last year's sales was $270,000, improving on the previous year's figure of $245,000 (up 10.2 percent). A comparison by county shows median sales prices ranged from $118,750 in Pacific County to $372,000 in King County.
Prices for single family homes (excluding condominiums) also rose 10.2 percent from 2012, increasing from $255,000 to $281,000. Condo prices jumped 15.3 percent, rising from the 2012 figure of $175,200 to last year's median price of $202,000.
By one measure, buyers who shopped during 2013 had a bigger selection as members added more than 104,000 listings to inventory during the year. That was an improvement over 2012 when members added 91,359 new listings. However, brisk sales meant the total number of active listings, which averaged 21,946 during 2013, fell below the previous year's average of 24,604.
During 2013, the area-wide supply, as measured by months of inventory, ranged from a low of 1.95 in March to 3.68 in December. Industry watchers tend to use a 4-to-6 month range as an indicator of a balanced market, favoring neither buyers nor sellers. Supply tended to be tightest in King and Snohomish counties.
Further evidence of a housing recovery is reflected in high-end sales. Northwest MLS members reported 1,621 sales of single family homes priced at $1 million or more, up 45.2 percent from the 2012 total of 1,116 such sales. Condos priced at $1 million and up accounted for another 137 sales, about the same number as 2012 (138 sales).
The highest-priced single family home that sold during 2013 by a member of Northwest MLS was a property in Medina that fetched $9.75 million. A penthouse in downtown Seattle that sold for $6.2 million topped the condo list.
Among other highlights in its annual compilation of statistics, Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported:
- Single family homes accounted for 86 percent of last year's residential sales.
- Nearly half (49 percent) of last year's single family home sales were 3-bedroom homes. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of condos that sold had 2 bedrooms.
- The median price for a 3-bedroom home that sold in 2013 was $250,000. A comparison by county shows the median price for this size home ranged from $128,000 in Pacific County to $450,000 in San Juan County.
- Of the condo sales, about two-thirds (64.1 percent) were located in King County. Within that county, the Eastside edged out Seattle for the largest share (39.7 percent versus 37 percent).
- Last year's sales included 8,298 newly built single family homes that sold for a median price of $325,000, and 846 condos that sold for a median price of $350,214.
- A 10-year comparison of median prices of single family homes shows prices peaked in most counties in 2007. In 2013, Grant County selling prices returned to 2007 levels, Okanogan prices were at 96.7 percent of 2007 prices, and King County prices were at 91.2 percent of 2007 prices. Other counties have not yet reached those levels, but most are experiencing steady gains.
- Prices vary widely among school districts. An analysis of some of the largest districts in the MLS market area shows single family homes on Mercer Island have the highest prices, followed by homes in the Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington and Bainbridge school districts.
In addition to summarizing sales and listing activity, Northwest MLS also reported enhancements to several services for it members, including more capacity for displaying photos with each listing, additional fields to describe amenities (including "green" features), added apps for mobile devices, and a revamped member website with expanded functionality.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 20,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.