The last few months have certainly not been easy, and our hearts go out to those who have struggled with loss or hardship during this unprecedented time. We are all incredibly grateful to the frontline workers, first responders, grocery store workers and delivery people who have worked so hard to keep us safe and healthy at home.

On the topic of real estate, we have the first data in from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service since the stay home order was implemented, and, as we expected, the market experienced a slight dip but certainly not the free fall that some predicted. While the spring market was not as active as it might have been without COVID-19, brokers have noticed a strong uptick in activity over the last several weeks with buyers actively seeking homes. 

Let’s dig into the recent numbers.

For Denny Blaine, Broadmoor, Washington/Madison Park:

2019 through May 25:

25 sold homes

Average Sales Price: $1,876,944

Average Days on Market: 79

Average Price Per Square Foot: $684

Lowest Sales Price: $395,000

Highest Sales Price: $6,895,000

Selling at 97.8 percent of last listed price

2020 through May 25:

23 sold homes

Average Sales Price: $1,659.298

Average Days on Market: 42 

Average Price Per Square Foot: $708

Lowest Sales Price: $500,000

Highest Sales Price: $3,998,000

Selling at 98.81percent of last listed price

For 98112:

2019 through May 25:

115 sold homes

Average Sales Price: $1,306,139

Average Days on Market: 45 

Average Price Per Square Foot: $573

Lowest Sales Price: $255,000

Highest Sales Price: $6,895,000

Selling at 97.8 percent of last listed price 

2020 through May 25:

100 sold homes

Average Sales Price: $1,271,882

Average Days on Market: 39

Average Price Per Square Foot: $612

Lowest Sales Price: $265,000

Highest Sales Price: $4,850,000

Selling at 101.95 percent of last listed price

In looking at Seattle as a whole:

Sales of homes over $2 million dropped from 66 from March 1, 2019, to May 25, 2019, to 51 during the same time period in 2020. The average price of these sales was $2,898,699 in 2019 and $2,678,041 in 2020 for that time frame. Under $2 million, the number of sales decreased in that same time period from 2,453 to 1,970 due to lack of inventory. However, under $2M in prices increased year over year from an average of $751,627 to $769,863.

My takeaways:

  • The Seattle-area housing market was very competitive before the coronavirus pandemic, and that has not changed.

  • The market appears to have taken a slight pause during the stay home order.

  • However, year over year, the numbers in our neighborhood have remained steady despite the pandemic.

  • Less inventory translated to slightly fewer sales but with fewer days on market and at a higher percentage of list price.

  • We continue to see multiple-offer situations at certain price points and with unique, show-ready homes.

  • When reviewing the market, it’s also important to understand the data doesn’t always accurately describe the market as a whole. In the city of Seattle high end, both activity and prices have decreased slightly, while the rest of the market saw an increase in average price.

The lack of inventory continues to be one of the biggest drivers in our market. Many sellers are waiting on the sidelines to put their homes on the market, either because they want to sell once the restrictions are lifted, or they are waiting to see the potential economic effects of COVID-19. Real estate brokers in our area will tell you the buyers are out there, and there is a lot of pent-up demand as a result of the stay home order. So while the market took a pause, buyer demand remained. For sellers who choose to come on the market now, they will likely see significant activity and less competition than after the stay home restrictions are lifted. 

In addition, as people will likely forgo summer vacations this year, the summer market will certainly see more activity than in past years, and we won’t see the typical seasonal fluctuations. We believe the fundamentals of the real estate market remain strong, including low interest rates. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage has been hovering below 4 percent for a lengthy period of time, and most industry analysts expect to see those rates for the foreseeable future.

Real estate was deemed essential early on in the stay home order, and brokers are committed to safely listing and showing homes. In adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, brokers, buyers and sellers quickly embraced a new virtual reality. We have placed an emphasis on virtual tours, FaceTime showings, a strong social media presence and other strategies as alternatives to the traditional broker’s open/open house model. Now more than ever, there is a huge emphasis on home. Most of us have spent the last few months working from home, learning from home and cooking at home; home has been our sanctuary. Because of this, safety within the real estate industry remains our primary focus.

The reality is, people will continue to buy and sell homes, whether they are relocating, downsizing, upsizing or are looking for a home with a bigger office for the work-from-home lifestyle. In fact, with recent announcements from the tech industry regarding work-from-home opportunities, a larger emphasis will be placed on homes that meet a myriad of needs for work and for play. And, as homes in our neighborhood are less dense than in other Seattle areas, those seeking more space will continue to be attracted to the 98112. 

No matter how tight the inventory, pricing and presentation will always be the key principles to a successful transaction. Take this time to make your home market ready; first impressions count. Having an experienced broker who will analyze the micro-neighborhoods and the most recent sales data will help you price your home competitively. If a home goes on the market even a bit too high, it can sit, and that may result in a larger price reduction than if the home had come on the market at a reasonable listing price. It is important to work with a broker who can help you be objective about price.

Perhaps the most important thing I want to say this month is how important it is to support our local Madison Park Village businesses and help them through this unprecedented time. Having shops, coffee, cafés, fine dining and pubs within strolling distance is a valuable asset for our neighborhood, and we want as many of our small businesses to survive as possible. Support our beloved community, and when you do, post your visits on social media so the good news spreads!

As of press time, there are 16 homes for sale in Madison Park, including Broadmoor. The most expensive is a waterfront new construction home for $10.8 million, and the least expensive is a condo in the heart of Madison Park for $399,900. If you have given any thought to buying or selling, now may be the time for you to make your move. Our Compass experts have a long history in Madison Park and are ready to help you navigate this unique time with the latest technology, top-notch marketing and proven pricing strategies. If you’re buying, our knowledgeable agents will help you achieve success in this still competitive market.

— Evan Wyman is a partner and broker with The Wyman Group at Compass.