Personal connections boost property purchase potential

After seemingly endless months of the same story of increasing sales prices and anemic inventory amid rising demand for homeownership, the Seattle region underwent a bit of change in the second quarter of 2018, as the past few months gave way to inventory increases and a slight softening in home price gains.

According to a report released by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service in early July, inventory across the entire system grew by 5.2 percent and, though prices continued their upward climb, it was at a rate of just more than 10 percent, which cooled down from gains reported in the first quarter of 2018 and much of 2017.

Looking at market trends from the second quarter of 2018 in the city of Seattle at large, the median sales price of a single-family home hit $857,000, up 13 percent compared to the second quarter of 2017 — which averaged $758,000 — but well below the price reached in the first quarter of the year of $917,000.

A slight decrease in sales prices may be attributed to increasing inventory, which averaged 1.1 months. Isolating data for the Central Seattle/Madison Park/Capitol Hill area, the average sales price increased at a much faster rate, with the second quarter of 2018 reporting an average sales price of $1.377 million, a 26.2 percent gain compared to this same time last year. Prices peaked in May, where they reached $1,440,000. In line with growing sales prices, the average price per square foot in Central Seattle went up by 22 percent year-over-year, from $493.13 in Q2-2017 to $601.51 in Q2-2018.

In Madison Park and Washington Park, we are seeing homes priced at or below $1.8 million move swiftly (in a matter of days), while those at higher price points generally spend a few weeks on the market. But there’s always an exception to the rule. When a multi-million-dollar home is truly turn-key and finished to the nines, it is likely to sell quickly, especially within specific coveted enclaves. Inventory in our area remains low because most homeowners hold tight to their properties both for their love of their neighborhood and their ability to watch their investments increase in value.

I recently represented a buyer in an extremely competitive transaction, with the seller receiving 10 offers—we reached terms at $3.765 million, 25.5 percent over asking. At these price points, buyers are typically writing cash offers, but it’s key to remember that these transactions are not always all about the money; buyers that are sensitive to this and offer personal accommodations to oftentimes emotional sellers tend to receive stronger consideration.

As of this writing, there are just two condominiums and 12 single-family homes ranging from $599,950 to $12.85 million available in Madison Park and Washington Park. If you have considered making your next move, the summer sales season may present an ideal time to take advantage of the still strong seller’s market and find a new locale within our vibrant community.

Leslie Dickinson is a founding member of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, and can be reached at 206-200-2174 or