While there is plenty of good news, some folks writing about Seattle may still be riding a New Year's Eve champagne buzz. A recent article by AOL and Trulia put Seattle as the #7 turnaround city for real estate prices in 2012, which is very believable. The price increases, however, seemed to jump off the page.
Seattle home prices were reported to have increased 24.0 percent in one year. From 2011-2012, median home prices in Seattle were up 1/4, according to the report. Considering that Trulia is one of those websites filled with phony foreclosures and expired real estate listings, it shouldn't be a surprise that their statistics may be a bit overstuffed as well. Ask a real estate broker in the area, and they'll shoot that stat down in a heartbeat.
Accuracy aside, the overall drift of the piece did point to a fundamental shift in our real estate market. The bottom of the market is behind us. Seattle and the Eastside have been in an upward pricing trend for over a year, and the lack of inventory points to that trend continuing.
From a more trusted source of data, the NWMLS showed overall home prices in its territory notching a 13.3 percent gain. In King County, December home prices were 17.5 percent higher than in the same month one year ago. That stat would be enough to get any real estate enthusiast excited about the Seattle market (if their expectations weren't already set by the AOL numbers). It signals a shift away from foreclosures and back to traditional resale homes. Home values are probably up closer to 10 percent, while the median home being sold is a higher-quality home, shifting the median price.
Home sales in Central Seattle were up 50 percent from the year before, and inventory in Seattle is down 50 percent. It's really a perfect storm for home sellers at the moment. Buyers are motivated, and there are very few homes available.
The NWMLS did not compile or publish this information.