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The Northwest MLS review of 2016 is out

Surprise! Prices are up. Inventory is down. Again.

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Image: Kat Davis
Image: Kat Davis

The data from 2016 are in, and probably confirm what you already know: there weren’t many houses for sale, prices are up, multiple offers are common, and median home prices have finally rebounded to 2007 levels. Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the NWMLS you see so frequently, released its statewide data with some local insights as well.

The news that house prices are finally getting back to 2007 is good news for sellers, particularly those homeowners who bought back then. Getting back to 2007 prices means more people have equity in their homes. That’s good for home improvements, but it also means they’re more likely to sell. Maybe this will be a new source of inventory.

Multiple offers will probably continue because there are so few houses on the market. A healthy market typically has four to six months of inventory. In 2016, statewide inventory dropped from 2.4 months in 2015 to 1.86 months in 2016. King County dropped to 1.1 months. Until the trend reverses, expect our competitive environment to continue.

For the region, prices for houses were up 8.7 percent for houses and 12.7 percent for condos. That’s skewed a bit for the condos because over 60 percent of the condos sold were in King County which includes Seattle’s very hot market.


Despite a 21 percent increase in the number of homes that sold for over a million dollars, we didn’t manage to crack the ten million dollar market, coming in just under it at $9.75M. Maybe this year.

One statistic sums up the industry. Collect all of the sales and find an 18.3 percent increase in the total value of all of the transactions in 2016 over 2015. That’s $40.3B. For a bit of perspective, that’s less than either the net worth of Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos.

Another bit of perspective, this sales activity represents the work of over 25,000 brokers in the region for an average of over 3.6 sales per agent. Some were undoubtedly in busier regions than others. That’s more than the population of Mercer Island. Nice work, folks.