September 16, 2019
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Seattle housing cools, while surrounding counties heat up

The big news from Seattle’s housing market last week centered on the fact that prices didn’t rise compared to the year before. Still, housing remains a challenge for the entire Puget Sound region.

The median price for a single-family home was $760,000 in August, the same as the year before, The Seattle Times reports. King County prices rose a bit from $669,000 to $670,000.

Pierce County prices are up 6.25 percent to $374,000 compared to the year before. Kitsap County’s median is now nearly $400,000, compared to about $245,000 five years ago.

“The shock wave of frustrated buyers looking to escape high home prices in Seattle, though, has rolled well beyond the counties immediately to the north and south, to Kitsap and Thurston counties, where home-buying activity is frenetic,” Times reporter Katherine Khashimova Long wrote.

The market has been great – for sellers – in Thurston County too, Rolf Boone writes in The Olympian.

“Summer sales of single-family homes in Thurston County ended with a bang in August as sales nearly matched last year’s red-hot results and the median price climbed almost 10 percent over August 2018” to more than $348,000, he reported.

AWB is convening new conversations about housing and its impact on the state’s employer community. On Wednesday, AWB’s Policy Summit will include a breakfast keynote address from Matthew Gardner, the chief economist of real estate firm Windermere.

And the first-ever Housing Forum drew significant interest from both public and private partners, and the media. AWB played a key role organizing the July event, which featured strong attendance.

In the Times story, one Realtor referred to a time-honored solution to finding an affordable house: “Drive to affordability,” J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate said. “It’s been going on for 50 years. No reason to stop now.”

Indeed, commuters are really what drive the region’s housing market, KIRO Radio reports.

“It’s a very simple reason — the closer you are to the job centers, the more expensive your housing is because there’s a value to our time,” Windermere’s Gardner said in an interview.

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