Real estate broker Max Rombakh expected the spacious four-bedroom house in a sought-after Bellevue neighborhood to sell at least a bit above its $2.65 million list price. But even he wasn’t prepared for the final outcome: nearly $1 million more.
Would-be buyers lined up outside and 14 made offers. “All above asking, and it closed to a cash buyer,” said Rombakh, a Windermere broker based in Yarrow Bay.
The house was especially attractive, Rombakh said, because of its single level and location close to hundreds of trails and Bellevue’s Spring District, where Amazon and Meta are expanding. It sold for $3.63 million.
“One anomaly like this … doesn’t determine the market,” he said.
But the sale is one extreme example of a factor that has become routine for Seattle-area homebuyers — and not just on the expensive east side.
On average last month, single-family homes in King County sold for 7.3% more than the list price, according to data released Monday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. On the median home price of $775,000, that amounts to nearly $56,600.
In Snohomish, buyers paid 6.1% more than the list price. And counties from Pierce and Thurston to Kitsap and Jefferson averaged 2 to 3 percentage points over the list price.
Those figures illustrate the challenge facing homebuyers even during typically slower winter months.
“The biggest factor is there’s just no inventory,” said Zach Entwistle, a Keller Williams broker based in University Place who last week worked with a client who won a bidding war for a Lacey rambler listed at $485,000, agreeing to pay $519,000.
January did bring some welcome news for homebuyers struggling to get into the market.
Home prices, mostly reflecting sales that took place in December, were roughly flat across the region.
In Snohomish County, the $715,000 median was up about 2%; in Pierce County, the $525,000 median was up 1%, according to new data released Monday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. In Kitsap, the $508,750 median was up about 2%.
King County saw a more significant dip. The median price of $775,000 was down 4% from December. In Seattle, the median home price of $790,000 dropped about 6% from December to January and is flat compared to last year at this time.
January also brought new listings of homes for sale, after two months of falling inventory.
But in most areas across Western Washington, prices are up from January 2021, and there are still fewer homes for sale than at this time in the past few years. The NWMLS estimates it would take less than two weeks to sell all the homes on the market given current buyer demand in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.