The local real estate market was caught up in a holiday buying spree in December, with demand, home prices and sales all on the rise. Inventory is the one factor that needs a boost.
• It was the busiest December for sales since 2005.
• Prices continued to climb over last year, with a number of areas reaching all-time highs.
• Supply of inventory was at its lowest point in more than a decade.
Inventory on the Eastside continues to tighten, with a little over one month supply in the pipeline. Strong demand and weak supply helped boost the median home price 16.2 percent over the same time last year to $639,350. Several Eastside regions hit all-time highs, including Mercer Island, Redmond, Kirkland and the area of Bellevue west of I-5. The increase in rent prices on the Eastside is outpacing even home price increases, prompting some experts to predict more first-time buyers opting to buy homes this year.
Seattle claimed the lowest supply of single family homes in King County, with less than a month of inventory available. Strong demand for homes close to the city core coupled with low inventory to propel home prices up 11.1 percent over last year to a median price of $500,000. A number of areas close to downtown Seattle saw prices reach new highs. Unlike the Eastside, Seattle has very little land available to add new single family home inventory, so supply is expected to be an issue in the near future.
Not only were December sales strong, but pending sales (agreements that have been signed but not yet closed) were up as well, indicating good momentum to start the new year. High-end homes had a particularly good year, with the number of $1 million+ homes sales in 2014 up 25 percent over the previous year. The median price of single family homes sold in King County in December was up 4.8 percent over last year to $440,000. The big concern: Inventory continues to fight to keep up with demand, with less than two months of supply available.