The numbers behind the ‘jaw-dropping’ housing boom in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties

by Patrick Regan

The Northwest MLS released its market report for 2021 last week, giving context to what industry experts already knew: the real estate market is booming all over Washington.

But one number in the report seemed to stand out above the rest. The average price for a single-family home in King County is now more than $1 million, $1.055 million to be exact. That’s a 20.1% increase from the 2020 average of $878,000.

Snohomish and Pierce counties saw similar percentage gains year over year. The average price of a single-family home in Snohomish County rose from $600,000 in 2020 to $741,000 last year, a 23.5% increase. Pierce County saw a 19.3% increase from $467,000 in 2020 to $577,000 last year.

“To see prices going up 20-25% a year, it’s been jaw-dropping,” said Vija Williams, president, brokerages division, Ben Kinney Keller Williams.

Fueled in part by extremely low inventory, population growth and an influx of high-paying tech jobs in recent years, all three counties have seen a similar housing value growth line in the last 10 years. 

Average single-family home prices have increased in each county every year since 2011, when the numbers were $424,000 in King, $270,000 in Snohomish and $216,000 in Pierce.

Williams told Seattle Agent that some of the biggest growth is outside Seattle proper, and she predicted Snohomish County is poised for big gains going forward. 

“Snohomish County’s numbers are mind-blowing,” she said. “I don’t think you can go wrong in investing in Snohomish County right now … All the numbers are pointing to Snohomish County being really hot this year.”

Average condominium prices rose in all three counties last year as well. King County’s average condo price rose 2.8% to $556,000. Snohomish condo prices saw 21.8% growth year over year to $506,000. Pierce was $383,000, an 18% increase from 2020.

Supply remains extremely low in all three counties, with about two weeks of combined condo and single-family home inventory available, driving prices higher and higher. Most industry experts consider four to five months of housing inventory to be normal.

When demand is so high and supply so low, it’s difficult on agents, Williams said. Getting a listing is ultra-competitive, and some buyers are dropping out of the market because it’s so difficult to get an offer accepted.

“Every buyer you have you’re probably writing three to seven offers to get one accepted. Buyers get discouraged and often will go back into leases because they can’t compete,” she said. 

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