A Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house for sale on October 31, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.
Looking to break into Seattle’s intensely competitive real estate market? Be prepared to pay well over the asking price.
More than 4,500 homes in the Seattle area have sold for at least $100,000 above the asking price so far in 2021, according to a recent report from Redfin. That figure dwarfs the number of homes that sold at such prices during the same period last year — about 400.
“I’ve never seen anything like this housing market,” Scott Petrich, a Seattle-based Redfin agent, said in the report.
In Seattle, 146 homes have sold for at least $300,000 above asking price so far this year. That’s up from just eight at this time last year. In nearby Bellevue, the number of homes selling for at least $300,000 above asking price jumped from two to 88.
Meanwhile, the number of Seattle homes that have sold for between $100,000 and $299,99 above asking price is a staggering 4,078. That number was 362 at this time last year.
This chart compares the number of homes that sold, and at what price they sold, during the first half of this year to the first half of last year.
Petrich said wealthy employees at the city’s tech companies have the means to out-bid other buyers and often end up paying for homes well above asking price. That, in turn, increases prices across the market, he said.
“It’s fueled by employees of local tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft and companies with big offices in the area like Google and Facebook,” he said in the report. “A lot of them didn’t want to work remotely during the pandemic in small apartments, and that pushed them to seek out large homes with office spaces. Most of those people have the money to compete with other buyers and drive up prices.”
Just over 6,300 Seattle homes have sold for between $25,000 and $99,999 above asking price, up from about 2,000 last year. The report said the incredible number of homes selling above asking price partly caused the median home price in Seattle to rise to a record $737,800 in May.
However, the report notes that, because homebuying and selling slowed during the pandemic last year, the year over year growth in Seattle’s median home price (26.1%) is somewhat exaggerated.
This chart shows a summary of the housing market in the Seattle metro area for the first half of this year. YoY stands for “year over year.”
Apart from Seattle proper, suburbs east of the city saw the biggest jump in homes selling well above asking price. Bellevue topped the list in homes selling at least $300,000 above asking price (88, up from two). It was followed by Redmond (70, up from zero); Sammamish (54, up from one); Kirkland (46, up from two); and Issaquah (35, up from zero). The median sale price in all five Eastside cities topped $1 million in May
“I meet a lot of buyers dreaming of living over here because they see big homes listed at unrealistically low prices,” Petrich said. “But the reality is, people can’t get a home for the list price or even slightly over list price.”
Because of this, the report advises prospecting homebuyers to seek homes below their budget and to ensure they have enough money in the bank to cover a low appraisal to make their offer standout.
“That may mean compromising by looking at smaller homes or considering a location with a longer commute,” Petrich said.
This chart shows how Seattle compare to other similar metros in terms of houses that sold at least $100,000 above asking price.
The report also compared the number of homes selling for at least $100,000 above asking price in Seattle to other metros of a similar size. Seattle came in second on that list of 10 cities. Oakland in California took the top spot.