November saw more buyers for fewer homes since May 2018 according to the latest NWMLS Market Update. The number of closed home sales rose nearly 12 percent system-wide, as inventory dropped nearly 15 percent. There were fewer listings this November than the previous three years.
King County’s median was up just over a percentage point year over year to $612,000. In Seattle, the median dipped 3.3 percent from 2018 to $735,000—and down from October’s median of $775,000. Prices south of Seattle saw increases as much as 17.2 percent from a year ago.
November’s prices continued to show the trend of buyers seeking affordability as Pierce, Kitsap and Thurston County experienced tight inventory and increasing prices. Kitsap County saw its largest year-over-year price gain of 16.7 percent to $385,000. While Thurston saw an 11.1 percent increase to $349,000 and Pierce with a 10.5 percent increase to $379,950.
Something to keep an eye on as we wrap up 2019 are the changes to the calculation of to the Washington State Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) from a flat rate to a graduated scale. Currently, the state tax rate is 1.28 percent of a property’s full selling price. The new rates effective January 1st will:
- Reduce the tax to 1.1 percent on sales of property less than $500,000;
- Maintain the 1.28 percent tax for properties sold between $500,000 and $1.5 million;
- Increase the tax to 2.75 percent for properties sold between $1.5 million and $3 million;
- Properties sold over $3 million will be taxed 3 percent of the selling price.