We shouldn't have expected anything different from a year of upheaval, but December offered yet another example that temperatures did not align with Seattle's real estate market in 2020. "The market is just as hot or almost as hot as it was in the summertime," says Nicole Bascomb, the owner of Kent-based Bascomb Real Estate Group. "And that just doesn't happen here. Usually, it cools down tremendously this time of year."
In King County, pending sales for single-family homes and condos rose nearly 24 percent compared to December 2019, and closed sales climbed more than 28 percent, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service's latest figures. In Seattle the differences were even more marked: a 45 percent hike in pending deals and a 30.7 percent bump in closed ones. And median prices went up 5.8 percent year-over-year. So which neighborhoods in our city closed 2020 the strongest in sales?
Queen Anne/Magnolia might have a good argument. The NWMLS map area saw 54 single-family homes go under contract in December 2019; this past December, that number was 117. Expect a flurry of closed deals in this stretch of the city during the early weeks of 2021.
Ballard/Greenlake and North Seattle also posted some seller-friendly stats. Both drew a 44 percent increase in closings. Ballard/Greenlake had a more significant price hike than its neighbors to the north, from $705,000 a year ago to $776,500 in December. The highest proportional rise across the city belonged to Southeast Seattle, at 16.4 percent.
Which neighborhoods didn't fare as well in December? Prices dropped slightly in Belltown/Downtown. And there were fewer closings in SoDo/Beacon Hill than a year prior (though pendings were way up).
Across the county, suburbs like Mercer Island and Kirkland/Bridle Hills recorded the largest price increases. But the exurbs drew plenty of interest too. Grant County's pending sales rose 133 percent year-over-year, and Kittitas County's climbed 55.3 percent.
None of which makes it easier for buyers, especially first-timers, to land a home right now. But perhaps 2021 will bring a more temperate real estate environment.