Greater Seattle Condo Market, The Year in Review 2022
Northwest MLS Condo Report
2022 started out the year with both historically low interest rates and record low inventory. This created a very hot (seller’s) market across the NWMLS and the Greater Seattle condo market. For example, 2021 ended with the Freddie Mac 30 year fixed rate of 3.05% and NWMLS had 0.40 months of housing inventory. In comparison, at the end of 2022, Freddie Mac 30 year interest rate was 6.42% and inventory was at 2.09 months. Thus the market changed drastically over the course of the year.
Consequently, December saw the first year over year price drop for residential real estate (homes + condos) across the NWMLS since March 2012. However, the NWMLS condo market was more resilient. When you looked just at the condo market, not the residential real estate market as whole, condo prices actually finished up. Condo prices ended 2022 with a median price of $440,000. In comparison, the previous year ended with a condo median price of $435,000. Thus, there was a modest 1.15% year-over-year increase.
Not All Real Estate Is the Same: Change in Condo Market
After the pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020, there was a shift in the real estate market where homes became more highly valued than condos. Owners wanted more indoor/outdoor space and were less worried about being closer to work, restaurants, bars, etc.
Thus condo inventory increased and peaked in September and October 2020 (see peak in chart below). Both months ended with over 1,500 active condo in King County. This was after January and February 2020 both ended with just above 530 active condo listings. Condo inventory stayed relatively high well within 2021. For example, King County condo inventory was 832 at the end of April 2021 versus 821 the year prior. At the same time, King County home inventory was 1,380 versus 2,434 the year prior. So while home inventory was down 43%, condo inventory was up about 1%. Nevertheless, condo inventory started to dip in October 2021 and stayed low through May 2022 until condo inventory finally surpassed the prior year in June 2022.
The Condo Market in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland
Kirkland condos, like most of the local real estate market, saw less transactions but higher average prices in 2022. For instance, during 2022, 633 Kirkland condos sold for an average of just under $749,000 compared to 769 condos that sold for an average of $719,000 in 2021.
The Bellevue condo market witnessed the same trend. In 2022, 530 condos sold for an average of just under $900,000 compared to 842 condos that sold for an average of $798,000 in 2021. Moreover, condos in the area west of I-405, which includes the high-rises in Downtown Bellevue, sold for an average of $1.175 million. In the previous year, condos in the same area sold for an average of $1.065 million.
The Seattle condo market is the largest in the state. In 2022, 2,884 Seattle condos sold which was down from 3,401 the previous year. In reality, the condo market was in even larger. When including unlisted condos over 3,000 units sold in 2022 and just under 3,600 in 2021. The average price of a listed Seattle condo sold for $587,000 in 2022 up from $576,000 in 2021. The Seattle condo market is not just Belltown/Downtown Seattle. For example, 557 condos sold in Belltown/Downtown Seattle in 2022. On the other hand, during the same time, 645 condos sold in the NWMLS area that included Capitol Hill and Madison Park. In addition, Queen Anne, Magnolia, and Ballard are all neighborhoods with a healthy condo market. Even West Seattle sold more condos (261) than Downtown Bellevue (174) in 2022.
Seattle, Bellevue, and Mercer Island Luxury Real Estate Market
Kirkland Waterfront Condos & The Luxury Condo Market
In 2022, 30 condos sold for $2 million or more. The most expensive was a waterfront condo that sold unlisted for $6.8 million. In 2021, 27 Kirkland luxury condos sold for over $2 million. Including a 4,000+ sq ft waterfront Kirkland condo that sold for $6.5 million.
In general, the top sales in Kirkland tend to be waterfront condos, but not all Kirkland waterfront condos are luxury. In 2022, there were 30 waterfront condos and 7 went for $2 million or more. In the previous year, 62 waterfront condos sold and only 3 sold for $2 million or more. Nevertheless, Kirkland waterfront condos are very desirable and generally fetch a premium when compared to similar condos that are not waterfront.
Not to be Outdone: Bellevue's Luxury Condo Market
Some of the most expensive condos in the entire area are in Downtown Bellevue. For instance, within the Bellevue city limits, 23 Bellevue condos sold for $2 million or more in 2022. All were in Downtown Bellevue. The most expensive selling for $5.9 million in One Lincoln Tower. Four other condos sold for over $4 million. Three were in Bellevue Towers and one was in One88. Of the top 5 sales, 3 of the Bellevue condos were sold unlisted.
In 2021, 33 condos sold for $2 million or more in Downtown Bellevue. The most expensive luxury Bellevue condo sold for $4.85 million in the Bellevue Towers. Furthermore, the only other condo selling for over $4 million was also in Bellevue Towers. However, 5 condos in One88 sold for over $3 million during the year.
Seattle Luxury Condo Market
Ironically, the same number of Luxury Seattle Condos sold in 2022 and 2021. Thirty-six (36) Seattle luxury condos sold in each year. In 2022, the four most expensive Seattle condos were in Downtown Seattle. Three in Fifteen Twenty-One Condo, but the most expensive was a Millennium Tower condo which sold for $7,150,000. In 2021, the most expensive luxury condo sold for $7 million in Escala.
While Seattle has the highest condo sales and more $2 million condos sales than Bellevue or Kirkland, the percentage of luxury condos in those Eastside markets are much higher. For example, 2,884 Seattle condos sold in 2022 and 36 went for $2 million or more. In 2022, 633 Kirkland condos and 530 Bellevue condos sold, but 27 and 23 sold respectively in those areas.
The State of Greater Seattle Condo Market in 2022?
In a nutshell, inventory increased for the most part in 2022 before the seasonal drop in the late winter months. Rising interest rates had a lot to do with the increase in inventory. Nevertheless, average prices held and were up year-over-year. On the other hand, prices weakened as the year went on. Nevertheless, by year end, the condo prices year-over-year increase was up even if at a razor thin margin (+1.15%).
Despite some negative trends, the condo market still remains strong. With recent news of inflation dropping, there is reason to be optimistic. This is especially true if interest rates come down as expected by many when inflation subsides.
The future of the Seattle real estate market is hard to predict. Every real estate market brings new challenges. To navigate the current issues, contact one of Ewing and Clark’s real estate brokers. Ewing and Clark has provided exceptional real estate service to Greater Seattle since 1900. Whether you are looking for a waterfront condo in Kirkland, a luxury Bellevue condo, or your first home via a Seattle condo, please contact us