Windermere Insights: Condo Sales Reflect Market Intensity

As we wind down the first quarter, year-to-date King County condominium sales have significantly outpaced last year’s market. While overall unit sales are down — largely a factor of extremely limited inventory — prices in most cities are skyrocketing, and condos are being snapped up much faster than they were at this time last year. This is a sure sign that, despite some volatility in interest rates, buyers are leaning into the condo market. Two factors influencing the health of condominium sales are clear: condos are more affordable on average than single family homes, and they tend to be located closer to the urban core, which is a major plus for workers anticipating a return to the office and looking for the shortest commute times.

To determine what’s influencing each city’s condo trends, the W Report spoke to area experts to learn what they’re seeing. If you’re in the market for a condo, your Windermere broker will provide additional real-time market information so that you’re fully informed by neighborhood and even by individual condo community.

Seattle (2022 vs. 2021 YTD)

Unit sales of condos:  602 vs. 523 (+15%)

Median Selling Price: $514,000 vs. $476,000  (+8%)

Median Days-on-Market: 8 vs. 35  (-77%)

2022 YTD Sold-to-List Price: 102.8%

“We’ve seen demand going up in Seattle’s condominium market so far this year, which is likely due to three main factors. The first is relative affordability. Historically, our condo market numbers were somewhat depressed. While condo pricing is definitely gaining steam, it can’t hold a candle to the gains we’ve seen in the market for single-family homes. Frankly, there’s pretty significant relative value in condos right now.

The second factor is related. Because our current residential market presents pretty rough seas for buyers, the condo market offers some shelter from the storm. When the residential market is so haywire, people will turn to condos as a less competitive alternative, in order to actually get into a property.

Finally, we’re learning that remote work isn’t for everyone. The ‘I’m getting out of dodge’ thinking that some people had at the beginning of Covid is waning and many people want to be close to jobs and the action of the city again. Condos offer this in spades.

In spite of global and national issues such as pandemic, war, inflation and interest rates, the velocity of the market remains extremely strong … mostly due to a lack of supply. That doesn’t appear to be letting up any time soon. As such, more and more people are turning to the condo market.” –  Pat Grimm, owner/designated broker of Windermere’s Capitol Hill office

Kirkland (2022 vs. 2021 YTD)

Unit sales of condos:  120 vs. 132 (-9%)

Median Selling Price: $618,995 vs. $567,475  (+9%)

Median Days-on-Market:  5 vs. 16  (-69%)

2022 YTD Sold-to-List Price: 103.3%

“We have a very healthy condominium market here. In terms of unit sales, Kirkland has actually been the second most active urban condo market outside of Seattle. We’re seeing steady price growth, which reflects the desirability of Kirkland condos and of the lifestyle here. There’s easy access to large employers, great restaurants, boating on the lake and some pretty incredible parks. So far this year condos have been selling very quickly, the majority at or above asking price. I see this as a barometer of both the intensity of this particular market and the desirability of the product. It’s not just Google and other employers bringing people here, it’s Seattleites and downsizing Eastsiders wishing to live here. So there’s every reason our condo market will remain quite healthy this year.” – Mike Connolly, owner/designated broker of Windermere Real Estate/Central, Inc. in Kirkland

Bellevue (2022 vs. 2021 YTD)

Unit sales of condos:  83 vs. 153  (-46%)

Median Selling Price: $802,000 vs. $592,499  (+35%)

Median Days-on-Market:  5 vs. 10  (-50%)

2022 YTD Sold-to-List Price: 106.9%

“With such low inventory in Bellevue, new condo listings tend to be snatched up quickly and at a premium. Some brokers in my office are reporting that in condo buildings where they’ve had listings, owners of other units are asking if they know of any other available listings in the pipeline. They’re networking on behalf of their friends, which is a sign of pent-up demand from both the scarcity of inventory and also the attractiveness of Bellevue from a location and lifestyle standpoint.

I’m not hearing from brokers of much crossover between single-family home buyers and condominium buyers, so I don’t think the phenomenon of frustrated buyers switching product types is overwhelming in Bellevue. We are, however, seeing lots of instances where people are selling off stocks to become cash buyers for their condo purchase.

Without new condo communities coming online, and with employers and jobs coming back in bigtime, I don’t see much inventory relief coming. The majority of condos in downtown Bellevue have sold in two to four days, over list price and without contingencies. Essentially, we’ve had an early spring selling season this year.”  – D’Ann Jackson, branch manager of Windermere’s downtown Bellevue office

Issaquah/Sammamish (2022 vs. 2021 YTD)

Unit sales of condos:  77 vs. 102  (-25%)

Median Selling Price: $665,000 vs. $541,000  (+23%)

Median Days-on-Market:  4 vs. 5 (-20%)

2022 YTD Sold-to-List Price: 117.1%

“Our local condo market has seen lower inventory and higher prices so far this year. Right now most units are selling extremely fast and quite a bit over asking. There are also quite a few all-cash transactions, which can be helpful since mortgage providers these days are extremely strict when it comes to underwriting a condominium purchase in a building with deferred maintenance. Our strong sales trends are driven by the desirability of living in Issaquah and Sammamish, which are great places to live. Issaquah has great schools and also I-90, which is considered the best commuting corridor on the Eastside. Sammamish was recently ranked the number one small city in the country.”  – Dave Paremski, branch manager of Windermere’s Issaquah office

Renton (2022 vs. 2021 YTD)

Unit sales of condos:  57 vs. 81  (-30%)

Median Selling Price: $330,000 vs. $285,000  (+16%)

Median Days-on-Market:  5 vs. 6  (-17%)

2022 YTD Sold-to-List Price: 104.8%

“Renton condos are relatively affordable compared to other Eastside cities. This may be based on two factors: historically lower prices and the style of units available. Some Renton and Fairwood condo communities tend to be older — from the 1970s — so there may be fewer building amenities than those available to buyers in newer communities in Issaquah Highlands or the Sammamish Plateau. Renton offers many commuting options to both Seattle and the Eastside and its lower prices should continue to attract buyers. Proof of this is the price appreciation we’ve seen so far this year in the Renton condo market, along with fast market times and offers over list price.” – Dave Paremski

Redmond (2022 vs. 2021 YTD)

Unit sales of condos:  55 vs. 48  (+15%)

Median Selling Price: $680,000  vs. $492,250  (+38%)

Median Days-on-Market:  5 vs. 7  (-29%)

2022 YTD Sold-to-List Price: 108.8%

“The Redmond condo market has been interesting. I looked at a condo myself at Meadowview Village at Rivertrail, which listed for $895,000 and recently sold for $1,215,000. I think a lot of the demand is coming from the expansion of tech companies here. Facebook is building across from Willows — that whole corridor is blowing up. Same with Kingsgate — prices are exploding because Facebook and Amazon are bringing more employees here and they can bike to work from these condo communities. Town Center has Microsoft and Amazon offices and SpaceX is in Redmond too. Besides all the jobs, I think a lot of buyers who would be buying single family homes in a different market are now going to condos, which are definitely the home for first time buyers and those moving here from less expensive areas. Another factor is the impact that fluctuating mortgage rates may be having on those buyers who were already pushing the top of their budget even at the lowest rates. A condo may just make more sense financially.” – Susan Webster, branch manager of Windermere’s Redmond office

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