August tends to be a quiet month for real estate, but after the Labor Day holiday weekend, expect to see market activity pick up as we head into fall. It was a frenzied first half of the year, both nationally and locally, with a continuing shortage of existing and new construction housing inventory. The impact of two significant interest rate increases certainly caused the market to cool a bit this summer and demand declined slightly while buyers adjusted to 5%+ mortgage interest rates. (Not that an increase from 3% to 5% isn’t significant, but if you’ve been around long enough to remember, mortgage interest rates in the mid 1970s were in the mid-to-upper teens.)
There’s been a lot of talk about a housing market crash or a housing bubble. What we’re experiencing now is a normal market, and a normal market doesn’t mean buyer interest has evaporated. The Pacific Northwest is fortunate to have a strong business and economic base with companies continuing to expand, hire new employees and relocate existing employees to the area. During the height of the pandemic there was momentum to move away from the city to find space to spread out and create home school and work-from-home space. Not everyone decided to move to the country (some have chosen to move back to the city) and buyers new to the market are looking for convenience and access to employment, amenities, schools, transportation, health care, etc. Urban living is still in high demand and local sales activity supports that trend.
Over the past 90 days, here’s what’s been happening in downtown Bellevue . . .
- 45 condos sold in the last 90 days
- the median sold price was $1,175,000 (compared to $957,500 during the same period in 2021)
- 40% of those condos sold above list price
- 60% sold in 10 days or less (average days on market was 19)
Buyers are still active in the marketplace and downtown Bellevue is definitely on their radar. Multiple offers still occur but price escalations haven’t been as dramatic as seen late last year and the first half of 2022.
Downtown Bellevue (98004 zip code) currently has a 3 month supply of available condo inventory. It is a more balanced market but still slightly favors sellers. (A balanced market is considered 4-6 moths of available inventory.) New construction opportunities exist but those units, either under way or in the planning pipeline, won’t deliver homes ready for occupancy for 18-24+ months. One community, nearing completion, will add 16 new residences to Bellevue’s urban marketplace this year.
Looking at all Bellevue neighborhoods/zip codes, 146 condos sold over the last 90 days. 65% sold at or over list price with an average time on market of just 10 days. Right now there are just over 100 condos listed for sale throughout Bellevue (including downtown) or a 2.2 month supply of available inventory.
Nothing in the market data suggests home prices are declining or that we’re headed into a housing bubble or market crash. This year’s interest rate increases did have an impact on the market, and there was a moderate market correction as a result, but local condo values are expected to appreciate but at a far more normal and sustainable pace.