Prices up, Inventory Shortage continues, but Snoqualmie Valley Offers Buyers Desirable, more Affordable Eastside Option

You can see it clearly in the graphics – the supply of homes for sale in the Snoqualmie Valley has shrunk by more than half over the past year. It appears the post-recession days of exploding inventory are gone, a distant memory.

Seattle and Bellevue, core job markets for Western Washington, continue to see their populations grow. Their job markets are strong and companies are hiring. More residents means a need for more housing. More need and less inventory pushes up prices – in both the rental and housing markets.

In King County last year, median home prices increased by about 13%. In December, that median single-family price hit a record high – $508,000 – surging past the 2007 peak, pre-recession level of $481,000. Zillow has the median home price in Snoqualmie at about $505,000; North Bend at $416,500; Fall City at $527,500.

According to Snoqualmie resident and John L Scot real estate agent, Nancy Backman, the current picture of the Snoqualmie Valley (using Fall City, North Bend and Snoqualmie) real estate market shows just 56 single family and condos for sale. In December 2014 that number was twice as high. Two years ago it sat at 140.

Across the King County resale market, there is only a 1.4 month’s supply of homes available for buyers – off 29% from a year ago, according to data from John L. Scott Real Estate. That lack of supply is pushing up prices, with sellers in Seattle and Bellevue seeing multiple offer situations.

Buyers Pushed Farther Out

Nancy explained as prices and demand continue to increase in cities closest to the core job centers, it pushes buyers out farther into the suburbs, including the Snoqualmie Valley.

She said new construction single family homes in other communities off of I-90, like Issaquah, start in the $800’s and rapidly go over $1 million – and as the buyer pool diminishes in this price range, it continues to make the Snoqualmie Valley a more affordable, desirable option for buyers.

Snoqualmie Ridge in particular is feels the pressure more than other Valley areas, where homes typically have a shorter number of days on the market – and where there is a bigger differential in inventory. In Snoqualmie Ridge there are currently just seven homes/condos for sale. In December, that number hit an unprecedented zero.

Nancy says this is due to the large master-planned community being slightly closer to Bellevue and Seattle and its proximity to I-90. She explained that Snoqualme Ridge is also appealing to many buyers, especially those relocating here, “because of the strong sense of community, neighborhood parks and social opportunities.”

According to market stats, rural areas in Fall City and North Bend still have longer marketing times, as agents say there is a more limited buyer audience for some of these areas.

Nancy said North Bend offers great communities and noted the established neighborhoods of Si View, Forester Woods and the Uplands as being “great for resale.” Higher end homes like in the Uplands, which offer great privacy and views, tend to have a longer time on market due to their [average] $1 – $2 million price range, though.

New Construction Impact

Nancy points to new construction communities in North Bend as offering buyers an affordable option for new homes on the Eastside if they are willing to drive a bit further out. She expects North Bend’s new construction market to continue to pick up – and whether you’re a fan of development or not – she says these new neighborhoods will bring more buyers to the Valley, which is also good for the resale market.

Located slightly closer in, Snoqualmie Ridge, which for the last 15 years has been a new construction magnet for Eastside home buyers, is almost done with its build-out. Pulte Homes has quite a few home sites in the Eagle Pointe neighborhood, which should be available sometime this year, as well as an 89-home townhouse community. Once those remaining homes are complete, though, ‘The Ridge’ will be done, transforming into a strictly resale home market.

Cash Buyers Impact

Wait – did we mention the large pool of cash buyers is also putting pressure on the King County housing market? Backman noted November, when nearly 40% of home sales were done with an all cash transaction.

She said buyers need to be ready and get creative with offers – and be underwritten by their lender so they are competitive if a multiple offer situation does arise.

2016 Real Estate Market Expectations

Statistics show a continued year-to-year decline in the number of new listings and Nancy said the trend is holding true as we approach February.  However, she does expect listing activity to begin to pick up as we head toward spring, but then drop off again in mid to late summer.

John L Scott Real Estate expects there to continue to be a low supply homes for sale, with a quick market for new listings. The company also sees mortgage rates to staying historically low into 2016.

[** Stats and graphics used in article compiled with help of Trendgraphics, Inc., John L Scott Real Estate and agent Nancy Backman who resides in Snoqualmie. **]

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Historic Snoqualmie Housing Market

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Snoqualmie Ridge Housing Market

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