Market Research - Spring 2021

tiny gold house atop market graphs
“While prices rose, interest rate declines made up for the difference, making houses more affordable.”

The median house price in Washington during the fourth quarter was $460,300, 16.0 percent higher than a year earlier.

Existing home sales rose in the fourth quarter of 2020 by 4.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 114,660 units compared to last quarter, and rose 6.1 percent compared to a year earlier.

Building permit activity fell 12.8 per-cent from a year earlier, totaling 10,401 new units authorized. Of these, 5,474 were issued for single-family units. This was primarily the result of declines in multifamily development permits in the Puget Sound region.

Housing affordability rose for all buyers and for first-time buyers from the previous quarter. The All-Buyer Housing Affordability Index stayed above 100 in 27 of Washington’s 39 counties. While prices rose, interest rate declines made up for the difference making houses more affordable.

Inventories of homes available for sale totaled 4,697 single-family homes at the end of the quarter, a 50.0% decline from the previous quarter and a 52.9 percent decline from a year ago.

This inventory level represented a 0.5 month’s supply, an extraordinarily low inventory level where demand exceeds the supply of homes on the market.


James Young

James Young is the Director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington.

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