Real Estate Report

Real Estate Activity and Prices Up In April

Across King County where did home prices jump the most, and what areas are the most “affordable”?

By Lindsey Schober May 21, 2024

It’s a sellers market, and we’re just living in it—or trying to anyway. Recently released data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) showed home prices, closed sales, and listing activity increased in April across King County—even as mortgage rates creeped back into the low 7-percent range.

If it feels like the same story, just a different month, yep, that's it. Sky-high prices, elevated mortgage rates, and persistent low inventory make it near impossible for homebuyers to settle in or near Seattle. That’s especially true for first-time buyers, as the Seattle Times reports.

But somehow, homes across King County changed hands in April. Whether it was luck, or wealth, or a combination of the two, sales were up 16 percent countywide. Median price increased nearly 11 percent to $875,000, while inventory sat around 1.3 months—well below the four to six months needed for a balanced market.

For April’s snapshot, we dug into King County to find the largest gains and losses, along with hidden gems and possible opportunities (the most affordable places) for buyers. Because even if it feels impossible, we haven’t given up the dream.

(List ordered by annual price appreciation.)

6. North King County

It’s a tale of two suburbs: Richmond Beach/Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. (Technically, yes, it’s three. But the NWMLS groups the data into two, so just go with it.) Median prices in Richmond Beach/Shoreline declined 4 percent year-over-year to $772,475, even as sales were up almost 40 percent. But just east in Lake Forest Park, median home prices increased 13.6 percent to $1,005,000, while sales were up about 6 percent. Active listings decreased more than any other submarket, down 20.7 percent year-over-year.

Median price: $852,000
Year-over-year price growth: 4.23 percent
Months of inventory: 1

5. Southwest King County

Home to the most affordable suburbs, even though median prices ranged from $597,500 in Des Moines/Redondo (unchanged from 2023) to $655,000 in Burien/Normandy Park (up 1.5 percent from 2023). Dash Point/Federal Way, the most affordable area in April 2023, saw prices increase 13 percent to $630,000. Over the same time period, sales dropped 34 percent.

In Jovita/West Hill median sale prices dropped just 2.7 percent to $632,000, and closed purchases jumped 29 percent. Active listings across the entire area were up 28 percent. If you squint, you might see hope for buyers.

Median price: $625,000
Year-over-year price growth: 5.04 percent
Months of inventory: 1.41

4. Southeast King County

From Renton to Enumclaw, this is a giant swath of King County. But with less than a month’s worth (0.92), its housing inventory is some of the tightest. It’s no wonder. Sales in Black Diamond/Maple Valley and Kent shot up 84 percent and 61 percent respectively—two of the biggest jumps anywhere. Prices haven’t followed (yet). In Black Diamond/Maple Valley, median price was $740,000, nearly unchanged from last April.

Kent’s median price increased 14 percent to $700,000. Meanwhile in Renton-Highlands, median prices soared 33.6 percent to $945,000, while closed sales tumbled 21 percent (the third largest decline in the county).

Median price: $710,000
Year-over-year price growth: 6.77 percent
Months of inventory: 0.92

3. Seattle

Median prices increased in all of Seattle’s neighborhoods. Queen Anne/Magnolia was up 14.2 percent ($1,040,000). North Seattle joined the million-dollar median club (again), with prices up 11 percent to $1,016,500. West Seattle’s median price increased almost 15 percent to $850,000. Central Seattle’s was also $850,000 after posting an 11.4 percent gain. Ballard/Greenlake prices increased a smidgen (2 percent) to $858,000. Southeast Seattle posted the biggest increase in the city—17.8 percent ($824,000).

With sales up 30.2 percent, area sellers are likely breathing a little easier after last month’s dip. Belltown/Downtown sellers may still need a paper bag, though. Sure, the median price increased 15.5 percent ($670,000). But, inventory—almost exclusively condos—was the highest in the county (5.9 months), and sales were sluggish, dipping 12.5 percent. Median price in SoDo/Beacon Hill increased 11.6 percent to $725,000, and closed sales were down 41 percent. But it looks like there was still plenty of activity. Pending sales were up almost 60 percent. Fingers crossed!

Median price: $865,000
Year-over-year price growth: 9.49 percent
Months of inventory: 1.77

2. East Side

The East Side had the busiest markets and the largest price gains in April, not to mention the priciest places to buy. The East Side South of I-90 saw the largest price gain: 40 percent, pushing the median price to $1,680,000. Sales increased 51.8 percent, while there was less than one month of inventory (0.98). In Juanita/Woodinville, inventory was crunched even more—0.55, the tightest in the county. Sales increased nearly 48 percent, while the median price jumped 34 percent to $1,310,000. Bidding war anyone? Kirkland/Bridle Trails was the busiest market, with closed sales jumping 81 percent year-over-year. Median price increased 4.9 percent to $1,599,500.

East of 504 in Bellevue also saw a tremendous uptick in sales—58.8 percent. Median price increased nearly 13 percent to $1,367,000. Sales West of 504 dipped about 5 percent, and prices dropped 12.7 percent to $1,790,000. The only place with a higher median was Mercer Island ($2,522,500), where prices gained almost 22 percent year-over-year.

Median price: $1,437,500
Year-over-year price growth: 19.79 percent
Months of inventory: 0.93

1. Vashon

Vashon is a story of supply, demand, and land—just 36.9 square miles of it. (For context, the City of Seattle is about 80 square miles.) With a limited supply of homes and land on which to build, a small number of big sales can move the whole market. In April, there were 12 sales (up 50 percent from April 2023). A handful of them were seven figures.

Median price: $917,500
Year-over-year price growth: 32.97 percent
Months of inventory: 1.42