Want A House In Seattle? Be Prepared to Pay Up

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

NOTD - 1,855%

That's the increase in the number of houses that have sold for at least $100,000 above asking price in Seattle between this year and the same period in 2019, just one example of how the hot housing market has stretched buyers and pushed prices sky-high.

Between Jan. 1 and June 16, 4,711 homes in the Seattle metro area sold for six figures more than list price, according to data from real estate firm Redfin, far more than the 241 during the same time in 2019 or the 377 last year.

Seattle has one of the hottest residential real estate markets in the U.S. right now—the typical home there went for $47,917 above list price, according to Redfin data—but sale prices above list are more common than you might think. Homes in almost two-thirds of the markets tracked by Redfin have an average sale price above the asking price.

Prices have soared to record highs around the country and the number of homes on the market has dwindled, thanks to a rush on residential real estate sparked by low interest rates for mortgages and a desire for more space to work from home during the pandemic. The limited inventory has caused buyers to take steps like waiving the home inspection, making all-cash offers, writing “love letters,” or bidding above list price in an effort to make their bids more attractive to sellers.

That’s likely pushed homeownership out of the reach of some, as homes become increasingly less affordable. Home prices have risen faster than people’s wages in nearly three-quarters of markets, according to an analysis released last week by ATTOM Data, which tracks the real estate market. Rising prices and a lack of inventory have caused sales to drop from their peak at the start of the year and the number of mortgage applications to fall.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Rob at ranthes@thebalance.com.