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  • Writer's pictureGretchen Schmidt

Traffic Cops Needed at Bellevue Open House

I attended this open house last week and got there right after the cops. It was a nice home on a quiet (usually) street. I thought I'd share the article that Puget Sound Business Journal published about it.

Article by: By Marc Stiles  – Staff Writer, Puget Sound Business Journal

Feb 10, 2020, 6:02pm EST

So intense has the greater Seattle home buying market become that brokers with open houses might want to budget for security officers to direct traffic.

More than 200 people came to an open house last week on the Eastside. It was not a weekend open house for a starter home but a noontime Thursday event for a Clyde Hill house listed for nearly $2.9 million. Some 60 brokers came to the event with would be buyers.

"They completely clogged the private lane with cars and were parking on the grass," said Windermere Real Estate broker Anna Riley, who is listing the five-bedroom house with Denise Niles. "I started getting urgent texts from (Niles) to send our assistant right away."

A neighbor called police to come direct traffic. Riley said in her 19 years in real estate, this was a first.

Big crowds at open houses have become common in the ascendant housing market. Coldwell Banker Bain Principal Managing Broker John Deely said one recent Seattle open house for a listing in the $1.2 million range drew more than 300 visitors.

The single-family home market was red-hot for several years until May of 2018. It started to heat up again last year and brokers predicted a busy spring 2020 market. Springtime has come early this year and the timing could not be worse for buyers due to a severe shortage of homes for sale.

In the four-county metro, the number of homes for sale in January was 28 percent lower than the year before, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Strong demand is driving prices to as much as 15 percent in Pierce County.

"Inventory remains tight and, unfortunately, I don’t expect much to change even as we move into the spring months when we typically see a glut of homes come on the market,” said Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. He expects a very competitive housing market this year, with prices rising at above-average rates.

Brokers at Coldwell Banker Bain are reporting that it feels like 2017, with multiple offers returning, said company President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Grady. Unless something unexpected happens to affect the local job market, there’s no reason to think now that this trend will decline, he said.

Riley said Amazon's plan to bring another 15,000 jobs in Bellevue is fueling the Eastside market. She said a Medina listing similarly priced to the one in Clyde Hill attracted eight offers and sold in three days. So far she and Niles have received multiple offers on the Clyde Hill listing at 2111 96th Ave. NE, with offers due Tuesday.

The median sale price in Clyde Hill last month was up nearly 32 percent year over year to $1.62 million, according to the NWMLS. The median sale price in Seattle increased 4.7 percent to $670,000.

Among the four counties, prices climbed the most (15.2 percent) to $380,000 in Pierce, followed by 12.1 percent to $409,950 in Snohomish County and 10.5 percent to $380,000 in Kitsap. King's median sale price jumped 3.4 percent to $630,525.

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