Data-based rankings of the top ten highest-priced areas in the greater Seattle area
The Seattle market is even more competitive than usual these days, and that competition notably drives sale prices up well above list. While it may feel as if prices are high across the region, there’s a big difference between the most affordable areas and the most expensive ones.
We dug into the data to find out exactly where people are paying top dollar for homes in greater Seattle, looking at single family homes in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties from Everett to Tacoma with an eastern boundary of Issaquah.
Here’s what we identified:
- The postal codes where single family homes are the most expensive in the region, by median sale price (which gauges the aggregate area) and average price per square foot (which gauges at the individual home level)
- How the prices of those homes have changed from 2015 to 2020 (and will likely continue to change)
- How the changes compare to the average across the region
Median sale price gives us an indication of prices for the postal code in total. Changes over time here are useful to see a trend, but don’t speak directly to home appreciation. Don’t worry—we’ll look at that, too.
Take a look at how 98039 (Medina) towers above the number-two postal code, especially in 2020. The other eight areas may look small, but don’t be fooled. It’s only because they’re in comparison to that gargantuan $3.9MM median in Medina. The lowest 2020 median sale price on this list is $1,149,000 in 98109 (Queen Anne/Westlake/South Lake Union).
Let’s look more closely at the median sale prices of the ten most expensive postal codes by that measure, and how they’ve gone up in the past year and five years.
How do these areas compare?
In the larger region from Everett to Tacoma, the average median sale price increase for single family homes over these five years was 35%. Of the areas with the highest median sale price, 70% increased less than that average. The region increase from 2019 to 2020 was 8%. Half of the most expensive areas increased more than that one-year average, led by Medina at a whopping 25%.
While median sale price indicates the price trend for an area, to understand home value appreciation (the earning potential of the home), we need to look at the unit level rather than an aggregate.
To do this, we considered the average price per square foot from 2015 to 2020. You’ll notice a few differences from the median sale price rankings. Three areas fell off the list: 98074 and 98075 (both Sammamish), and 98006 (Bellevue). Three others jumped onto the list: 98102 (Capitol Hill/Eastlake), 98119 (Queen Anne, Interbay), and 98105 (U District).
Again, we can see that 98039 (Medina) towers ahead with incredible gains over the past few years.
Now, let’s see exactly how much price per square foot has changed in these most-expensive homes over the past year and five years, and how the change compares to homes in the larger region.
How do these changes compare?
The larger region came in at an average price/square foot of $403 in 2020. It saw an increase of 9% from 2019 to 2020 and 36% from 2015-2020. Over the past year, only two of the most expensive postal codes grew more than average, 98033 (Kirkland) and 98005 (Bel-Red, Wilburton, Norwood village). Some fell way below that average, most notably 98039 (Medina) and 98119 (West Queen Anne, North Queen Anne, Interbay). And over the past five years, homes in 80% of the ten most expensive areas increased less than average by this measure. Only 98039 and 98005 beat the average.
There are some astoundingly pricey areas in greater Seattle and most are on the Eastside. Among them, Medina is a giant. With price per square foot increasing less than the region’s average in many of these postal codes, they don’t gain equity as fast as less expensive homes in the region. However, they’ve all seen significant price increases over the past five years and show no signs of slowing, so there’s plenty of equity to be gained despite the slower pace compared to more affordable homes.
Keep an eye on the local monthly market reports!