A recent edition of the Wall Street Journal covered a growing prevalence for homes in hot markets to sell for $500,000 or more above the list price, leveraging Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty broker Tobias Lumpkin for insight on the Seattle market. As outlined in the article, the housing market continues to experience gains around the nation, and fierce competition led to nearly a quarter of the homes sold in the U.S. in 2017 closing above their original asking price. Though most homes average $7,000 above list, some hot markets are seeing escalations of a half a million dollars or more.
“What often distinguishes the houses that go way above asking is a feature that the other homes in the neighborhood just don’t have,” Lumpkin tells WSJ. “That can be a better view, more southern exposure, an especially tasteful renovation, a three-car garage in a parking-challenged city, or a side yard.” He also says these homes are typically listed at a price point just low enough to attract lots of attention.
That was the case in Seattle-based real-estate lawyer Kerry Bucklin’s purchase of a midcentury home on Mercer Island. After looking for a couple of years, Bucklin tells WSJ he found a waterfront residence near the shoreline with unobstructed views and close proximity to the freeway, factors which helped him decide to escalate just above $500,000 over asking in order to beat the seven other offers that came in.
To be sure, the value of homes in the Seattle area continue to appreciate, as over half of the homes sold in 2017 closed above asking price, and bidding wars have become the norm. WSJ points to similar sales situations in other hot markets, including a home in Washington D.C.’s popular Georgetown neighborhood that went for $700,000 above, and a Silicon Valley market that saw 39 homes sell for at least $500,000 above asking price in the past four months alone.