For the second year in a row, the Sequim area toppled its highest average and median home sale prices.
According to Team McAleer at RE/MAX Prime, average home sale prices in the Sequim School District boundaries jumped more than $100,000 from $448,140 in 2020 to $548,480 in 2021.
Coupled with that, managing broker Michael McAleer reported that median home sale prices in Sequim went up about 16 percent from 2020-2021 — from $405,000 to $485,000 — with a boost from a “whopping $500,000 median price in the fourth quarter.”
At one point last summer asking prices were even higher, with McAleer reporting the average asking price at about $661,000 and the median price at $575,000.
“(The) biggest factor in the incredible demand we saw for Sequim homes was the fact that professionals are now being encouraged to work from home allowing them the opportunity to move out of urban job centers and into more affordable markets with a superior quality of life,” he said.
Other contributing factors, he said in reports during the COVID-19 pandemic, include low interest rates, improving internet, and lower housing prices than urban areas.
County numbers rising
Starting in 2020 across Sequim and Clallam County, including Port Angeles and Forks, multiple real estate agents reported inventory began to decrease and demand and prices began to go up.
Brody Broker Team Keller Williams Realty reported in their January 2022 “Olympic Peninsula Real Estate News” update that average home sale prices in Clallam County went up $80,000 from 2020, with an average selling price of $475,754.
Of the 1,499 homes sold in 2021, the average sale went for about $6,155 more than the asking price, Broker reported.
“Prices rose significantly in the second half of the year, but not as drastically as they rose in the first half,” Broker wrote, adding that he believes the market may be at or close to its peak.
He stated that in December 2021 homes were selling for $1,000 above asking price compared to $18,000 in May 2021.
“We saw an unprecedented amount of demand this year and the number of sales we were able to make were limited only by the available inventory,” Broker said.
Local home sales went up 4 percent from 2020 with 721 sold in the Sequim area, making it the third most home sales in the area’s history.
McAleer said this was “remarkable considering the historically low inventory the buyers were choosing from.”
As of publishing his report on Jan. 10, there were only 29 homes available (not under contract or pending) in the Sequim area, at a median sale price of $700,000.
During 2021’s fourth quarter, Sequim averaged 98 homes on the market — the lowest fourth quarter in 11 years, McAleer reports — while Sequim’s highest total was 611 homes for sale in June 2009.
Buyers had to act fast, too, with Sequim’s homes’ “days on market” going from 16 in 2020 to just six in 2021, he reported.
“Multiple offers on homes was the norm and many of the buyers who made offers on homes without ever being chosen are still out there hoping to buy,” McAleer said.
Debbie Swanson, office manager/broker at Team McAleer, wrote last week that the least expensive available home was a 1966 single-wide mobile home in Dungeness for about $245,000, and the least expensive stick-built home was about $335,000 in the Dungeness Meadows community.
The most expensive homes are off Cays Road for $2.69 million and another on Bell Hill for $1.95 million.
Of the 29 homes available in the Sequim homes available, seven of those (about 24 percent) are priced at $1 million or more, Swanson said.
The total number of land sales went down last year to 248 but prices remained high, McAleer reported, with the median lot price at $150,000 and the average lot at $187,000.
There were an average 88 land parcels available at the start of the fourth quarter 2021, the lowest inventory for any fourth quarter in 11 years, he reported.
Of the 248 land sales, 40 were in the City of Sequim, according to the Olympic Listing Service.
“Our state’s Growth Management Act, passed in 1990, was supposed to encourage growth within our city limits as opposed to the outlying unincorporated rural lands (but) expensive hookup fees and limited high density zoning areas within our city limits seem to be having the opposite effect,” McAleer said.
Recent and current Sequim city councils expressed support for and/or set goals for city staff to seek more options for affordable housing in the city.
New city councilor Lowell Rathbun said at the Jan. 10 city council meeting he’s watched neighboring cities pass new efforts and secure funding.
“I am becoming more and more optimistic Sequim will do its share for affordable housing,” he said. “I’m more and more hopeful this will happen here.”
According to Travis Simmons with Sequim’s Department of Community Development, there were 73 permits issued for single family residences and/or accessory dwelling units (68) and manufactured homes (five) in 2021.
Joel Dressel, Sequim’s building inspector, said the city’s permit fees are updated every six months according to the International Building Code, and he does hear some complaints about costs to build in the city.
He estimates the average cost for a new single family dwelling to be about $25,000 for all city fees, including utility hookups, impact fees and more while commercial costs widely vary.
As for more inventory coming into the city, Sequim senior planner Tim Woolett said there’s not a sure way to say how many homes will be developed in the city in 2022.
According to city staff and documents, several projects are in-process with applications or pre-applications submitted, including: 80-plus homes for Mariners Outlook Phase III; 24 homes with Cedar Ridge Phase 3; 33 homes through Home Estates Division B; 96 homes through Legacy Ridge, and 200-plus homes off South Seventh Avenue and McCurdy.
Lavender Meadows, a 55-plus manufactured home development community, is under construction off North Sequim Avenue with 210-plus homes planned for sale on leased land.
For housing sales totals, McAleer said manufactured homes sold on leased land do not count towards quarterly and annual totals.
Looking ahead, McAleer said his team is confident about Sequim’s real estate market compared to larger areas with inflation rising and looming rate hikes.
“We strongly believe Sequim will outperform the vast majority of other real estate markets when you consider the relative value, limited inventory and our superior quality of life,” he said.
For more information on Team McAleer RE/MAX Prime, visit sequimrealty.com or call 360-683-1500.
For more information about Brody Broker Team and Keller Williams Olympic, visit brodybroker.com or call 360-477-9665.
To see the City of Sequim’s upcoming development projects, visit sequimwa.gov/471/Current-Projects.