Seattle Culture

Seattle is One Swanky City

People are buying, and selling, high-end homes at a rapid pace

By Rob Smith August 25, 2022

kevin scott-min

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2022 issue of Seattle Magazine.

From million-dollar mansions to top floor penthouses, Seattle-area residents are busy trading places.

According to Coldwell Banker’s annual report on the luxury residential real estate market, the city boasted a 14.5% increase in luxury home sales last year, among the highest of 120 markets analyzed around the world. Coldwell Banker defines a luxury sale as one priced in the top 10% of a market.

The median price of a luxury home in the Seattle region was just shy of $1.8 million in 2021, a 6% hike from the previous year. A desire for safety during the pandemic was a significant driver.

“I have never had so many calls in my career about people that wanted a second home,” says Jen Cameron, vice president of Coldwell Banker Bain’s global luxury division in Kirkland. “It wasn’t about finding a luxury home in Bellevue, Kirkland or Medina. It was, ‘Hey, I want a house in the San Juans or on the water.’ They wanted a safe escape where they could go during the pandemic and feel like they were on vacation.”

You’d be forgiven if you thought the entire Seattle area was becoming a playground for the rich. The average asking price of all homes skyrocketed 14% between January and February of this year alone to a staggering $890,000, according to data firm Flyhomes.

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