Thursday, September 15, 2011

Split Level Decisions

Are split-level homes more difficult to sell in Seattle?

What statistical evidence can we find that buyers are any more reluctant to buy split level homes in Seattle, that they pay any less for them, or that they sit on the market any longer than other styles of homes?

Of 3122 total home sales in Seattle in the last six months, only 96 were identified as split entry homes. The median split entry sale was for a 4 bedroom, 2.25 bath home with 2148 sf that sold in 47 days for $304,975 ($141.98/sf). Since the NWMLS reports cannot handle more than 500 transactions, let’s look at the last 30 days, and also at a specific zip code for comparison.

In the last 30 days, the median Seattle home sale was for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with 1850sf that sold for $361,000 in 32 days. That’s $195.14 per square foot. So the median split entry home sold for a 27% discount in price and it took 47% longer to sell!

The hot Seattle zipcode 98115 had 8 split level sales in the past six months. The median split level sale here was for a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with 2135 sf that sold in 12 days for $440,000 ($206.09/sf). The median home sales for the other transactions in this zip code were for a 3 bedroom, 1.75 bath home with 2060 sf that sold in 19 days for $450,000 ($218.45). This means that split levels in this zip code sold for a 6% discount in price from other styles.

98115 has 119 listings right now on the NWMLS; only 3 of which are identified as split entry homes. These have a median list price of $299,000 and have been on the market for a total of 44 days; other styles have a median list price of $459,975 and have been on the market for a total of 65 days.

So it looks like split entry homes sell for anywhere from 6 – 27% less than homes of other styles. It is also possible that agents are choosing styles other than “split entry” to identify these homes, in which case there may be a bias in the NWMLS statistics that we use for comparison.

Nevertheless, there does seem to be some statistical basis for the belief that buyers pay less for split entry homes than for other styles of houses in Seattle.

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