How crazy is the housing situation in one of the country's hottest markets? A dilapidated Seattle home described by the Seattle Times as a "Halloween haunted house" recently sold for more than twice its listing price despite partially collapsed ceilings, five feet of standing water, toxic air, hazardous mold, unspecified "biomaterial," and rooms filled with debris (photos here). "That is insane, obviously,” listing agent Bruce Phares tells the Times. Knowing the house would need to be torn down—only licensed contractors who had signed a legal waiver were allowed inside—Phares listed it for $200,000, or $25,000 less than a nearby vacant lot recently sold for. The result was a bidding war. Phares got 41 offers from developers and homebuyers over the next 10 days. A development firm ended up buying the 65-year-old home for $427,000.
And if any of that sounds vaguely evil, at least for prospective home buyers, the Seattle Times also reports the median home price in Seattle last month was a "devilish" $666,500. That's a 15.9% increase over last year and an incredible 74% increase since 2011. Home prices are rising faster in Seattle than almost anywhere else in the US. And according to My Northwest, there's no evidence they'll reverse course anytime soon with high demand and relatively few homes. Phares says he thinks bidders are "just taking Hail Marys" on properties at this point. “That’s not sound, and that’s not sustainable," he tells the Times. (This couple signed up for an HGTV home renovation and ended up with holes in the floor and windows painted shut.)