Recently, I was doing some comparable analysis for a client who owns a large two bedroom condo in Belltown. Despite the mushy economic climate, there is a considerably low inventory for sale in this mid price group ($400k-$700k). Intrigued, I decided to pull more comparables in Belltown and Downtown as well as other price groups to see what their absorption rates are. (Absorption rate is the time it would take the market to consume all the units for sale based on the current number of units on the market and the most recent data on how many units are selling per month.)
Not surprisingly, the lower price group (under $400K) are selling quite well; there is low inventory and demand is stable (mostly first time home buyers and opportunistic investors), thus pricing has seemed to stabilize.
The mid range ($400k-$700k) group in Belltown is also pretty tight with less than three months of supply available representing a pretty strong sellers' market condition. Downtown is doing almost as well as Belltown with only 4 months of supply. Does it mean that we are going to see multiple offers and prices recovering quickly, probably not. I think buyers are still very price sensitive and are willing to pay a fair price for a condo but not necessarily a premium even if there is limited supply.
If you are looking to buy a large (two bedroom) high end condo, there are many more choices for the $1M+ price group (both in absolute and relative terms) and you are in a better negotiation position to ask for more incentives, discounts, and take your time. It would currently take more than 14 months to consume all the $1M+ listings out there (quite the buyer's market when compared to the <$400K segment downtown which has about 5 weeks of supply).
(Data extracted from NWMLS on 02/19/2012). They are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Belltown area includes the Denny Triangle.)
By Wendy Leung with Seattle Condo Review. A guide to Seattle condos exclusively for buyers and sellers.