It might be a new year, but the area’s housing market remains in its familiar pattern of extraordinarily tight supply and higher prices — so much so that the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) on Thursday said buyers precluded from Puget Sound’s market may want to consider shopping for a condominium rather than a single-family home.

“With the trend toward telecommuting and moving to outlying suburban areas, the Seattle/King County condominium market presents a new option,” Gary O’Leyar, owner and designated broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, said in an NWMLS news release.

With King County’s supply of condos – 1.67 months of inventory versus 0.69 months for single-family homes – plus a slight break from double-digit appreciation, O’Leyar said buyers may find a “window of opportunity.”

The median sales price of a King County condo in January was $399,975, down — yes, down — about 0.5 percent from January 2020. Compare that with single-family homes in the county with a median price of $725,000, up almost 15 percent from a year ago.

In Snohomish County, it’s a similar story. While the median sales price of a condo last month rose 3.6 percent from January 2020 to $369,950, single-family home prices surged 17.7 percent, hitting a median of $599,990. The inventory for condos was tighter than in King County, roughly the same as single-family homes at 0.4 percent.

Over the NWMLS’s 26 counties, the median sales price of single-family homes and condos combined was $483,250, up 14. 3 percent.

“The economics of scarcity are driving prices up at an unsustainable pace,” Dick Beeson, managing broker at RE/MAX Northwest, said in the release. “What will happen this spring and summer will likely be more of the same. The real estate vortex we’re in of depleted inventory and high prices is real and unrelenting.”