The Current State of the Seattle Housing Market
Published | Written by Sophia Morales
Whether you are interested in the housing market of Seattle as a home buyer or potential investor, it is natural to want to understand its condition before dipping your feet in its waters. So, what is the current state of the Seattle housing market like?
Number of homes on the market
During this past year, we've noticed a definite increase in the number of homes on the market. During 2021, the housing market inventory in Seattle was rather anemic. Finding the desired property, or any property at all, was difficult. This all changed in 2022 when we saw a sudden and overwhelming surge in inventory. It was much easier to spot a home with potential simply because of the vast array of them on offer. Now, what's even more interesting is that while 'inventory' is still considerable, the 'supply' of homes in the Seattle housing market is slowly drying up. After all, the number of new homes on the market is low, and there are few projects that are actively increasing it. Meaning that if the current situation persists, we will eventually encounter a problem with 'inventory' again as well. Still, that's pretty far off.
The waiting game
The state of the Seattle housing market was such that when there were few homes on it, they would be snatched up almost immediately. A house's average time on the market back in 2021 was around a week. Now, however, things have changed. The average waiting time for your home to sell is now closer to a month. This shows buyers are now much more discerning and taking the time necessary to organize everything properly. After all, if you are moving from California to Washington and hiring interstate movers, you want a crew you can depend on. And that's just one aspect of the moving and home-buying process. Naturally, this has negatively affected sellers looking to get an influx of cash quickly.
The price changes
While the inventory has gone up and the waiting times have gotten longer, the average housing prices have actually gotten bigger. This is because the buyers are keener than ever on getting their hands on the 'best' properties on the market. Now, this is not to say that the prices are at an all-time high. Due to the pandemic, the state of the Seattle housing market has suffered considerably. Rent and home value had briefly dipped to levels threatening both the sellers and commercial housing investors. Since then, the prices have been climbing again, but they are still not 'ridiculously' high and are, in fact, quite affordable.
A slower market
If everything we've described so far hasn't made it obvious, then let us be direct: The current Seattle housing market is very 'slow'. Neither sellers nor buyers can expect to walk away quickly with a completed transaction. Sellers, because buyers are trying to find the perfect property at the right price. Buyers, because there is a lot more inventory on offer, want to ensure they've done their due research. This isn't necessarily bad since it gives both parties enough time to properly prepare and align everything to their advantage. But it can get a bit frustrating if it is in your best interest to finalize things quickly.
At the end of the day, the sellers suffer the most from the situation we just described. This is because they need to have a competitive property to make it on the market and get the best price possible. It is no longer a question of whether you should renovate your house before selling. Now, if you actually want to make a sale at all, you have to do it. While they will always appeal to a part of the market, Fixer-uppers are definitely not as huge as they used to be. A discerning buyer now much prefers a home that's ready for a move immediately after the purchase. This might, in part, be due to how long it takes to finalize a sale, to begin with. But it is also because people simply do not want to personally invest in renovation anymore.
The matters of mortgage
Unfortunately, while the Seattle housing market is generally tending towards being buyer-oriented, one aspect of the experience definitely isn't. If you are looking to get a mortgage, you will find that interest rates continue to increase. Naturally, this makes looking for a new home on a budget much more difficult. Since this is a direct consequence of inflation and an attempt to combat it, we can't hope that things will change anytime soon. As such, short of being able to make a home purchase outright, the best option would be to buy sooner rather than later.
Viability of commercial investment
The final question concerning the current state of the Seattle housing market is whether investing in it is still worth it. And the answer, as things stand, is yes! If you want to work on flipping properties, the current scenario, where the good properties are valued very highly and the less desirable ones are not, is perfect for you. Of course, you need to carefully juggle your investment with your potential profits. But it is still possible to earn money from it. On the other hand, investing in commercial properties to rent them is only growing in profitability. New and old businesses alike still require proper facilities to function, and if you pick out the right investment, you stand to profit greatly.
The present and the potential of the market
As you can tell, the current state of the Seattle housing market is, paradoxically, both promising and worrying. The influx of new 'supply' is currently lacking, and the average buyer's experience is initially rough due to mortgage concerns and positive due to the massive inventory currently available. At present, if you have the money for it, making a purchase will be both easy and satisfying. But the sellers are not having as much fun, and some dark clouds are on the horizon.
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