Seattle Real Estate News

Since March of 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic, "normal" has been difficult to describe and for those thinking of buying a home over the last few years, the market has been anything but what used to be though as "normal".  Property appreciation ascended rapidly due to high demand and lack of inventory  and mortgage rates jump significantly due to economic concerns. 

To buy now or wait. Higher mortgage interest rates  generally mean a larger monthly payment. Mortgage rates change daily and PLEASE do not expect rates will come back down to 2021 level again.  There are options to lower your rate such as with temporary rate buy-down option or with an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). 

Your goal is to have a monthly mortgage payment that is within your budget and not to overstretch yourself financially leaving nothing for repairs, living expenses and emergency savings. If you can comfortably afford the mortgage payment, then now is the time to buy. Else, waiting would be more prudent. 

Timeline. If you are planning to stay put for only a year or two, in this current economic cycle, waiting would be more prudent. 

Housing market. Buying a house in a more balanced or "normal" market when you are up against 1 or 2 other buyers rather than 20 and where you can actually inspect the house may be better fit your risk appetite than buying during the 2021 housing market.

Posted by Sam Kader on April 28th, 2023 11:37 AM
The federal government recently classifies a family of four earning up to $117,400 as low-income in three counties around the Bay Area in California. It's used to determine eligibility for federal and local housing-assistance programs, but it's different from the federal poverty guidelines. To generate the number, officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) factor in the median income and average housing costs in an area.  In the Seattle-Bellevue area, $80,250 classifies a family of four as low-income. As tech industry has drawn legions of highly paid workers to the area, the prices of homes isn't the only thing that has gone up - transportation, utilities, and food are also costly.  Many residents who have been forced to move farther inland now face grueling commutes to their jobs. The "low-income" designation allows people to qualify for affordable housing and a variety of government programs such as those for first-time home buyers.  

What it means in the area is that teachers, first responders, people who grew-up here of average income are being forced out by the high prices. The very success of the place undermines the viability of life for at least the lower half of the population. Those are the people who get the forgotten in the narrative of the glamour of tech changing the world. 

What makes cities such as Seattle great is its diversity, its creative and innovative economy and its free spirit. But the harder it is to house our artists, teachers, restaurant workers, health-care providers, the more we put the great spirit and the strong economy at risk. 

Posted by Sam Kader on July 2nd, 2018 10:44 AM
Seattle has been listed as tops in home-price growth in the country for seventh straight month. The local market has gotten so competitive that 90% of homes for sale ended up closed higher than the listed price. Seattle recorded 12.3% increase from 2016 in March compare to national average of 5.8%. There's simply not enough inventory in Seattle metropolitan area to calm a feeding frenzy. Seattle had the highest rate of bidding wards of any hot markets such as San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, Boston, Austin and Washington, D.C. The typical single-famiy house in the city sold for a record $722,000.

Home buyers may take up between 6 months to a year largely due to keep losing to the highest bidder. Spring time is when competition at its peak. To stand out some buyers have resorted to waiving contingencies, inspections, and submitting a bigger portion in nonrefundable cash sums. And because houses can go so quickly, buyers often need to pull the trigger and submit an offer on a home within hours of it hitting the market resulting in less due diligence. Some even submitted offers sight unseen with escalating clause. 

Most of the cases, sellers will set a deadline of reviewing all offers and will pick the highest one. This trend seems to have spread out to adjacent Seattle neighborhoods as well.
Posted by Sam Kader on June 16th, 2017 11:56 PM


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