Seattle Real Estate News

In February 2023, King County home prices tumbled 7% with the median home sold for $800,000. The biggest difference in 2023 is the increase in mortgage rates. Higher rates mean less purchasing power for potential homeowners and in turn creating less competition for homes.  Some home sellers are waiting to see if rates would dip down again and markets would pick back up.  Others want to make sure their jobs are safe before making a move. 

The inventory was already tight before but now with homeowners with lower mortgage rates – they are staying put longer and not listing their homes. Others are becoming a landlord instead of selling especially if they have extremely low interest rates on their current property. 

To attract potential buyers, sellers are taking on more home improvement projects such as painting, upgrading carpets or replacing light fixtures and faucets before listing their properties.  Buyers are demanding more to compensate for higher  mortgage rates. 

Find an experienced local mortgage broker. If you find yourself in a bidding war, a local broker as opposed to a big bank can make all the difference.


Posted by Sam Kader on April 28th, 2023 11:45 AM

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 new year will bring Seattle a new housing market - one without the runaway prices and jaw-dropping bidding wars. Yet still difficult for anyone but the region's wealthiest  shoppers. Here's what real-estate forecasters expect for in 2023.  

After 2 years of home prices shoot up by double-digit percentages - prices are now on the decline driven by elevated mortgage rates and fear of rescission. 

Seattle-are prices could fall faster than the national trend with as much as 10% according to Redfin in part because Seattle home prices are already high and combined with current rising mortgage rates environment - this could push mortgage payments even more out of reach of prospective buyers. 

Could I afford to buy a house? 

The median mortgage payment here in King County is about $4,300 (median means half of mortgage payment is more than $4,300 and half of mortgage payment is less than $4,300).  Here's the current median prices in greater Puget Sound Area.  

By another estimate, Seattle homebuyers must earn $169,000 a year to afford the median home with 20% down payment.  With persistence inflation and stagflation in 2023 - elevated mortgage rates appear to be here to stay after super-low mortgage rates of between 2% and 4% during the pandemic years.  Fannie Mae projects rates will hover around 6% throughout 2023.  Check out our temporary rate buydown option to help you manage your rate for the first few years of your loan payment. 

Many people buy a house and stay put for years so they can build-up some equity when they eventually sell. However, this may not be the case for people who bought in the past few years (between Jan. 2021 through Sept 2022) and to sell in 2023 due to extenuating circumstances.

Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:30 PM
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
King County's median single family home price was $560,000 in February up 6.7% from January (that's the biggest jump in home prices in since 2015). Seattle's median home sold for $675,000 in February - nearly doubled over the last five years. Prices are surging largely due to lack of inventory. The number of houses for ale in King County is at its lowest point since at least 2000.

The situation is even worst for condos. The number of condos for sale across the county plummeted 42% from a year ago.

Snohomish County median home prices increased 14.9% year-over-year with the median price of $412,500 in February. Pierce County home costs jumped 12% while Kitsap County saw 9.8% increase. King County's year-over-year price increase to 8.7% was the smallest of 4 local counties.
Posted by Sam Kader on March 7th, 2017 7:31 PM
Welcome 2017. What will you unfold for us?

1. Interest rate. The Federal Reserve in on tract to raise interest rates through the end of 2017. The National Association of Realtors predicts that we will see conventional 30 Year Fixed at around 4.6% by end of 2017 (in retrospect still not as bad but not as good as 2016). Higher rates translate to less purchasing power. Please ensure that these 5 items are fully underwritten and that your Pre-Approval is bullet-proof.

2. Price point. Selling your house in multiple-offer situation. Ensure that you receive a complete comparative market analysis (CMA) without getting priced out.

3. Location. Allowance for 30 minutes commute may translate to about 10 miles radius for your search. Overlay that area with your other wish list such as school system, outdoor activities, city center etc. and constraint these items with your price range.

4. Home condition. You can't have it all in today's market. Be prepared to compromise with your "must haves".

5. Market conditions. Know what the current market conditions and what projections are and seasonality and inventory play a part in the buying and selling process. For example real estate market is usually the busiest between May and August and taper off in the winter time.

Posted in:Housing Market and tagged: Housing Market
Posted by Sam Kader on December 31st, 2016 11:55 AM


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