Can I Afford to Buy a Home in Seattle?

Whether you are a recent Seattle transplant or a lifelong resident finally ready to invest in your dream home, buying a house in Seattle may be a daunting process. The booming tech industry has made our city a destination for many professionals across a number of industries, driving real estate prices up.

If you are hoping to invest in Seattle real estate but aren’t sure where to start, your mortgage planners are here to help. Here are a few things to consider when determining if you can afford to buy a home in Seattle.

Seattle’s Housing Market
A predominant cause of the high real estate prices in Seattle is the low inventory housing market. This means that more people are wanting to buy houses than there are houses available. When demand is high and supply is low, prices rise.

A low inventory housing market puts homebuyers (and even renters) in a place where large percentages of their incomes need to go toward their rent or house payments — an estimated 30 percent by some accounts. By this measure, one would need to make on average $18.91 an hour to rent in Seattle, and $26.87 an hour to afford a two-bedroom home. With Seattle’s current minimum wage at $11.50, affording living in the city is out of reach for many households.

However, working with professional mortgage planners can help you explore your housing options in the current real estate market. Check out our pro tips below and contact us today to learn more about your housing options!

Affording Housing in Seattle
While Seattle’s current real estate market can make the home buying process difficult, having a few tricks up your sleeve can help you navigate it and find the best options for your family. A few best practices we suggest when exploring housing in Seattle include:

Get to Know the Neighborhoods
Seattle’s unique neighborhoods make our city special. From West Seattle’s ocean views to Phinney Ridge’s corky charm and beyond, each of our city’s divisions offers its own appeal. Understanding the pros and cons of each area will also help you in your home buying search.

For example, some neighborhoods, such as Capitol Hill and Lower Queen Anne, are highly walkable with easy access to public transportation. This may open up the opportunity to live without a car, making higher housing prices a bit more affordable without the associated costs of parking, gas, and insurance. On the flipside, rent in the neighborhoods farther away from the city center is often cheaper, but living there may require having a car or spending more time on transportation.

Explore our blog’s neighborhood spotlights for detailed breakdowns of the various places to live in Seattle!

Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Portage Bay
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Crown Hill
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Seward Park
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Bitter Lake
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Delridge
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Laurelhurst
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Alki West Seattle
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Georgetown
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Phinney Ridge
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Magnolia
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Madison Valley
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Greenwood
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Madrona
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Ravenna
Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight: Beacon Hill

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is key to finding quality Seattle real estate. While some moves may be unforeseen, taking a few steps ahead of time may put you in front of others when applying for housing. Remember these protips during your housing search:

Notify references: Whether you are renting or buying, you may need references from your place of work, previous landlords, or others before sellers will consider your application. Simply asking your workplace or supervisor to keep an eye out for a call about your housing may prevent them from missing these calls and help put you ahead in this process.

Leverage your network: While you may be brand new to a city, it never hurts to leverage your network when looking to buy a home. This may mean posting on workplace job boards or asking friends if they know of people selling homes in a certain area. These simple quick questions may help speed up the process and ultimately help you find good housing faster.

Consider looking during winter: Searching for homes during the winter may also help you find housing in Seattle because fewer people tend to move to the city at this time.

Be ready to make an offer: Being ready to make an offer if you feel right about the property is another way to get in line ahead of others. While doing your research and being sure about investing in a home are key, being ready to make an offer promptly can get you to the front of the line for Seattle real estate!

Work with a professional: Working with an experienced mortgage planning professional is a final tool to have during your housing search! Our team is happy to help you navigate this process and find a home that works for your living and financial needs.

To learn more about affording housing in Seattle, check out our real estate budgeting tips. To work with our team to find your Seattle home, contact us today!

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