The Seattle housing market as well as housing markets around the globe were undoubtedly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak that hit the world in the early months of 2020. The virus has not only changed the way people make large purchases such as cars and property, but has also altered the way people learn, work, eat, travel, and gather.
However, people continue to sell and buy houses for a variety of reasons, and in 2021 Seattle’s housing market is hotter than ever. Here’s a summary of Seattle’s current housing market.
After the pandemic’s initial boom and state shutdown orders in February of 2020, many sellers took their homes off the market. The health risks associated with showing homes and meeting face-to-face were too large of a gamble, and overall the housing market (both supply and demand) cooled down for the next few months as we learned how to adapt as best we could to a “new normal.”
Even over a year later, inventory has remained low, showing significantly less active listings compared to years before. Northwest Multiple Listings Service predict that it will take the tri-county area around Seattle (King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County) at least four to six more months until the area sees a more balanced market.
[Related: The Complete Guide to Moving to Seattle]
While supply continues to be low, demand has steadily increased since the initial drop at the start of the 2020.
Initially, the pandemic caused many people to want to move out of the crowded cities into smaller towns, especially if they were starting to work remotely from home. People are still looking for value and lower population density, which means Washington state continues to see a suburban shift. Cities like Bellingham, Paulsbo, and Puyallup have seen an increase of ex-Seattleites move to their less crowded areas.
Mortgage rates in Washington are also at a historical low, and are continuing to decrease, which gives buyers more incentive to get out there and purchase a home.
Seattle’s home prices have always been high, and with demand continuing to outweigh supply, the market is definitely leaning in favor of sellers mid-way through 2021. Since home sellers aren’t struggling to find interest in their homes, they can keep higher price points without consequence and have the upper hand in negotiations. In fact, approximately 4,500 Seattle-area homes sold for more than $100,000 above asking price so far this year.
In May 2021, King County’s median home price increased year over year by an astounding 13.6%, and its hard to imagine prices decreasing anytime soon.
Since demand outweighs supply so heavily, Seattle is seeing homes sell and close oftentimes within a week, according to Redfin. Year over year, King County has seen an incredible increase of 83.25% in closed sales since May 2020.
[Related: Guide to Closing Costs in Washington State]
Data for October 2020
The following is data from a May 2021 Seattle Housing Market Report collected by Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
- Active listings in Seattle: 1,091
- Decrease of nearly 16.91% compared to May 2020
- Active listings in all King County: 1,995
- Drop of nearly 42.46% as compared to May 2020
- 1,639 new listings were added to the market in Seattle
- Increase of nearly 30% compared to May 2020
- 4,372 new listings added to the market in King County
- Increase of 21.95% compared to May 2020
- 1,286 closed sales were registered in Seattle
- 104.45% year over year increase
- 3,643 closed sales registered in King County
- Represents year-over-year increase of 83.25%
- Seattle’s median price increased by 16.64% to $833,960
- Last year in May the median price was $715,000
- King County’s median price increased by 23.6% to $775,000
- Median price in King County in May of 2020 was $627,000
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Housing Forecast for 2021
Is Seattle’s housing market going to continue with a large supply and demand imbalance? Or is the containment of the coronavirus and return to “normal” going to balance out the scales later this year, or in 2022? When’s the best time to purchase or sell a home in Seattle these days?
Local realtors predict that the market is so hot that it will take quite a while to shift back to a buyer’s market, and it could stay this way until at four to six more months.
The Seattle housing market is going strong, with buyers still fighting over a small amount of high-priced properties, even as we continue see an increase of city-dwellers moving toward the suburbs.
Better for Sellers or Buyers?
As of 2021, the Seattle housing market is leaning dramatically in favor of the seller. With such low inventories, sellers can expect less competition from other home-sellers and more offers (often above asking price) from buyers. They can also keep their prices at the high end, since sellers have the negotiating power in the buyer-seller relationship.
For buyers, although inventory is scarce, mortgage interest rates are at an all-time low, which could be an incentive to buy. We can expect housing inventory to slowly increase for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, which means more options for homebuyers thinking about relocating and purchasing a new home in Seattle.
Contact Seattle Mortgage Planners
If you’re looking to take your first steps toward homeownership or are thinking of relocating to Seattle, we can help. Seattle Mortgage Planners are experts at assisting new and experienced homeowners in finding the right rates, researching great neighborhoods, going through the loan process, and deciding on the best financing options.
Send us a message or give us a call at (206) 799-9966 for a consultation — and to get one step closer to your dream home.