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Seattle’s Current Housing Market

The Seattle housing market as well as housing markets around the globe were undoubtedly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak earlier in 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. Here’s a summary of Seattle’s current housing market.

Housing Supply

After the pandemic’s initial boom and state shut down 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.” 

Inventory has since remained scarce, showing a significantly lower amount of active listings compared to 2019. Northwest Multiple Listings Service reported that King County had a decrease of 20.84% in active listings from 4,808 in October 2019 to just 3,806 in October of this year.

[Related: The Complete Guide to Moving to Seattle]

Housing Demand

While supply continues to be low, demand has steadily increased since the initial drop at the start of the year. 

Many people want to move out of the crowded cities into smaller towns, especially if they are starting to work remotely from home. People are looking for value and lower population density, which means a suburban boom in the U.S. housing market could be on the horizon. Since they can skip the commute into the office, Seattleites are finding more affordable, larger homes in Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Mortgage rates are also at a historical low, which gives buyers more incentive to get out there and purchase a home. Meanwhile, real estate agents are still struggling to find enough houses to meet this steady increase in demand, and adapting to new virtual tactics (such as FaceTime or Skype) for showing properties.

[Related: Five Priceless Reasons to Save Up to Buy a Home vs. Renting]

Home Prices

Seattle’s home prices have always been high, and with demand outweighing supply, the market is definitely leaning in favor of sellers at the close of 2020. 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. 

Year over year, Seattle’s median home price increased by 4.9% to $750,000, and Zillow predicts prices will continue to increase by at least 8.7% in the next 12 months.

Since demand outweighs supply so heavily, Seattle is seeing homes sell and close oftentimes within a week, according to Redfin. Closed sales are up by nearly 40% compared to October 2019. 

[Related: Guide to Closing Costs in Washington State]

Data for October 2020

The following is data from the October 2020 Seattle Housing Market Report collected by Northwest MLS.

Active Listings

  • Active listings in Seattle: 2,055
  • Increase of nearly 16% over October 2019
  • Active listings in all King County: 3,806
  • Drop of nearly 21% as compared to October 2019

New Listings

  • 452 new listings were added to the market in Seattle
  • Increase of nearly 40% compared to October 2019
  • 3,971 new listings added to the market in King County
  • Increase of 32% compared to October 2019

Closed Sales

  • 1,202 closed sales were registered in Seattle
  • 40% year over year increase
  • 3,857 closed sales registered in King County
  • Represents year-over-year increase of almost 40%

Median Price

  • Seattle’s median price increased by 4.9% to $750,000
  • Last year in October the median price was $715,000
  • King County’s median price increased by 13.22% to $685,000
  • Median price in King County in 2019 was $605,000

[Related: Important Tips for Millennial Homebuyers]

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 in 2021? 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 least next spring. 

The sharp decline in inventory is keeping the Seattle housing market strong, with buyers fighting over a small amount of high-priced properties, even as we see an increase of city-dwellers moving toward the suburbs.

[Related: Guide for Renters Curious About Owning in Seattle]

Better for Sellers or Buyers?

As of 2020, the Seattle housing market is leaning dramatically in favor of the seller. With such low inventories, sellers can expect less competition from other homesellers and more offers 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 in 2021, 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.

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