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Most Affordable Housing Markets in Seattle Metro Area

With home prices rising by double digits in 2016 alone, the Seattle housing market has begun to stretch the budgets of local home buyers. And house values are expected to continue rising through the end of 2017.

But there are pockets of relative affordability in the area. In fact, a recent report from the chief economist at Zillow highlighted the five most affordable cities in the Seattle metropolitan area, relative to the median income.

Most Affordable Cities in the Seattle Area 2017

Seattle, Washington is without doubt one of the hottest real estate markets in the country right now. It has been for a while. High demand and limited inventory have forced home buyers to compete fiercely, especially in the more sought-after areas.

As a result of these trends, the median home price in Seattle recently rose above $600,000 for the first time ever.

But there are more affordable options for people who want to buy a home in the Seattle metro area, but not necessarily within the city itself.

The chief economist for the real estate data company Zillow recently prepared a report for Seattle NBC affiliate King 5 News. It listed five of the most affordable cities and housing markets in the Seattle area, based on the percentage of income that goes toward housing costs in each area.

Zillow’s economic research team looked at the median income for various cities in the Puget Sound area, and compared that to median home values.

In the city of Seattle, people are spending about 25% of their income on housing. Here are five more affordable cities in the metro area, along with the percentage of income needed to cover mortgage and housing costs:

  • Marysville: 16.2%
  • Tacoma: 17.4%
  • Auburn: 17.8%
  • Kent: 19.5%
  • Federal Way: 20.1%

When this article was published, in February 2017, the median home price in Marysville, Washington was $308,000. In Seattle, it was $604,000 at the same time. That goes to show how much more affordable housing becomes when you drive a little further north (in this case).

With a median home price of around $244,000, Tacoma is another affordable option for those who want to live in the Seattle area. The other three cities above came in somewhere between $300,000 and $350,000.

The Most Expensive Housing Markets

On the other end of the spectrum, the least affordable city in the Seattle area was Bellevue, Washington. People there spend nearly 30% of their income to cover their mortgage and housing-related expenses. In Bellevue, the median home price was $638,900. The median income in that city is $98,804.

Other cities that were more expensive relative to income included: Seattle (of course), Everett, Renton, and Kirkland.

“Seattle is certainly a very hot housing market right now,” said Dr. Svenja Gudell, Chief Economist for Zillow. “We’re seeing a lot of demand, a lot of newcomers to the area and as that continues, we’ll see even more of these outlying communities start to heat up a bit and get more expensive.”

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