Summary: Home prices have increased rapidly in Seattle over the recent past, but the prices have cooled off. That said, the prices for homes in Seattle are still is the mid-$700k’s, stretching the budgets of local home buyers. So, what are the most affordable vs most expensive housing markets in the Seattle metro area?
Seattle is easily one of the most expensive real estate markets in Washington State, and in the country as a whole. It’s long been this way, which has made buying a home in the largest city in Washington State very difficult for many buyers who find themselves getting priced out of the market.
With home prices rising by double digits from 2017 to 2018 in Seattle, the housing market has stretched the budgets of local home buyers. Thankfully for buyers, home prices in Seattle have not only plateaued, but they’ve actually dipped over the past year. This have been a huge relief for buyers who are looking to buy in Seattle but may not have been able to secure a mortgage to make a purchase in the city.
But there are pockets of relative affordability in the area. Rather than living directly in Seattle, there are plenty of “bedroom” communities nearby Seattle that offer a quick commute but with housing prices that are far more affordable the the city center of Seattle. 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 2020
Seattle, Washington is without doubt one of the more expensive real estate markets in the country right now, as already mentioned. 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 is now $741,800, though the price has decreased from its high of $751,000 in June 2018.
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 housing prices and median household income.
In the city of Seattle, people need an average income of $114,217 to buy a median-priced home in the city.
Here are 5 more affordable cities in the metro area, along with the median home prices in each.
- Tacoma: $337,900
- Federal Way: $392,100
- Marysville: $394,100
- Auburn: $396,800
- Kent: $423,500
Most of these housing prices are just over half of what homes cost in the city of Seattle.
That goes to show how much more affordable housing becomes when you drive a little further out.
With a median home price of around $337,900, Tacoma, for example, is an affordable option for those who want to live in the Seattle area. The other four cities above came in somewhere between $392,000 and $423,500.
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 about 50% of their income to cover their mortgage and housing-related expenses. In Bellevue, the median home price is $943,700. The median income in that city is $105,402.
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.”
In Need of a Mortgage?
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