Summary: Are you thinking of buying a condo in Seattle, Washington? You’re not alone. While the condo market has cooled somewhat over the recent past, it’s still somewhat competitive. Get more info now!
Are you thinking of buying a condo in Seattle, Washington? You’re not alone. The condominium market in Seattle is in demand right now, though the market has settled down from where it has been over the past few years. Here are some things you should know about buying a condo in this highly competitive real estate market.
Benefits of Buying a Condo vs. a House
Have you considered the pros and cons of buying a condo in Seattle? If not, that’s always a good place to start. How does a condominium unit stack up to a “regular” detached home, from an ownership standpoint? Here are some pros and cons to consider.
Possible advantages of buying a condo in Seattle:
- Less maintenance. When you buy a condo in Seattle, you’ll probably have a lot less maintenance to do compared to a regular detached home. Landscaping, building upkeep, and other exterior maintenance chores are typically included with the association dues. And there’s a lot to be said for having more free time on the weekends.
- It might cost less. The cost of a Seattle condo versus a house depends on the size of the home, neighborhood popularity, and other factors. But in many cases, buyers will spend less when buying a condominium unit. This makes condos an attractive alternative to higher-priced single-family homes in Seattle. (Of course, luxury high-rise condos and penthouse suites are a different story.)
- Proximity to downtown. If you want to live in or near the heart of downtown Seattle, buying a condo might be the best option for you. There are plenty of condominium units available downtown, but few detached homes. You won’t find “regular” subdivisions with detached homes until you get farther from downtown. The same is true for many city centers. Many of the condos in downtown Seattle are located within walking distance of restaurants, shops, etc.
- Amenities. Some condominium projects offer attractive amenities, such as fitness centers and gated parking. Some of the higher-end luxury condos in downtown Seattle even have on-site spas and swimming pools. It’s hard to complain about that.
Potential downside to condo ownership:
- Adjoined units. Unlike a detached home, homeowners who live in condos typically share at least one common wall with a neighbor. Some units have neighbors above, below and beside. This is all well and good if you have quiet neighbors who keep the same hours as you. But if your neighbors are noisy and/or active when you’re trying to sleep, it could become a quality-of-life issue.
- Association dues. This could be viewed as both a pro and a con. When buying a condo in Seattle, you’ll likely end up paying association dues each month. This could add hundreds of dollars to your monthly housing expense. The upside, as mentioned earlier, is that these dues could reduce or eliminate the maintenance you have to do. But it’s an added cost you have to consider.
- Rules and restrictions. When you own a home, you have more flexibility when it comes to home improvements, additions, remodeling and the like. But when you buy into a condo project, you’ll likely encounter more restrictions. Some people would view this as a disadvantage to buying a Seattle condo.
Many of these pros and cons are a matter of lifestyle. If you’re a busy urbanite who eschews property maintenance and prefers to live within walking distance of downtown attractions, a condominium might be the best option for you. If you like a little more space around you and don’t mind some occasional yardwork, you might be better off buying a detached home in an outlying neighborhood or subdivision.
Seattle Condo Market Is Stable
The Seattle condo market was hot for years, but it has settled since.The market has cooled a bit over the past 12 months compared to where it was in Seattle between 2012 to 2018,but it’s still somewhat competitive.
New condominium projects are opening in downtown Seattle, but the units are being gobbled up. That said, the condo supply has increased in Seattle, with nearly 600 condos listed for sale in the NWMLS database, reflecting a roughly 150% increase over last year. That does not include units that are in presale or are currently under construction that are not in the NWMLS.
The median sale price for condos in Seattle may increased from about $480,000 in May to $495,000 in June, but it’s actually lower than last June’s median price of $520,000. Despite annual double-digit price gains over the years, condo prices are lower than they were last year.
Forecasts for the broader Seattle metro-area housing market also suggest that a cooling trend will continue. Home prices are expected to continue declining in 2019 and into 2020.
Whether the market will cool significantly over the coming months remains to be seen. That said, buyers should be prepared to move quickly when they find the right unit.
Get Pre-Approved to Increase Your Chance for Success
When shopping for a home in a hot real estate market like Seattle, it helps to have your financing lined up ahead of time. In fact, the seller will probably ask about it up front, when you present your offer. This is true whether you’re buying a house or a condo.
This is where mortgage pre-approval comes into the picture. It’s wise for buyers to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, before entering the market (unless, of course, you’re paying cash). Pre-approval shows the seller that you’re a serious, financially qualified buyer.