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We are already in 2021, and more and more buyers are coming out of the wood works around now. Spring is just around the corner, which often marks one of the busiest times of the year for real estate markets. If you’re planning to buy a home in the Seattle Metro Area in 2021, this article will fill you in on the details to help ensure a successful transaction.
We are still early in 2021, but many prospective home buyers in the Seattle area have begun to ask that perennial question: Would it be better to buy a house or condo in Seattle now, or should I wait until later on in the year? Which would be the best time to buy?
Given current trends within the local real estate market, it might be better to jump in sooner rather than later. Here’s why.
Mortgage rates have been on a steady decline over the past year, and they are expected to stay low throughout 2021. As of February 2021, the mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.73%, which is near historic lows. This makes mortgages much more affordable, making now a great time to lock in a low rate to realize major savings in interest over the life of your loan.
But home prices in the Seattle metro area have been increasing and are expected to increase even more throughout the year.
According to the latest real estate reports from Zillow, the median home price in Seattle is now around $804,500. That’s within the city itself. Across the broader metro area, relative bargains can be found.
In nearby Tacoma, for example, the median home value was closer to $395,946 as of February 2021. So there’s quite a bit of variance in terms of house prices.
(Hint: You can think of Seattle proper as the “nucleus” for higher home prices, with values dropping off substantially as you move into the surrounding areas.)
Despite these regional differences in house values, all real estate markets in the Seattle metro area have one thing in common. Prices are predicted to continue rising over the coming months, and as we move further into 2021.
Related: Outlook for the Tacoma market
Getting back to the question at hand. Should you buy a home in the Seattle metro area soon, or wait until next year?
If you’re sure you want to buy, a strong argument could be made for doing it sooner rather than later. House values are projected to continue climbing, partly due to the lack of inventory in the area. So a postponed home purchase might mean that you’ll end up paying more for that house.
For instance, the median home value for the Seattle metropolitan area rose by around 9.8% over the last 12 months, according to Zillow. And they expect more increases over the coming months, especially as inventory continues to be tight, which is a major driving factor of home price appreciation.
Granted that’s just one forecast. But when you look at the current supply-and-demand situation in the area, it’s plausible to suggest that home values would continue to rise.
There’s another reason to start your home search sooner rather than later. It might take a while, due to the shortage of housing inventory across the Seattle metro area. As of February, there was barely a one-month supply of homes for sale in most cities in the area. That’s well below what is considered to be a “balanced” market.
There are a variety of factors causing this supply shortage. They range from sluggish construction to homeowners being reluctant to sell (despite the profit potential). These and other factors contribute to the ongoing supply shortage that’s affecting the Seattle metro area real estate market.
The house hunting process can take longer, as a result of these trends. So if you plan to buy a home in the Seattle area in 2021, now is the time to start searching.
Current conditions also underscore the importance of being pre-approved for a mortgage loan. This is practically a necessity in a real estate market like Seattle. It will allow you to conduct a more focused and efficient home search, based on a specific price range. Pre-approval also shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer.
Will you need mortgage financing to buy a home in Seattle? We can help. Sammamish Mortgage has been serving buyers across the Pacific Northwest since 1992, including Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho. We offer a wide variety of mortgage programs with flexible qualification criteria. Please contact us today with any financing-related questions you have.
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