Buying a House in the Seattle Area in 2017: Three Things to Know

Are you thinking of buying a house in the Seattle metro area in 2017? Do you have questions about current real estate trends and conditions. Then you’re in the right place! This article offers three important points that every home buyer should know.

What to Know When Buying a House in the Seattle Area

Home prices are still rising in the Seattle metro area, following a year of double-digit gains. Competition among home buyers remains high due to limited inventory. Those are just two of the things you should know when buying a house in the Seattle area in 2017. Here’s an in-depth look.

1. Home prices are slowing, but still outpacing the national average.

Home prices in the Seattle metro area have risen significantly over the last few years. In fact, the real estate analysts at Zillow recently reported that the median home value for the metro area rose 11.6% during the last 12 months alone. The median price is now around $426,000 for the metro area, and north of $640,000 for the city of Seattle.

Double-digit price gains are abnormal, and they’re generally not sustainable over a long period of time. Perhaps that’s why the economic research team at Zillow is predicting smaller gains over the next year. In May 2017, they estimated that home values in the Seattle metro area would rise by 4.8% over the next 12 months (compared to 11.6% over the previous 12 months).

So we are seeing a return to normalcy, in terms of annual home-price appreciation.

The bottom line: If you’re buying a house in the Seattle metro area in 2017, you should know that home prices are still rising. They might be slowing down a bit, and that’s probably a good thing. But they’re expected to continue moving north over the coming months, likely outpacing the national average for annual home-price appreciation.

2. Home buyer competition remains high, due to limited inventory.

While home prices in the Seattle metro area might be cooling, the real estate market itself is still very hot. This is largely the result of limited inventory. There are plenty of buyers in the market right now, due to population growth and job market improvements. But there aren’t enough homes for sale to satisfy demand.

Those buying a house in the Seattle metro area in 2017 will face stiff competition from other buyers.

Earlier this year we cited a report from Trulia that showed housing market inventory in Seattle (defined as the number of homes for sale) had declined by a whopping 66% over the last five years.

This trend is most noticeable in the Seattle area, but it’s also occurring in other parts of the state. For instance, the Spokesman-Review recently reported that the inventory of homes in Spokane, Washington dropped 28% in March 2017, compared to a year earlier. “For buyers, that means about 500 fewer homes on the market at the start of the busy residential real estate season,” they reported.

Inventory in Seattle was down 21% in March, compared to a year ago.

The bottom line: Buyers who are planning on buying a house in the Seattle area in 2017 should be prepared for competition. This means having your financing lined up before you enter the market, and making a strong and timely offer when the right property comes along.

3. You’ll get more for your money outside of Seattle proper.

Home prices within the city of Seattle are higher now than they’ve ever been before. If you exclude condos, and just look at “regular” single-family homes, the median price point is near $700,000. That’s cost-prohibitive for a lot of folks who want to buy a house in the Seattle area in 2017.

The good news is that real estate prices drop considerably as you move outside of Seattle into the surrounding areas. So if you don’t mind a longer commute, or you have the flexibility to work wherever you want, consider buying in one of those areas.

Home prices in the metro area cover a pretty broad spectrum. There’s something for almost any budget, if you look in the right place. So don’t limit yourself.

For more on this, check out our guide to affordable housing markets near Seattle.

Mortgage questions? Do you plan on buying a house in the Seattle area in 2017? Need a mortgage loan to make it happen? We can help. Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington. We offer highly competitive rates on a variety of loan products. Contact us with any mortgage-related questions you have.