Planning to buy a home or condo in Seattle, Washington in 2018? If so, you should know that the local housing market has changed considerably over the last couple of years – and it continues to evolve. Here are three things you should know about buying a home in Seattle in 2018.
1. Seattle home prices will probably continue to rise into 2018.
Seattle, Washington was recently singled out as having one of the most constrained housing markets in the country. Inventory is in short supply right now, and this comes at a time when demand is steady.
In short, there aren’t enough homes available for sale to satisfy the current level of demand. This has boosted Seattle home prices significantly over the last years, and it’s a trend that is expected to continue into 2018.
A recent forecast from the real estate research team at Zillow revealed that their economists expect steadily rising home values over the coming months. In July 2017, they predicted that the median house price for Seattle would rise by around 7.3% over the next 12 months. (This would follow double-digit price gains from the previous two years.)
Predictions and forecasts from other sources reinforce this outlook. The general consensus seems to be that home prices in Seattle will likely continue rising through the end of 2017 and into 2018. While the annual growth might be smaller than what we saw over the last couple of years, house values in the area are still expected to outpace the national average.
This is arguably one of the biggest considerations for those thinking about buying a home in Seattle in 2018. When people are weighing the pros and cons of postponing a purchase, it usually comes down to the cost factor. Will I save money or lose money by delaying my purchase by a few months?
While no one can predict future housing conditions with 100% certainty, it appears likely that those who buy a home in Seattle in 2018 will encounter higher housing costs.
2. Be ready to move quickly when the right house comes along.
Because of the current supply and demand situation, the Seattle real estate market is very active. This is especially true in the most desirable areas, where buyers often compete fiercely for limited inventory.
Homes listed for sale in the Seattle area tend to start generating offers within days of being listed, and sometimes receive multiple offers the very first day.
In a fast-moving housing market like Seattle, home buyers need to be prepared to move swiftly when the right house comes along. Among other things, this means having your financing lined up before you even start looking at houses.
For the vast majority of buyers who use mortgage loans, a pre-approval letter can go a long way toward getting your offer accepted. Mortgage pre-approval is when a mortgage company reviews your financial situation to determine how much money you’re able to borrow. Think of it as a kind of financial pre-screening process.
In a sellers’ market like Seattle, homeowners expect buyers to have their financing squared away. That’s what a mortgage pre-approval letter shows them. It’s practically a necessity in a hot market.
3. Consider broadening your home search to surrounding areas.
According to recent reports, the median home value in Seattle has risen above $700,000 (when you exclude condos). It’s a lot pricier than it was just a few years ago.
But you could get more house for your money just by expanding your search to surrounding areas. We have written about this in the past, providing a list of relatively affordable cities in the greater Seattle metro area.
Granted, some people don’t have the flexibility to live in these “bedroom communities.” But if you do have some flexibility as to where you live, it’s certainly an option to consider.
For instance, in Tacoma, Washington, the median home value is less than half of what it is in Seattle proper (though they’re expected to keep rising). There is something to be said for lower housing costs, even if it does lengthen your daily commute.