Buying a Home in Seattle in 2021: Three Things You Need to Know

July 20, 2017
Last updated:
November 24, 2021
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It’s an exciting time. You’re finally considering a home purchase in Seattle Washington, one of the Nations most popular cities. Before you go out looking for that dream home, take a moment to read these three helpful insights.

Planning to buy a home or condo in Seattle, Washington in 2021? If so, you should know the local housing market has changed considerably over the last couple of years – and it continues to evolve.

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The question is, should you buy a home in Seattle now, in the winter of 2021, or should you wait until later on in the year? What do you stand to gain or lose if you wait? What will the market be like three, six or nine months from now?

Unfortunately, no one can predict future housing conditions with complete accuracy. But there are some things you can do to make an informed decision.

Here are three important things you should know about buying a home in Seattle in 2021.

1. Seattle home prices will most likely see a moderate rise through 2021.

Seattle, Washington has recently joined some of its neighboring cities in a pricing peak, followed by a modest decline. Not long ago, Seattle was singled out as having one of the most constrained housing markets in the country.

Right now, there is a major shortage in housing inventory a lot lower compared to years past, according to the NMLS. This situation will cause ongoing buyer frustration and rising home values in the city and surrounding areas. As of this writing, there is roughly a 1-month supply of homes available in Seattle for buyers to choose from.

A balanced market is one that is characterized by 5- to 6-months’ worth of supply, which shows just how intense the inventory situation is in Seattle right now.

Related: Seattle housing forecast

A recent forecast from the real estate research team at Zillow revealed that their economists expect decent increases in prices in Seattle, WA into 2021. As of February 2021, home prices have increased 9.8% over the past 12 months, and we are expecting to see continued increases in prices throughout 2021.

The consensus among various sources seems to be that home prices in Seattle will likely continue to increase throughout 2020.

This is arguably one of the biggest considerations for those thinking about purchasing a home in Seattle in 2021, either now or later. When potential buyers weigh the pros and cons of postponing a purchase, it usually comes down to cost. Will I save money or lose money by delaying my purchase by a few months?

Mortgage rates are very low right now, making borrowing more affordable. And if prices end up rising, this makes for a very good argument to buy today rather than wait in order to save money and take advantage of price appreciation.

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2. Be ready to move quickly when the right house comes along.

The Seattle real estate market remains reasonably active. This is especially true in the most desirable areas, where buyers still compete fiercely for specific inventory.

Homes listed for sale in the Seattle continue to generate offers within a week, or even days of being listed, and sometimes receive multiple offers.

While no one can predict future housing conditions with 100% certainty, it appears likely that those who buy a home in Seattle in 2021 will want to be somewhat aggressive in price negotiations when the right property presents itself. The city is often home to bidding wars, and given today’s super-low interest rates and extremely tight inventory, going in with a strong offer is important.

In a housing market like Seattle, home buyers need to be prepared to move swiftly when the right house comes along. According to Redfin, the average home is selling in about 14 days. The market in Seattle is currently characterized as “very competitive.”

Among other things, this means having your financing lined up before you even start looking at houses.

For the majority of buyers using mortgage loans, a pre-approval letter can go a long way toward getting your offer accepted. Mortgage pre-approval can be obtained after 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 buyer’s market homeowners still expect buyers to have their financing squared away. That’s what a mortgage pre-approval letter shows them. And it’s practically the most valuable tools you have in the negotiation process.

3. Consider broadening your home search to surrounding areas.

According to recent reports, the median home value in Seattle is $804,500, according to Zillow. It’s a lot pricier than it was just a few years ago.

You are certain to find 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 have some options as to where you live, it’s certainly an something to consider.

For instance, in Tacoma, Washington, the median home value is less than half of what it is in Seattle proper at $395,946. There is something to be said for lower housing costs, even if it lengthens your daily commute.

4. Mortgage rates are expected to stay very low.

If you wait until later in 2021 to buy a house in Seattle, you’ll probably pay more than you would if you purchased earlier in the year, for reasons we’ve just discussed. That’s because home prices in the metro area are expected to continue rising through the end of this year and into next.

At the same time, mortgage rates are very low right now. As of the last week of January 2021, the mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.73%. That’s hovering near historic lows, which makes today a great time to get into the real estate market in Seattle.

It’s forecasted that rates will remain low throughout the year and stay below the 3% mark. That said, rates could go up and down slightly throughout the year. There’s no denying the incredibly low rates we are seeing right now, making today a great time for buying a home in Seattle.

So the bottom line here, based on the consensus among economists, is that Seattle-area house prices will likely continue rising through 2021, while mortgage rates will remain under 3.0%.

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Have Questions About Home Loans in Seattle?

Do you have any financial questions about your Washington State home purchase? Are you looking for some sound mortgage advice? Would you like to get pre-approved for a home loan, or request a mortgage rate quote? We can help. Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington. We have been serving the entire state since 1992, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho, providing many different mortgage programs to our clients. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions.

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