Analysts expect to see significant changes this April with the US economy, inflation, and mortgage rates.
If you’re a homebuyer looking to make a home purchase in Washington State in 2021, there are a few things you should know first before you take the leap. This article will go over some important things all homebuyers in Washington should know.
In This Article:
- Mortgage rates will stay low into 2021
- Home prices rose steadily in 2020, and are still rising
- Loan limits have gone up, in response to rising home values
- Competition among buyers will remain high
- Buyers should enter the market with their financing lined up
Do you plan to buy a home in Washington State in 2021? If so, you’ll want to bring yourself up to speed on current real estate conditions. Because a lot has changed over the last couple of years. Here are five things you should know before buying a home in Washington State in 2021.
1. Mortgage rates will stay low into 2021.
Home buyers who purchase a home in Washington State in 2021 will likely be able to take advantage of lower mortgage rates compared to buyers who bought in 2020 and even earlier this year. Over the last few months, mortgage rates have been on a steady decline.
According to the weekly market survey conducted by Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan declined to 2.97% as of the last week of February 2021. So we are continuing into 2021 with lower rates across the board. This will be a good thing for anyone buying a home in Washington State in 2021.
Side note: Sammamish Mortgage offers highly competitive rates on a variety of mortgage loan products. Contact us today for a free quote.
2. Home prices rose steadily in 2020, and are still rising.
In nearly every city in Washington State, home prices rose steadily during 2020. Certain markets have been particularly hot over the past few months, including Seattle, Tacoma and Federal Way. Seattle’s home prices are expected to continue rising this year. Affordability continues to be a concern for anyone buying a home in Washington State in 2021.
Earlier this year, a report by the real estate research company Zillow showed that home prices in Washington have risen 12.7% over the past year, painting the picture of a hot market. So those who buy a home in 2021 will encounter higher housing costs than those who purchased in the past.
As of March 2021, the median home price for Washington State was $470,304. In Seattle, the median value for homes is $813,154, though this number has actually fallen from the same time last year.
And prices in Washington State aren’t done rising yet. It’s expected that home prices will continue rising in Washington State throughout 2021.
3. Loan limits have gone up, in response to rising home values.
Rising home prices often lead to higher loan limits, and that’s exactly what has happened this year. Federal housing officials announced near the end of 2020 that they have increased the maximum loan limits for conventional, FHA and VA loans for 2021. This will apply to anyone buying a home in Washington State in 2021, as the change have taken effect as of January 1, 2021.
Loan limits vary by county. You can view limits for every county in Washington State on this page of our website. (Note that there are links at the top of the page for FHA, VA and conventional.)
4. Competition among buyers will remain high.
Washington State attracts residents from elsewhere in the country, and for a variety of reasons. This increases demand for housing on both the rental and purchase side. But at the same time, there is currently limited inventory in most parts of the state. In Seattle, for instance, there is just over a 1-month supply of single family homes available for buyers.
A balanced market is characterized by around 5- or 6-months supply of homes, so you can see how tight the inventory currently is in centers like Seattle.
If you’re planning to buy a home in Washington State in 2021, be prepared for some competition. Anything you can do to make yourself more competitive is worth the effort. And that brings us to item #5…
5. Buyers should enter the market with their financing lined up.
It’s important to have your financing squared away, before making an offer on a home. This will increase your chance for success. If you’re making an all-cash offer, the sellers will probably want to see proof that you have the funds in the bank. If you’re using a mortgage loan, most sellers will want to see a pre-approval letter from a lender.
Related: Seattle home buyer survival guide
Pre-approval is when you work with a mortgage company before finding a home, to determine how much you’re able to borrow. This helps you in several ways. Once you’ve been pre-approved for a certain amount, you’ll be able to focus your shopping efforts within that price range. Additionally, sellers will be more inclined to accept your offer. Pre-approval is a good place to start, when buying a home in Washington State.
Need a Home Loan?
If you’re in the market to buy a home in Washington State, Sammamish Mortgage is available to help. We offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and tools with flexible qualification criteria. We’ve been helping buyers obtain the mortgages they need in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Idaho since 1992, and we’d love to help you too. Please contact us today to get started.