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Buying a Home in Washington State in 2019 and 2020: Here’s What You Should Know

Summary: If you’re a homebuyer looking to make a home purchase in Washington State in 2019, 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.

Do you plan to buy a home in Washington State in 2019 or 2020? 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 2019 and 2020.

1. Mortgage rates will stay low into 2020.

Home buyers who purchase a home in Washington State in 2019 or 2020 will likely be able to take advantage of lower mortgage rates compared to buyers who bought in 2018 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 3.64% after the highest one-week surge in almost a year over the last week of September 2019.  So we are going into 2020 with lower rates across the board. This will be a good thing for anyone buying a home in Washington State in 2019 or 2020.

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 2019 and 2020, and are still rising.

In nearly every city in Washington State, home prices rose steadily during 2018 and 2019. Certain markets have been particularly hot over the past few months, including Tacoma and Federal Way, while traditionally-hot markets like Seattle have cooled over the same time period.  Affordability continues to be a concern for anyone buying a home in Washington State in 2019 or 2020.

Earlier this year, a report by the real estate research company Zillow showed that home prices in Washington have risen 4.8% over the past year, painting the picture of a hot market. So those who buy a home in 2019 and 2020 will encounter higher housing costs than those who purchased in the past.

As of September 27, 2019, the median home price for Washington State was $391,000. In Seattle, the median value for homes is $713,100, though this number has actually fallen from the same time last year.

And prices aren’t done rising yet. The economic researchers at Zillow expect home prices across the state to rise by another 2.8% in 2020.

View Washington State Mortgage Rates Jan, 28, Tue, 2020

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 will happen next year. Federal housing officials recently announced they will raise the maximum loan limits for conventional, FHA and VA loans. This will apply to anyone buying a home in Washington State in 2020, as the change takes effect in January.

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 many parts of the state.

Having said that, inventory is rising steadily in certain markets, including Seattle. While Seattle’s housing inventory is still well below what would be considered a balanced market, the housing supply is still rising slowly nonetheless.

If you’re planning to buy a home in Washington State in 2019 or 2020, 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.

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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 for over 25 years, and we’d love to help you too. Please contact us today to get started. Last Updated: [last-modified]

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