Summary: Buying a house in Seattle is a huge financial undertaking, so you’ll want to determine whether or not you can afford a home in the city based on your financial situation. This article will help you decide if buying a home in Seattle in 2020 is financially possible for you.
“Can I afford to buy a home in Seattle right now?” With house values having risen across the Seattle metropolitan area, this is a very common question among home buyers.
Here’s an updated look at housing costs, mortgage rates, and other factors that will determine whether or not you can afford to buy a house in Seattle 2020?
Can You Afford to Buy a Home in Seattle?
In July 2020, Seattle’s medium home value is $767,906, according to the real estate information company Zillow. The median home value for the Seattle metro area has gone up 2.2% over the past year.
Due to the current health crisis, it’s difficult to predict where home prices in Seattle will go over the next few months. But it seems that the housing market in Seattle and across the nation is strengthening, so there’s little reason to doubt that prices could rise over the next year. Only time will tell.
That said, home prices are a primary consideration for those who want to know if they can afford to buy a home in Seattle.
Related: Seattle housing forecast
Relatively Affordable Markets in the Area
Anyone thinking about buying a home in Seattle in 2020 should consider some of the surrounding areas as well. Earlier, we talked about the big gap between the median home value for the city of Seattle, and for the broader metro area. There are relative bargains to be found once you move away from the city itself.
For example, the median home price in Everett, Washington was around $453,027 in July 2020. That’s a lot lower than the median house value within the city of Seattle. So, home buyers clearly have a lot more buying power in these more affordable markets.
Minimizing Your Down-Payment Expense
For a lot of would-be home buyers in the Seattle area, the down payment represents a major financial hurdle. But it might just be a perceived hurdle.
In fact, there are some widespread misconceptions regarding down payment requirements for home buyers. Surveys conducted by Realtor.com and other groups have shown that many people think they have to make a down payment of 20% or more when buying a home. But that’s inaccurate.
In truth, down payments can be as low as 3% for conventional home loans, and 3.5% for FHA-insured mortgage loans. Additionally, the VA program for military members and veterans offers 100% financing. (Learn more about your down payment options.)
A down payment gift from a family member or other approved donor could also help you afford to buy a home in Seattle. This is where a third-party contributor gives you money to help cover your down payment and/or closing costs. These days, a lot of different mortgage programs allow gifts. We’ve covered this topic before, and you can read more about it here.
On the Mortgage Rate Front, Some Good News
Mortgage rates are another important consideration for many home buyers in the Seattle area, since most of them use mortgage financing to complete their purchases. And on this front, we have some good news to deliver.
Unlike the steadily rising home prices in Seattle, mortgage rates have been steadily declining over the last few months. In fact, average rates have hit all-time lows three times in the last few weeks.
On August 24, 2017, Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan dropped (again) to land at 3.86%. At the beginning of 2017, the average rate for a 30-year loan was 4.20%. Today, the rate is 3.08%, So borrowing costs have clearly declined a great deal since the start of the year.
Looking forward, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts that rates will remain low through the end of this year. More specifically, rates will stay under the 4% mark throughout 2020, and may even dip under the 3% mark at some point if things keep going the way they have been over the past few weeks.
But it’s those house values that home buyers really need to pay attention to. This is primarily what will determine whether or not you can afford to buy a home in Seattle. And those who postpone their buying plans until later this year or in 2021 will likely encounter higher housing costs.
Get a Mortgage Payment Estimate
Having an estimate of your monthly housing payments will help you determine if you can afford to buy a home in Seattle. And we can help. Sammamish Mortgage is a family-owned mortgage company based in Bellevue, Washington. We have been offering mortgage programs to borrowers in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho since 1992. We can give you a mortgage rate quote along with an estimate of your monthly housing payments. Please contact our staff to get started!