Buy or Rent in 2021
With high Seattle rent in 2021, a lot of renters in the area are now eying homeownership as a possible alternative.
And here’s an important point to consider: Home buyers who use fixed-rate mortgage loans to buy a house can enjoy a monthly payment that never goes up. The same cannot be said for renting a house or apartment.
Would you be better off buying a home in Seattle with a fixed-rate loan, or continuing to rent? Here’s some information to help you decide.
Seattle-area rents are still very high, even though they have been fluctuating up and down over the past couple of years. According to recent data, Seattle rents currently average $2,193 as of January 2021.
And it’s not just in Seattle proper. High rents are a common trend across the entire metro area. In January of 2021, Zillow showed that the Seattle – acomaBellevue Metro area had an average rent of $1,621. Both rent levels are very high relative to other parts of the state of Washington and the country
New construction should bring additional rental units onto the market over the coming months, but probably not enough to calm rents in the Seattle area.
It’s a market reality: Rental prices will likely continue to remain high and even rise, on a yearover-basis, for the foreseeable future.
High rents have prompted many Seattle-area renters to explore the possibility of homeownership. There are a lot of variables to look at when considering whether you should rent or buy a home. Monthly costs are one of the most obvious factors.
But here’s something a lot of renters don’t consider. When you buy a home using a mortgage loan, you have the ability to “fix” your monthly housing payments so that they stay the same. This can be done by using a fixed-rate mortgage loan.
A fixed-rate mortgage loan is exactly what it sounds like. It is a home loan with an interest rate that remains fixed — or unchanging — for as long as you keep it. For example, the 30 – year fixed mortgage carries the same interest rate for the full 30-year repayment and amortization period. Unless, of course, the homeowner sells or refinances the home before then, in which case the original loan is replaced with a new one.
A distinction should be made here: Some home loans have an interest rate that can change over time, usually once per year. These are known as adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs. But a fixed mortgage lives up to its name, keeping the same interest rate for the full repayment term.
Of course, there are pros and cons to all types of home loans. But if you’d like to combine the joys of homeownership with a monthly housing payment that stays the same, consider using a long-term fixed-rate mortgage.
Recent housing market trends and forecasts for Seattle suggest that the market will heat up throughout 2021. Home prices dipped from mid-2018 to mid-2019, but prices are now back on the upswing. Buyers who get in early can avoid paying more for a home in the near future if this price appreciation trend continues.
Seattle has one of the tightest housing markets in the country as far as inventory is concerned. According to a recent Redfin report, Seattle is one of the “most inventory-constrained metro [areas], as measured by months of supply.”
As of January 2021 Seattle’s housing market has barely a 1-month supply of available homes for sale to meet demand. And the case is similar across the entire King County.
Projections indicate that inventory will continue to be a prominent factor in the Seattle housing market in future years, making homebuying in Seattle very competitive for buyers.
Despite the dip in home prices in Seattle over the recent past, the market is showing signs of heating up and prices are back on the upswing. it appears that the Seattle area is projected to see an increase in median home values in 2021. For instance, according to projections from Zillow, median home values in Seattle are estimated to increase by 11.1% over the next 12 months. This prediction was made in January 2021 and extends into early 2022.
By comparison, the company projected a 10.3% increase in home values nationwide during that same period.
Due to the high level of competition in the Seattle housing market, local real estate agents are advising home buyers to be open-minded and realistic. Home buyers might not be able to check all of the boxes on their wish lists, particularly at the lower end of the pricing spectrum where competition is highest.
Instead, buyers in Seattle would be wise to focus on one or two criteria that are most important to them — like the commute time, or the number of bedrooms — and be willing to compromise on everything else.
Millennials in Seattle and across the U.S. are accounting for an ever-increasing share of the mortgage market, and many of them are using FHA – nsured home loans to buy a house. This is based on a recent report from Ellie Mae, a mortgage industry software company.
According to a recent Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker™ report, millennials showed a marked preference for conventional loans. Conventional loans accounted for 74% of all loans closed by this demographic.
FHA loans, however, still remain attractive to millennial borrowers. Home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration accounted for 21% of all closed loans recently closed.
FHA loans certainly aren’t the only financing option available to millennial home buyers in the Seattle area. But they are one of the most popular options. The report cited above is evidence of this. The FHA loan program has been around since the 1930s, and it offers several distinct benefits for borrowers.
Low down payment: Seattle-area home buyers who use an FHA loan can make a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value, whichever is less. Conventional mortgage loans sometimes require larger down payments. This makes the FHA program appealing to Seattle millennials with limited funds saved for a down payment.
Assumable: Millennials tend to move and relocate more often than older Americans. As a result, these younger buyers are often concerned about resale potential. Having an FHA loan could actually work to your advantage down the road, if you decide to sell your home. These mortgage loans are assumable, which means the buyer can take over the homeowner’s mortgage payments. This is a plus when trying to market and sell a home.
Flexible criteria: FHA loans can be a bit more “forgiving” when compared to other mortgage programs. Borrowers with relatively low credit scores and/or shorter credit histories tend to have an easier time getting approved for the FHA program. And it shows statistically: according to the Ellie Mae report cited above, the average FICO score for conventional loans was 732, for VA loans it was 707, and for FHA loans it was 651.*
* Note: You don’t necessarily need a credit score of 670 to qualify for an FHA loan. The numbers above are just averages across all closed loans. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, borrowers with a credit score of 580 or higher can qualify for the 3.5% down payment on an FHA loan.
Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of corporate strategy for Ellie Mae, pointed to some of these benefits in the company’s recent report. “It is not surprising to see millennial borrowers leverage FHA loans,” he said, “because they typically offer lower down payments and lower average FICO score requirements than conventional loans.”
If you do plan to buy your first home in Seattle in 2021, you probably have a lot of questions about the real estate market, the home buying process, and related topics.
An entire book could be written on buying a first home in Seattle. In fact, we’ve written one. Today, however, we will keep it short and sweet. This guide delivers five of the most important tips for Seattle first-time home buyers in 2021. These are things you should know and do before you start shopping for a home.
In a competitive real estate market like Seattle, where inventory is tight, you might not get everything you want. So it’s important to be realistic, flexible and open-minded. If a particular home meets most of your needs, and it falls within your budget, it’s a candidate!
With rent and housing prices very high in Seattle, and with mortgage rates very low right now, 2021 looks like a good time to invest in homeownership.
Disclaimer: This ebook contains real estate trends and housing predictions for Seattle, Washington. These statements and projections were made by third parties not associated with our company. We have compiled them here as a service to our blog readers.
Get pre-approved today: Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned mortgage company based in Bellevue, Washington. We have been helping borrowers in the Seattle metro area for more than two decades, and we can help you as well.
Please contact our staff if you’d like to get pre-approved for a loan, or if you just have mortgage-related questions.
Updated at 2021-06-22
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The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) requires us to disclose categories of Personal Information we collect and how we use it, the categories of sources from whom we collect Personal Information, and the third parties with whom we share it, which we have explained above. We are also required to communicate information about rights California residents have under California law. You may exercise the following rights:
If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you. If you would like to exercise any of these rights, please contact us. For more information about these rights, please contact us. Request to Not Sell for California Residents You may submit a request to us to not sell your Personal Information, which will be effective for 12 months [add url to specific website called “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” that allows consumers to opt out of the sale of personal information
California Information Sharing Disclosure
California Civil Code Sections 1798.115(c), 1798.130(a)(5)(c), 1798.130(c), and 1798.140 indicate that organizations should disclose whether the following categories of personal information are collected, transferred for “valuable consideration,” or transferred for an organization’s “business purpose” (as those terms are defined under California law). The table below indicates the categories of personal information we collect and transfer in a variety of contexts. Please note that because this list is comprehensive, it may refer to types of information that we collect and share about people other than yourself, for instance for those people that utilize our Rates and Money website.
|Category of Personal Information||Is information collected by us?||Is information transferred for valuable consideration?||Is information trasferred for business purposes?|
|Audio, electronic, visual, thermal, olfactory, or similar information||☐||☐||☐|
|Bank account number||☑||☐||☑|
|Commercial information (e.g., products or services purchased, or other purchasing or consuming histories or tendencies)||☐||☐||☐|
|Credit card number||☑||☐||☑|
|Debit card number||☑||☐||☑|
|Driver's License Number/ State ID||☑||☐||☑|
|Electronic network activity (e.g., browsing history)||☑||☐||☑|
|Health insurance information||☐||☐||☐|
|Identifiers (e.g., name or alias)||☑||☑||☑|
|Insurance Policy Number||☐||☐||☐|
|Online identifier (e.g., IP address)||☑||☐||☑|
|Other financial information||☑||☑||☑|
|Social Security Number||☑||☐||☑|
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Updates to this Agreement
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Applicable Law and Venue.
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We may share your information with third parties when you use the Rates and Money website to request a rate, quote, service, approval, or information from those third parties (a “Request”).
IF YOU SUBMIT A REQUEST, THIRD-PARTY PROVIDERS MAY CONTACT YOU DIRECTLY WITH QUOTES VIA MAIL, TELEPHONE, TEXT MESSAGE, FAX, EMAIL, AND OTHER MEANS OF COMMUNICATION. YOU MAY RECEIVE TELEMARKETING CALLS AS A CONSEQUENCE OF SUBMITTING A REQUEST THROUGH OUR SERVICES, EVEN IF YOU ARE ON THE NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY OR ANY OTHER DO NOT CALL REGISTRY.
By submitting a Request, you are expressly consenting to the third party conducting any research necessary to provide you with information about your Request. Third parties may need to share your information to conduct such research to provide information that may assist in determining eligibility for credit card offers.
If you do not want third parties to conduct necessary research to provide you with a quote for your Request, then you should not submit a Request.
Sammamish Mortgage is not responsible for any content, code or any other imprecision.
Sammamish Mortgage does not provide warranties or guarantees.
Sammamish Mortgage is a distributor and not a publisher of the content supplied by third parties; as such, Sammamish Mortgage exercises no editorial control over such content and makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy, reliability or currency of any information, content, service or merchandise provided through or accessible via the Sammamish Mortgage Service. Without limiting the foregoing, Sammamish Mortgage specifically disclaims all warranties and representations in any content transmitted on or in connection with the Sammamish Mortgage Services or on sites that may appear as links on the Sammamish Mortgage Service, or in the products provided as a part of, or otherwise in connection with, the Sammamish Mortgage Services, including without limitation any warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or non-infringement of third party rights. No oral advice or written information given by Sammamish Mortgage or any of its affiliates, employees, officers, directors, agents, or the like will create a warranty. Price and availability information is subject to change without notice. Without limiting the foregoing, Sammamish Mortgage does not warrant that the Sammamish Mortgage Services will be uninterrupted, uncorrupted, timely, or error-free.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Email: [email protected]
Phone Number: (425) 401-8787
This Link: https://www.sammamishmortgage.com/
This Address: 3055 112th Ave NE Suite 203 Bellevue, WA 98004