Summary: Are you planning to buy a home in Washington State sometime during 2020? If so, you’ll want to keep reading. This home buying report provides an in-depth look at real estate market trends across the state of Washington. It is fully updated for 2020 with all of the latest data.
A home purchase is likely the biggest financial investment you will ever make. Given this fact, you’ll want to do some research into the Washington real estate market if you are planning to buy in 2020.
Washington Home Buying Trends for 2020
Historically low mortgage rates, rising home prices, and limited inventory. Those are the trends we’ve been watching over the last few months, and sharing here on our blog.
Mortgage rates have been gradually and steadily decreasing in recent months. Home prices in Washington have continued to climb as well. In fact, Washington State’s housing market is considered very hot right now, with huge demand and limited inventory driving prices north. There’s still a shortage of homes for sale, relative to the demand from buyers.
These are the most important trends that will affect Washington State home buyers in 2020 — and possibly beyond. Here’s what you should know about them.
Mortgage Rates Hit a Three-Year Low in February 2020
Fixed-rate mortgage rates declined to their lowest levels in 3 years just recently in the first week of February 2020 when they dipped to 3.45%. A year ago, rates were 4.41%. The 30-year fixed rate is getting close to its all-time low of 3.31% from 2012. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan is expected to stay under 4.0% throughout 2020.
Home buyers in Washington who are “on the fence” about making a purchase might want to consider doing it sooner rather than later. If house values continue to increase, buyers who delay their purchases would encounter higher housing costs down the road. And considergng how low rates are tight now, homebuyers can take advantage of more affordable mortgages.
Home Buyer Demand Remains Strong in Washington
You might expect demand among home buyers in Washington to ease up a bit, in response to rising prices. But that’s not happening. Demand continues to remain high in real estate markets across the country, and in Washington State specifically.
In Washington State, home buyers are still very active within the real estate market. In fact, our state is home to one of the most historically competitive real estate markets in the country — Seattle. Even though Seattle has seen a relatively cool market over the past year, it has been a hot one over previous years, and things are expected to pick up the pace over the next year. According to Zillow, average home prices in Seattle are expected to increase 4.2% over the next year.
Inventory Still Tight, With Fewer Listings
Tight inventory conditions persist in real estate markets across Washington, as we move further into 2020. There are more buyers in the market than there are homes for sale. This leads to increased competition and multiple-offer scenarios.
The real estate market in the Seattle area is beginning 2020 with incredibly low levels of inventory. And with prices expected to rise coupled with more affordable mortgages thanks to low interest rates, it’s expected that Seattle’s market will be competitive this year.
In overall King County, the number of active number of listings in January 2020 was 2,118, which is a far cry from 3,688 listings back in January 2019. Right now, there is just 1.3 months’ worth of inventory in King County, which is much lower than the 5- or 6-months supply that characterizes a balanced market. As such, buyers have fewer homes to choose from, making it a more competitive market.
In fact, most major cities across the state are well below what’s considered to be a normal or “balanced” housing market. And inventory will likely remain tight well into 2020.
Based on these conditions, it’s no surprise that housing analysts and economists are predicting a continued rise in home prices across Washington State. Home buyers will want to prepare early, and be ready to move quickly when the right property comes alone.
According to the Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the monthly inventory of homes has been below six months for the last few years.
Need a Mortgage in Washington State?
Will you need mortgage financing to buy a home in Washington State in 2020? Sammamish Mortgage can help. We offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and tools with flexible qualification criteria. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region that includes Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho. Please contact us today with any financing-related questions you have.