There are several important factors you should consider before you refinance your mortgage this year, including current rates and your financial situation.
Seattle has traditionally been the higher-priced real estate market in Washington State, but there are plenty of other areas in the state that offer more affordable housing, and Olympia is one of them.
In This Article:
- Olympia: Affordable Housing Market Snapshot
- A Highly Competitive Real Estate Scene
Home prices in the Seattle metro area have risen sharply over the last few years, creating affordability issues for some buyers. Even though prices have tapered off in Seattle over the past few months, affordable housing is still an issue in this city.
But other housing markets in the state are much more affordable by comparison. And today, we’ll look at Olympia, Washington, the state capital.
Olympia: Affordable Housing Market Snapshot
Let’s start by putting “affordable” into context.
Here’s a look at the median home prices for Olympia, Seattle, and the nation as a whole, as of March 2021:
- Olympia, WA: $411,230
- Seattle, WA: $813,154
- National median: $269,039
Note: These figures were obtained by Zillow in March 2021.
From this comparison, we can see that Olympia is a more affordable housing market when compared to Seattle. The median home price in Olympia is a bit higher than the national median, but it’s miles below Seattle. So it’s a more budget-friendly option for home buyers who want to get more for their housing dollar.
The median house value in Olympia rose by around 16% from March 2020 to March 2021. These price gains mirror other real estate markets across the country. Right now, the real estate market in Olympia is very hot. Prices have increased rapidly over the past year and are expected to keep up that pace over the next 12 months. More specifically, Zillow predicts that home prices in Olympia will increase 5% over the next year into March 2021.
Related: Camas real estate market
A Highly Competitive Real Estate Scene
While home prices in Olympia are in the affordable ranges for many buyers, don’t let that fool you. The local real estate scene is still highly competitive, with buyers competing for scarce inventory. That’s the situation as of spring 2021, and those conditions are expected to persist for the foreseeable future.
Economists say that a “healthy” and balanced real estate market has somewhere around four to six months of inventory. As of March 2021, Olympia, Washington had less than a 1-month supply of homes for sale. The national average for the same timeframe was just over three months’ worth of supply, and even that is slightly below normal.
Fact box: Olympia is the capital of Washington State and home to around 51,000 people. It’s located roughly 60 miles southwest of Seattle, at the southernmost point of Puget Sound. The State of Washington is the largest employer in the area. The indigenous Coast Salish people used to refer to it as the “place of the bear” in their native language.
Homes are not spending very much time on the market before finding an interested buyer and being sold. This is indicative of a fast-moving real estate market where properties get scooped up quickly.
The take-home message is that home buyers in Olympia should start their searches early and be prepared for competition. With steady demand and scant inventory, the housing market in Olympia could create challenges for some buyers.
But with a relatively affordable price tag, compared to the state’s other major population centers, it’s still an attractive market for budget-conscious buyers.
Here’s a recap of the key points in this report:
- Compared to Seattle and the cities that surround it, Olympia is a relatively affordable housing market in Washington State.
- As of spring 2021, the median home value in Olympia ($411,230) was about half what it was in Seattle ($813,154).
- Despite its more affordable nature, the level of competition among home buyers is still high. Like most cities in Washington, Olympia is experiencing a shortage of housing supply.
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