Real Estate Guide for Those Relocating to the Seattle Area

Published:
October 20, 2022
Last updated:
October 20, 2022
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Are you planning to relocate to the Seattle metro area in the near future? Wondering what the local real estate market is like, and what it takes to buy a home? You’re in the right place.

We created this guide to give people relocating to Seattle, Washington a better sense of local housing market conditions. We’ll cover home prices, competition, affordability and more. Here are five things you should know about the Seattle-area housing market before you relocate.

  1. Affordability varies across the Seattle metro area.

If you’re planning to buy a home after relocating, you should know that prices can vary greatly from one area to the next.

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area is currently the 15th largest metro in the country, with a population just over 4 million people. It includes the three most populous counties in the state of Washington — King, Pierce and Snohomish.

Within the Seattle metro area, housing market affordability can vary quite a bit from one city to the next. When this guide was published, in the fall of 2022, the median home value in Tacoma, Washington was around $500,000. At the same time, the median list price within the city of Seattle was about $850,000. Bellevue was in the $1.5 million range.

When you drill down to individual neighborhoods and communities, the pricing spectrum becomes even more complex. The point is, if you’re relocating and plan to buy a house in the Seattle area, you could benefit from broadening your search. This will increase your chance of finding the right house at the right price.

  1. Seattle can be a competitive real estate market.

The Seattle real estate market can be highly competitive. This is true for the metro area as a whole, and especially within the city of Seattle itself. Low inventory conditions can cause home buyers to compete fiercely within one another.

While the inventory situation has improved a bit over the past year, the number of homes on the market still falls short of buyer demand. This means you’ll have to bring your ‘A’ game, when relocating and buying a home in the Seattle area. Working with an experienced agent can go a long way, as well.

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  1. There’s a diverse mix of neighborhoods.

Seattle has a neighborhood to suit just about any homeowner. Younger home buyers often prefer to live closer to the lively downtown nightlife, while families might seek out a quieter suburban setting. You’ll find all of these options and more within the Seattle real estate market.

If the downtown car-free lifestyle appeals to you, check out the Capitol Hill residential district or the Belltown neighborhood. If family-friendly neighborhoods and suburban communities are more your style, take a look at Greenwood, Magnolia and West Seattle (to name but a few).

Surrounding cities east of Lake Washington (the Eastside) like Bellevue, Bothell, Redmond, Woodinville, Issaquah, Sammamish and Renton offer a wide range of housing options as well, though inventory levels can be tight at times. A knowledgeable real estate agent can help you identify neighborhoods or communities that match your lifestyle.

  1. Homes prices exceed the national average, but…

If you’ve been doing some relocation research on the Seattle metro area, you probably already know that our home prices exceed the national average. Cities like Bellevue and Sammamish top the list, with median home values well above the $1 million threshold.

Even so, there are pockets of affordability here and there. So you can’t judge the broader metropolitan real estate market by looking at prices in places like Bellevue or Downtown Seattle.

Home buyers relocating to Seattle from other parts of the country can benefit from expanding their search box as much as possible. Zoom out enough, and you’ll find more affordable home prices and less competition.

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  1. Seattle-area homes tend to hold their value well.

We’ve talked about Seattle-area home prices being higher than the national average. At first glance, this might make some would-be buyers hesitant to make a purchase. A home is a major investment, especially in a pricey real estate market.

The good news for those planning to purchase is that homes located within the Seattle metro area tend to hold their value well over the long term. You can see this clearly in the chart provided below.

Seattle area home prices

This chart was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, based on data from the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency. It shows the house price index for the Seattle metro area, going back ten years or so.

As you can see, prices tend to either rise or level off, with very little downward activity. Supply and demand has a lot to do with this. This real estate market often experiences a shortage of supply relative to demand, which puts upward pressure on home prices.

So there you have it, a real estate guide to Seattle, Washington, for those who are relocating in from other areas. If you have any questions about mortgage financing, be sure to contact our staff. We serve the entire state of Washington and offer a broad range of loan options.

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