A Changing Market: Why 2023 Is a Good Time to Buy in Seattle

February 10, 2023
Last updated:
February 10, 2023
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A number of reports published during the first part of 2023 have shown there are fewer home buyers seeking properties in the Seattle Metro area. At first glance it would appear that the housing market is continuing its slowdown; however, those reports are from the end of 2022.

Early signs from the beginning of 2023 all point to buyer activity ramping back up. New preapproval applications have move significantly higher since November and December. While there has been a temporary increase in properties available for those planning it looks like that trend may not last as the market shifts from a buyers’ market back to a more neutral market. With that said we are still well off the overheated market we saw from mid-2020 to mid-2022

The current market gives buyers a brief window to find a suitable property within their budgets. In short, the first part of 2023 could be a very good time to buy a home, especially for those who’ve been frustrated by competitive market conditions over the past couple of years.

Seattle Home Buyers Can Benefit from Reduced Demand

Last week, Realtor.com published a housing market report with data for the nation’s 50 largest metro areas. They singled out the Seattle area, in particular, for having a significant reduction in the number of “out-of-market” house hunters.

In this context, we are talking about people who currently don’t live in Seattle but are shopping for a home there. This might be people from elsewhere in Washington, or from other states across the country. The short version is that there are a lot fewer of these people shopping for homes in the Seattle real estate market today, when compared to a year ago.

To quote the realtor.com report:

“Markets that saw the greatest decline in out-of-market home shoppers were Austin, Texas; Seattle; Knoxville, Tenn.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Ogden, Utah.”

This is good news for those who are planning to buy a home in the Seattle area later in 2023. With fewer house hunters “flooding in” from other areas, local buyers should encounter less competition and a more relaxed house-hunting process.

Again, it’s important to note that these stats are from late last year and the trend has shifted as more and more buyers come back into the market with rates off their highest levels.

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Big Increase in the Number of Active Real Estate Listings

The January 2023 Realtor.com report also showed that Seattle has experienced a major increase in the number of homes listed for sale. In fact, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area was one of the top metros in the country when it comes to inventory growth.

Over the past year or so, the total number of active real estate listings for the Seattle metro area increased by about 181%. To put it differently, the number of homes on the market nearly tripled over the past year.

Again, that’s based on listing data provided by Realtor.com, which is one of the largest property listing websites in the country. So, this gives us a pretty good idea as to what’s happened within the Seattle real estate market, in late 2022.

All of these trends bode well for home buyers who are planning to enter the real estate market in 2023. With signs pointing that we may have already passed the bottom of the market likely will be a good time to buy before prices start moving higher albeit at a more moderate pace.

Price Growth Has Leveled Off

During 2021 and much of 2022, home prices across the Seattle metro area skyrocketed like never before. We’ve written about this in the past, and you’ve probably heard plenty of it in the news. So, we don’t need to revisit the reasons for this surge in prices.

But things have changed a lot over the past six months or so. The median home price in and around Seattle, Washington has actually dipped over the past few months. Prices peaked at around $967,000 in May 2022. Since then, the median value trended downward to around $913,000 as of January 2023.

This will likely be a short-term decline. We know by looking at historical price trends for the Seattle area that home values hold up well over the long term.

This is another reason why 2023 could be a very good time to buy a house in the Seattle area. Prices have come down a bit from their pandemic-fueled peak. This in turn has increased affordability, while also taking some of the pressure off of buyers.

Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide if now is the right time to buy a house. But from a market perspective, 2023 is shaping up to be a good year to buy a home in the Seattle area.

Buyers who enter the market over the coming months could have more properties to choose from, while encountering less competition from out-of-state house hunters. They might also be able to save money on a purchase, due to the recent (and likely short-term) dip in house values.

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Need a Mortgage Loan to Finance Your Purchase?

Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington. We serve home buyers and homeowners all across the state. We offer a broad range of mortgage programs, including some with very flexible qualification criteria.

If you’re planning to buy a home in the Seattle area in 2023, and you need mortgage financing to make that happen, please contact our staff. We can review your current financial situation and let you know how much you might be able to borrow. We can also provide you with a pre-approval letter to make you more competitive in the market.

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