Why Seattle Is One of the Fastest Growing Real Estate Markets in the U.S.

July 5, 2024
Last updated:
July 5, 2024
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Home buyers who are focusing on the Seattle metro area should know that it’s one of the fastest-moving real estate markets in the U.S. On average, homes listed for sale in the Seattle area tend to sell much faster than in other parts of the country.

This creates a unique set of challenges for Seattle home buyers. But for every challenge there’s a solution, and this guide will give you the knowledge you need to succeed and inform you of notable Seattle housing market trends to be aware of.

Homes in Seattle Sell Faster Than in Most U.S. Cities

Real estate market conditions can vary significantly from one city to the next. A home might stay on the market for a matter of weeks or days, depending on local supply-and-demand dynamics.

The overall speed of a housing market can be measured in a couple of ways:

Median days on market: This metric is often used in real estate reports to show the median number of days properties are listed for sale before they are sold. A lower number indicates an active housing market, while a higher number reflects a more sluggish sales pace.

Off market in two weeks: Many real estate data reports also show the percentage of property listings that are off market within two weeks. In this case, a higher percentage indicates a fast-moving housing scene where homes typically sell within days rather than weeks.

We used MLS data and other sources to compare the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area to other major metros across the U.S., focusing on the two metrics listed above.

The findings underscore the overall theme for this report:

  • The Seattle housing market had a lower median days on market than most U.S. cities.
  • It also had a higher percentage homes that went off market (sold) within two weeks.

In both of these areas, the Seattle-area real estate market stands apart from most other cities in the U.S. Home buyers should be prepared to submit an offer quickly when the right property comes along.

5 Factors That Accelerate the Local Housing Market

Local housing market conditions can be influenced by a wide range of factors. So there’s not just one thing driving the fast pace of the Seattle-area real estate scene. You might think of it as a “perfect storm” of contributing factors, which include the following:

  1. Strong Job Market: Seattle is home to major tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft and also has a burgeoning startup scene. This attracts many high-paid tech workers to the region, increasing the demand for housing and leading to quicker home sales.
  2. Limited Supply: Seattle faces a chronic housing shortage due to geographic constraints, zoning laws, and land-use regulations that restrict density. When coupled with strong demand from buyers, this shortage puts upward pressure on Seattle home prices and accelerates the sales process.
  3. Desirable Lifestyle: The Seattle area offers residents a high quality of life with natural beauty, outdoor activities, a thriving cultural scene, and excellent schools. This makes it a magnet for both local and out-of-state home buyers, further intensifying the market.
  4. Investor Activity: Over the past decade, the Seattle real estate market has seen an influx of investors seeking to capitalize on both purchase and rental demand. A Seattle real estate investment can be a lucrative addition to an investment portfolio. This adds another layer of competition to the market, as well-funded investors can move quickly to secure properties.
  5. Remote Work: An increase in the number of remote jobs, which began during COVID and continues to this day, has also brought more home buyers into the housing market.

The bottom line is that the real estate market in and around Seattle does not have enough inventory available to meet the demand from local home buyers. This results in some of the fastest sales of any U.S. city or metro area.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home

Buying a home in the Seattle area requires a deft approach. It’s not the kind of market where buyers can ponder their offers over a period of several days. You have to move quickly if you want to get ahead of competing offers.

Here are some potentially costly mistakes to avoid when house hunting in Seattle:

  1. Skipping the pre-approval. If you need to use a mortgage loan when buying a home, consider getting pre-approved before you enter the market. If you skip this step and make an offer without a pre-approval letter attached, the seller might not take you seriously.
  2. Hesitating to make an offer. In a real estate market like Seattle, taking too long to decide on making an offer could cost you. Desirable properties can receive multiple offers quickly. Delaying can mean missing out on your ideal home. You might even have to make an offer on the spot.
  3. Not preparing for bidding wars. Some home buyers underestimate the likelihood of multiple offers and don’t have a strategy for such scenarios. This lack of planning could put you in a bind if a bidding war does occur. You might either overpay or lose out to a more competitive bid. The best-case scenario is to have a plan in place ahead of time.
  4. Not working with an agent. There is no law that requires you to use an agent. But in a fast-moving housing market, home buyers need all of the help and guidance they can get. An experienced real estate agent can help you submit an offer quickly and without making costly errors, requisite skills for the Seattle real estate market.

Is a Seattle Real Estate Bubble on the Horizon?

Home prices in Seattle have certainly climbed quickly over the past few years, though the rate of increase slowed over the course of 2023. That said, prices and activity are picking up steam, leading some to wonder if the city is headed for a housing bubble.

Despite rising home prices and a shortage of inventory, there’s no sign that any bubble will burst anytime soon. The rate of home price increases is not fast enough to paint the picture of a housing bubble in Seattle. Several other factors in Seattle’s housing market news would have to be assessed that play a role in the direction that the housing market will go in, including mortgage interest rates and demand for housing.

What Will the Seattle Real Estate Market in 2024 Continue To Look Like?

Given the recent traits that the local housing market has shown over recent months, it seems that the Seattle is poised to continue on a similar trajectory throughout the remainder of 2024. Though it can be difficult to come up with an accurate Seattle real estate forecast, it’s important to understand the factors that point to a strong market. As a buyer, you’d be prudent to align yourself with a team of specialists in the real estate and mortgage realm to ensure a sound transaction.

Need Financing? We Can Help.

Sammamish Mortgage can help you gear up for house hunting by pre-approving you for a loan. Our skilled staff and efficient business model will give you an extra edge. Contact us to get a mortgage rate in Seattle, ask us any financing questions, or start the application process!

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