Seattle: the hottest real estate market

Seattle has never existed at the periphery of sizzling real estate factoids; on the contrary, the hub has long been included in the top 10 metro areas listed in the influential Emerging Trends in Real Estate study put out annually by PwC and the Urban Land Institute. The 2017 report placed Seattle at #4.  But the Seattle real estate market forecast for 2018 released in October places Seattle firmly in first place. Survey respondents identified Seattle as being strong across a number of factors, including demographics and liveability, cost, and technology readiness. Being the home of Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and Starbucks, to name a few, it’s no surprise that the Seattle region is a deeply appealing place to live and do business.

 

Seattle real estate market forecast: demand outstripping supply

One cannot formulate an informed Seattle real estate market forecast, however, without taking into consideration the recent migration of 90,000 people to the city during a 12-month period, the availability of great jobs, and the striking lack of available properties. These factors combined are driving home and condo prices sky high. Home prices in the region have been rising faster than San Francisco and the Bay Area, and there has been talk of a housing crash.

Demand for homes in Seattle has greatly outstripped supply, which has fuelled steep pricing increases. And prices are not expected to drop anytime soon since there’s not a lot of private undeveloped land left for builders. Supply and demand have never been as far out of balance in the Seattle area as they are right now, say some. December 2017 saw the lowest inventory level on record—dating back to 2000, and supply has been getting successively lower for several years.

A look at the numbers behind Seattle real estate market forecasts

According to the monthly Case-Shiller home price index, prices have been rising nationally since February, but no area has seen as sharp an increase as the Pacific Northwest. Prices for single-family homes in Seattle rose 13.5% in 12 months—more than twice the national average. As of August, the average single-family home in Seattle goes for about $730,000.

This 12-month surge is the largest increase Seattle housing prices have seen since 2006, amid the housing bubble. Since 2012, when the Seattle real estate market reached rock bottom, average home costs have increased 79% and are now 20% higher than their previous peak at the height of the bubble.

Brokers still offer hopeful Seattle real estate market forecast

Despite uncertainty about interest rates and taxes, brokers expect the Seattle real estate market’s momentum to continue. “While all year we’ve been bemoaning lack of inventory and escalating prices, the statistics show 2017 was a banner year in many respects for real estate in the Puget Sound region and throughout the Northwest,” stated Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain. He points to year-over-year gains both in relation to prices and values, adding “as a result of this strong market, homeowners are experiencing bountiful gains in property values.”