How hot is Seattle real estate right now?
July 24, 2014 3:48 PM   Subscribe

We are considering a move to Seattle from the Bay Area. Last year we took ourselves out of the house-hunting game down here due to the crazy market here. What can we expect from Seattle?

I have been offered a job in Seattle and we are considering moving there from Silicon Valley. The big driver is we want to buy a home. We were in the market for a house in the Bay Area, but got frustrated and dejected from the houses with 20+ competing offers, all cash, no contingencies, etc. We were so close so many times and it really took an emotional toll on us.

What can we expect from Seattle? More of the same? Because if so, we are not the type of people that can handle the Go! Go !Go! of such a hot real estate market. We are looking in the Greenlake and Ballard areas. Thanks!
posted by chevyvan to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It will be much, much less that Silicon Valley in general. Moreover, there are also pretty significant splits between the four general areas that are considered the greater Seattle area -- Seattle proper (which includes Greenlake and Ballard), north end, south end (which more or less includes West Seattle) and the Eastside (Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, etc).

Greenlake and Ballard won't even hold a candle to most Silicon Valley areas with regard to Go! Go !Go!

Also, consider your commute very carefully. Despite being smaller than California cities, the traffic pinch points here can be very frustrating.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:01 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: I can only provide anecdotal information from talking to folks I know who have been trying to buy a house in Seattle (they've been looking in Green Lake, Wallingford, etc.): things are pretty hot. Houses in good shape in the $750K-$900K range are getting multiple bids, all-cash offers, and there are bidding wars going on. Our friends who are trying to buy are getting frustrated that they have enough money to compete but not enough to win. From the proliferation of 'for sale' signs it looks like there is more housing stock turnover this summer compared to last, but everything that I've heard indicates that properties are going very quickly and that prices are high.

This is partly because of the rapid growth in the city. I do concur with Cool Papa Bell that prices aren't nearly at SFO or Manhattan/Brooklyn levels, but they're pricy.
posted by scblackman at 4:30 PM on July 24, 2014

Microsoft is in the process of eliminating a quite large number of jobs. Not all of those jobs will be from the Seattle area (probably a lot will be from post-acquisition Nokia) but you might want to think about what the effect will be before plunging into the Seattle-area real-estate market. (I'm not saying don't buy, but keep an eye on price trends and available housing inventory.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:51 PM on July 24, 2014

We were in the market for a house in the Bay Area, but got frustrated and dejected from the houses with 20+ competing offers, all cash, no contingencies, etc.

Well, i can say this is happening here. Probably not as bad, but it is. This was just a news story that made the rounds,

I don't have a ton of info to add, but what you're describing sounds pretty similar to things i've heard people chatter about.
posted by emptythought at 5:51 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: Oof. Yeah, Ballard and Greenlake are really hot markets here right now. As is the Central District (which naive Seattleites also refer to as "the ghetto") and the eastside and other places that just a few years ago I heard Seattle people saying they would NEVER buy in. Here is an article about the median home sale price in various parts of the area. By the way, the house featured in that article was listed weekend before last, and within 5 days it was Pending with an offer. Yup.

Around my neighborhood I see houses go from listed to pending in as little as ONE day, with the sale finalized within a week. Meaning, people are buying in all cash, probably without inspection contingencies and probably also by having access to insider information before a house goes on the market so they can be the first to scoop it up.

I have friends who have gone through putting offers on dozens of places, offering $100k (or more) above listing IN CASH, and still being outbid here.

I have other friends who decided, come hell or high water, they are going to put up with it because they really wanted a house in , and they now have mortgages that are equal to 40% or more of their (dual-income in the tech industry) pay. Ouch.

It's insane. But, there is hope if you are willing to make some sacrifices (specifically around location, size and how move-in ready it is). There ARE parts of Seattle that don't sell as quickly because they aren't within walking distance to the new sexy restaurants and bars, or because the homes aren't the super cute Craftsman style that is popular in Capitol Hill and Greenlake, or because of "crime." For example, my husband and I are in the process of buying a place in a neighborhood I had never heard of before, called Judkins Park. We only had to compete with 1 other offer and the house was on the market for over 40 days before we found it.

posted by joan_holloway at 6:31 PM on July 24, 2014

I know some folks who just got a fairly nice little place for 400 in the CD. BUT the house has some serious quirkiness (bordering on creepiness), the last owner was quite strange and made weird demands, and it took literally years of very active and creative searching. Basically impossible to do that unless you already live in the area.
posted by miyabo at 10:19 PM on July 24, 2014

Also I'd live in Shoreline, Renton, Issaquah, or any other of the totally uncool suburbs. City living is nice but not worth endangering your long term financial stability.
posted by miyabo at 10:21 PM on July 24, 2014

Two months ago, Daughter the First sold her Renton condo in four days and got multiple offers.
posted by trinity8-director at 2:19 PM on July 25, 2014

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