Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

Tracy, Other/Just Looking in Seattle, WA

Is the housing market in Seattle favorable to buyers right now? How about in 6 months?

Asked by Tracy, Seattle, WA Fri Jul 13, 2007

Is there a difference in the house/condo market?
I am particularly looking within the city limits, probably on the northside of the city (Ballard, Fremont, Green Lake, Roosevelt, etc.)

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I'm gonna say there's a pretty significant difference in terms of supply and demand. There's two measurements I look at, the number of new listings coming on the market, and the number of homes that sell (specifically the number of homes that go Pending). I define a seller's market when the number of new listings cannot keep pace with the number of homes being sold...demand is higher than supply. Vice versa, a buyer's market is when the number of homes being sold is far less than the number of new listings.

Since 6/1/07 for single family homes (condo numbers later)
In King County as a whole
New Listings: SFR 4321
Pending Sales: SFR 2074
...new homes coming on the market is more than twice the number of homes going off the market.

Homes with a Seattle address:
New Listings: 1150
Pending Sales: 663
...not as indicative as King county in general, but still far more new homes coming on the market than going off the market

Area 710 defined to be "North Seattle"
New Listings: 150
Pending Sales: 115

Area 705 defined to be "Ballard/Greenlake"
New listings: 211
Pending Sales: 158

So you see for single family homes everywhere there is more inventory than demand since June 1. I can't readily generate the numbers for previous months, but supply is clearly greater than demand right now. Does this mean it's a bona fide Buyer's Market right now? I wouldn't say that's totally true for specific neighborhoods such as the ones you listed. However, the trend market wide (king and snohomish county) is definitely toward a buyer's market for single family homes based on the numbers.

For Condos...same setup
King County as a whole
New LIstings: 1341
Pending Sales: 792

Seattle Address:
New Listings: 598
Pending Sales: 310

Area 710 (north seattle)
New Listings: 49
Pending Sales: 19

Area 705 (ballard/greenlake)
New listings: 88
Pending Sales: 50

For condos....the same trend is happening, depending on area it's a bit better or a bit worse. Area 705, the ratio of new listings to pending sales is worse than single family, as well as in the Seattle Address category and area 710. King County as a whole the ratio is better than Single-family, but new listings still out pace pending sales.

So... based on the numbers (for a limited period of time though) ...there is much, much more supply than demand...and if this trend continues for the next few months, ....then i'd be pretty comfortable in saying it's a buyer's market. Right now, ...based on only barely a month and a half's numbers...I'm not gonna proclaim it to be a buyer's market, ...but there sure are significant signs that we're trending that way.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
Depnds what you want. For fixers, usually 10/15 to 1/3 is best. For remodeled homes, there is no weak time, if they are priced right. New townhomes just seem to keep getting more expensive, if they are in a good location away from traffic noise.

What kind of purchase? Condo? Needs work? Turnkey? Granite Counters and pristine condition? Each have their own tip toward favoring sellers or buyers, and different market times for best value.

One mistake people make in those specific areas is picking the wrong location to "save", which is not a good way to make a smart investment choice. Many flippers got caught with their pants down that way ,by sinking a ton of money into the wrong location. Just because it's Green Lake, doesn't mean everything sells equally with that "tag
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
Hi Tracy,
We really can't rate Seattle as a Buyer's or Seller's market. The real answer is "it depends". The only way to really know is to have a Realtor check market absorption rates for the 1)The Neighborhood you are interested in, and 2) The price point you qualify for. In any given neighborhood the "market" can range from favoring Buyers, neutral, to favoring Sellers depending on the specific price range. Generally speaking, the market is still favoring Sellers in most neighborhoods in the lower price ranges.

i've referenced a web article about market absorption rates.

Greg Perry, Eastside Realtor
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
The market is showing signs of softening in both the single family home and condo sectors. However, Seattle's real estate environment is made up of micro markets with neighborhoods exhibiting different market characteristics.

Compared to other parts of the city, the Ballard, Wallingford, Fremont, Greenwood and Green Lake areas remain a relatively strong market. In respects to Ballard & Greenwood, those neighborhoods still provide affordable housing opportunities in the city, though, prices continue to rise.

The trend does show increasing inventory and fluctuating pricing levels. In some areas, median prices are beginning to plateau, though still reflecting a premium over the prior year. I believe the softening market will continue, though I don't foresee a price reversal. As for waiting another six months, one thing to factor is that interest rates are trending upwards and some reports predict rates could reach 7% by the end of the year. As interest rates increase, buying power decreases.

As for a difference between the house/condo market in Seattle, the primary difference is affordability. Prices for single family homes have skyrocketed and are out of reach for many, so condos and townhomes have filled the void. However, most new condo developments are focusing on higher-end homes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2007
There is not much difference in the housing/condo market as far as supply and demand. The only real difference is the monthly homeowners dues associated with condos, sometimes quite steep. As far as the Seattle market being favorable to buyers right now...we are still not into what is classified as a "buyers market". A lot depends on the price range that you are looking at. In certain price ranges, for instance, anything under $600,000 in the neighborhoods that you are looking at I do not anticipate any slow downs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2007
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