The best way to answer your question is to give you some statistics, because demand, prices, and "movement" vary by neighborhood. The most important statistic to look at is the "absorption rate". For properties above $1 Million, in King County, where Seattle is located, the November absorption rate is 6.8%. That is a low absorption rate, which means that prices could continue to decline in that $1 Million plus niche. Bottom line, is this is the best time to move up to a more expensive home.
At my website, http://www.karenmcknight.com
, you can see Seattle area Market Statistics if you click on the Market Statistics button on the left.
Under $700,000 there is more movement. In suburban Bellevue and Newcastle, for example, the average year to date price for November, 2010, is around $650,000. In Bellevue, that is a 32% increase from 2009 and in Newcastle, that is a 1% decrease. In Central Seattle the year to date average price as of November, 2010 is $685,714 and that is a 12% increase. In Seattle proper, the average price is $467,282 and that is a 3% increase from 2009.
As of November, 2010, Seattle has a 6% increase in number of sales, so that indicates movement. These facts by themselves, however, are not very helpful, because it is important to know what you are wanting to accomplish and on what area of Seattle you are focusing.
For example, if you are moving from San Francisco to Seattle, what you want to look at is where each market is going. I think San Francisco is fairly strong. I know that Seattle is, in various studies and depending on the perspective of the study, ranked in the top five, or ten, or one for recovery. So, if you are buying in Seattle, it would be smart to buy now while prices and interest rates are relatively low.
With the low prices and low interest rates, single family homes are the most affordable they have been in a generation. What is more important to watch than prices, is interest rates. With the mortgage bond market weakening and with rates at historic lows, interest rates are certain to go up. I can send you some charts that demontrate this if you'd like. Just know that a 1% increase in interest rates nullifies a 10% price reduction.
Historically, the Seattle economy follows the airline industry. Boeing is doing well right now and commercial plane orders through 2010 increased. So, the most important facts to consider are, what are your personal goals. You make money on your "buy" in real estate. Seattle has gotten more diversified with medical research and software technology over the last 20+ years and those two industires are booming, along with import and export which are a big part of the Washington, and Seattle economy.
In Seattle proper, the average price has increased 3% from January to November in 2010. Prices vary by neighborhood. In some Seattle are cities, the average price decreased as much as 30% and in some it increased as much 13%. Over all , in the Seattle metropolitan area the average price increased 3%.
I know this is a random smattering of facts, so if you want a more targeted answer for your specific situation, I'd be happy to visit with you, or you can feel free to email me.