What’s happening in real estate? Seattle news headlines are going to be busy this year.
Can we expect more good news or are there factors at play which could dramatically change the DNA of the market. There’s still plenty of time for big moves to impact real estate and the Seattle market this year.
Here is the forecast to date, and what home buyers, sellers and investors should be keeping an eye on in the news.
Seattle Is Trending In 2020
Analysts predict Seattle is going to boast being one of the top 10 economies and property markets in the country in 2020. It’s no secret that we’ve already been on a historically long bull run. Yet, Seattle could keep stretching it if tech companies continue to do well, and investors keep flocking here instead of overheated and deflating markets in California and New York.
It’s expensive here, but far less so than other parts of the country and world. Other top cities in this year’s emerging trends rankings include Tacoma, Spokane, Portland and Boise. All suggesting the Northwest will continue to be a favorite in many ways.
The 2020 Election
Real estate and Seattle news in general is going to be drowned out by hype over the 2020 presidential election. Expect a nonstop stream of fake news, hysterical media reports, unrest, scandals, and fear mongering about what the next president will do.
Most of the emotional roller coaster may be completely unnecessary. Cast your vote, unplug as much as you can and get on with life. The biggest impacts of the election are likely to be any new taxes. Especially real estate taxes.
Still, for most individuals and families that shouldn’t change personal plans to move. You need somewhere to live. If you can get a good deal on a house in Seattle this year, take it. You probably won’t see this combination of low mortgage rates, property prices and available capital to borrow for many years.
If you’re looking for somewhere exciting and new to live in Seattle, there are a variety of new developments expected to open this year.
Hot on the heels of Nexus downtown which had condos starting at $1.2M is Koda. Also a downtown condominium project, Koda is going up at 5th and Main, and is expected to be complete this summer. Over in Bellevue, One88 is sprouting up a 21 story glass tower with prices running up to over $5M. Avenue Bellevue two towers are going up with condos and a hotel with a Michelin chef.
If you are considering buying one of these units make sure you check out our reports on buying non-warrantable condos and jumbo mortgages.
Even a year ago Seattle had more cranes in the air than Los Angeles and San Francisco combined. Overall demand for housing should theoretically be able to keep inventory levels in check. That is unless, like Manhattan, buyers reject high priced luxury condos for years.
The Federal Finance Housing Agency (FHFA) which owns 80% of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and is their regulator as well as that of the 11 federal home loan banks has been rumored to be meeting with investment bankers to pursue the biggest IPO in history. If followed through on it could be almost 10x larger than the current record holder Saudi Aramco which went public for over $20B, and rose to being the world’s most valuable company (ahead of Apple) within two
days of trading.
This move would bring up all kinds of concerns about what will drive their decisions as a public company that would need to prioritize short term revenues and quarterly earnings over long term stability.
That could be an incredibly great thing for home buyers in the short term, or a real pain.
Affordable Housing Related Regulations
The one big factor that could alter the direction of the Seattle economy and real estate market in 2020 would be more regulations heralded as help for creating affordable housing.
Conditions have become so bad in parts of California that funds, entrepreneurs, and conferences are moving out. If we unleash new taxes and regulations that scare off employers and investors we could also see an exodus that leaves a lot of empty buildings.
If recent trends continue, 2020’s Seattle real estate news is likely to include a fair amount of announcements of big companies spending billions on business property.
Big tech companies could engage in massive new HQ redesigns, take more space and get more involved in other types of real estate. Falling NYC and San Francisco markets could bring in billions in new investment capital from all
over the world. That is unless new regulations scare them somewhere else.
Mortgage interest rates are forecast to stay relatively modest. Any new decreases would be a sign of trouble in the national economy. We probably won’t see any major hikes until 2021.
Don’t be surprised if there is a mixed bag and roller coaster of real estate data in the Seattle news this year. Lagging data may show a slight hangover from the end of year festivities. Then things will heat up for peak home buying season in the summer. Fall will likely bring more softness in the market and uncertainty until after the election.