What’s happening with the Seattle housing market in 2020?

Is this a good year to buy or
refinance a home in Seattle? How has the market changed? What should you expect? What’s coming next?

Seattle Housing Market Temperature

While few Realtors might agree, Zillow says the Seattle housing market has turned in favor of home buyers since September 2018. Housing prices have cooled off over the past year. This may be a combination of temporary over supply, unrealistically high asking prices, and simply the market hitting a new plateau.

For now, many have found home prices just to unaffordable.


Especially, if they haven’t connected with the best mortgage broker to find low down payment loan options. The 2020 presidential election is likely to keep interest rates and house prices constrained for the first half of the year. However, over the long term house prices have only proven to rise. Interest rates have historically been much higher. It’s a buyers’ market. Take advantage of it while you can.

Seattle House Values

Zillow puts the average Seattle house value at $718,500 in the final quarter of 2019. That’s down almost 3% from 2018. Or over a 20% discount for home buyers in 2020.

We may see a new small lift in the data as home buyers pushed to close deals for tax purposes before the new year. Then we could see continued softness until it becomes more obvious who is going to win the presidential election. Those not planning on selling their home this year should consider refinancing mortgages. One to take advantage of low interest rates. Secondly to do it while values are high and they’ll qualify for better mortgage deals.

Seattle Home Listings

Asking prices of homes listed for sale now average just $699,000. That’s still a pretty strong $512 per square foot. The median price of homes that have actually sold is just $687,500.

As of September 1st 2019, Seattle homes were still selling at a swift pace, with an average of only 55 days on the market. As of November 2019, over 20% of home sellers were cutting their asking prices. This suggests strong demand and competition among buyers, even though they are pushing back against overpriced listings.

Seattle Housing Trends

Seattle’s many neighborhoods offer a wide range of housing choices. There are properties available from under $400k to over $9M. The extreme surge in housing prices in recent years has also created more interest and movers to Seattle’s suburbs. Prices are up in those communities as well. Though they may still offer far more house for the money if you are okay with the commute. This spread of choices gives home buyers many architectural options, including:

● Brand new condominium buildings
● Modern townhouses
● Historic homes ripe for restoring
● Farmhouses
● Expansive estates on the water
● Classic Queen Anne style homes

Renting In Seattle

Renting is not cheap in Seattle. On average monthly rents are around $2,639. It’s not going to get too much cheaper, no matter where you look. Though you can certainly opt to pay a lot more.

On the bright side Zillow data says if you plan to stay in Seattle for at least two years it can be cheaper to buy a home. That’s also good for the many real estate investors out there looking for income producing properties.

Popular Seattle Neighborhoods & Communities

Downtown Seattle’s softening housing prices may lure some back to the city center. Those not hung up on the hustle and bustle of the city may still increasingly look to the area’s quieter neighborhoods and for the value to be found in Seattle’s suburbs.

Some of these areas expected to be popular with home buyers this year include:

● East Queen Anne
● Capitol Hill
● Redmond
● Maple Valley

Seattle Housing Market Health

Overall Seattle’s housing market still seems to be in good health. A strong local economy, employment and notable employers are expected to continue to help retain stability. While house prices may have slowed, properties that are priced right still seem to be selling quickly, at under 60 days on the market. It may be a red flag that Zillow hasn’t updated its data on local foreclosures and negative equity rates since the summer of 2018. Yet, the numbers they have published suggest Seattle’s mortgage delinquency rates are just a fifth of the national average. Homes with negative equity are also less than half the national average.

The Seattle Housing Market Outlook For 2020 to 2021

So, what’s ahead for the local housing market over the next year or two? A lot could change depending on the next presidential election and exactly what new laws, controls and taxes are actually implemented by the new president.

Looking at the big picture, we can expect
Seattle to remain one of the most popular places to move and start tech businesses. That will keep up rents and house prices over the long term. 2020 and the uncertainty leading up to the election presents some unique opportunities. If you own a home speak to a trusted mortgage adviser and find out the financial benefits of refinancing your mortgage. If you are in the market to buy a home, this is a great year to do it. Interest rates should remain low for the next few months, unless the fed makes any extreme reversal in policy.

Mortgage companies should continue to be flush with money to loan.
It’s going to be hard to match this combination of factors for home buyers again in most of our lifetimes.

About the Author

Helping Seattleites buy their dream homes for over 15 years. Founder of Seattle's Mortgage Broker and author of Homeownership Simplified: The Truth about ZERO Down.