What’s happening in the Seattle housing market this summer?

How is the summer different in Seattle? Is this year going to be any different to others? Is this a good time to buy a home in Seattle, list for sale or refinance your mortgage?

How The Changing Seasons Impact The Seattle Housing Market

One of the big gotchas in real estate is how the market changes with the seasons. Most people move so infrequently they may not notice. Yet, experienced Seattle mortgage professionals, Realtors and investors know this very well. Investors in particular are well positioned to use this knowledge to their own advantage.

Spring is mostly about springing back from the dark days of winter. The market starts to thaw out with the weather. Tax refund season can put some extra pep in the step of Realtors as home buyers start showing up again, and homeowners start calling about when the best time is to list their homes for sale.

In the late spring we start to see a rise in the inventory of homes for sale as everyone preps for peak season.

Summer is peak home buying season. Homes look nicer, the weather is better to get out and see them, buyers are in a happier emotional estate when touring homes, and properties can be better inspected without the snow. This is crunch time when households with kids need to move in between the school year. They only have a few weeks to find somewhere, get closed, get accepted into new schools and sell and move out of their old places.

After back to school, things quiet down. It’s back to work. Buyer activity dries up. Sellers and their real estate agents get nervous and know they’ve missed their moment. There is more room to negotiate and prices typically soften for a month or two.

Winter can be hit or miss. If there is a big demand for homes as Christmas presents the market can do well. If companies are making their numbers the market can be flush with end of year bonus money. There can be a small flurry of closings for tax reasons before the new year rolls around.

Macro Cycles Impacting The Seattle Housing Market

In addition to the seasonal cycles affecting the Seattle real estate market there are larger cycles always in play too.

There are macro economic cycles affecting businesses, the national economy, jobs, financial markets and housing. These typically run in seven to 15 year periods.

In 2020 we are also contending with the presidential election. It’s an emotional and nerve racking time for many people. There is a lot of media hype and a lot of fake news. Many people are scared to do much of anything financially until after the votes are counted and they see what the new president actually starts acting on during their first 100 days in office.

This is going to make this an extra interesting year in the Seattle housing market. It may prove to be extra frustrating to some who aren’t getting the results they expected. Others will be moving ahead of the herd to take advantage of opportunities while everyone else is distracted.

Competition, Competition

Traditionally this is the time of year when we see the most competition among house sellers and house buyers.

Many people wait to try and time the market and list for the summer season. This can be somewhat counterproductive as many of their neighbors are doing the same thing.

Home buyers are also going to run into extra competition. Once school is out for summer, this is going to heat up even more. Not just with local competition, but with all those visiting while the weather is better and considering moving here.

What To Prepare For As A Home Buyer

More competition from other home buyers who have been waiting all year for this moment means you have to be prepared if you are going to be successful.

This includes:

Getting pre-qualified for a home loan early

Having cash ready for any deposit and down payment you need to make

Being equipped with a loan pre-approval letter from a trusted Seattle mortgage broker

Expecting to pay more for homes with air conditioning

Choosing a great local Realtor who others like, trust and respect

Writing a strong cover letter to accompany your purchase offer

Being ready to make an offer immediately when you find a house that works for you

With all the extra activity in the market, appraisers, title companies and home inspectors can be backed up and may take weeks longer to close. Be sure to give yourself enough time in your contract.

If the Seattle housing market still feels a little pricey, then ask your Seattle mortgage broker about low and no down payment home loans, as well as down payment assistance programs. You may also want to look out to the suburbs for better prices on larger homes.

If you are looking to invest in real estate, then this summer can be a great time to do it. Use the good weather to do your renovations and boost curb appeal for house flips. Take advantage of all the movers to secure great new tenants. Buy in the best school districts to get the most attention.

Sell Or Refinance

This can be a good time to sell a home. Especially if you can beat the competition to the market.

However, if you can’t sell, then you may need to refinance in order to be able to afford to juggle two mortgages or to lower your housing costs. The catch is that most lenders won’t allow you to refinance if your home is actively listed for sale or has been in the last six months. So, you can put out a yard sign, just don’t list it online if you think you may need to refinance.

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.