North Seattle Real Estate: a Whirlwind of Activity (and a seller’s market)

I have sincerely neglected this blog the past couple weeks, and I apologize for that.  You see, the real estate market has been going crazy, especially in north Seattle.  I haven’t taken a day off from real estate since December, and it’s only getting busier. 

In fact, according to NWMLS data, 118 houses have gone pending in north Seattle in just the past two weeks.  Out of those 118 houses, 73 of them were on the market for less than a month before selling – that’s about 62% of them.

In the past 14 days, 76 homes have been added to the market in north Seattle.  This may sound like a lot, but if you think about the fact that 118 went to pending status in that same time period, that indicates a real shortage of good housing choices coming for the summer.

This townhouse in Wedgwood was just listed at $414,000 (3 bed, 3.25 bath, 2000 sq ft)

So, why are we in such a big housing boom right now?

  1. Spring is the most common time to buy a home.  After a dormant winter, now having the holiday season over with, people are looking at moving during the spring and early summer months so that they can get settled before the fall.
  2. FHA Mortgage insurance is on the rise.  Rising mortgage insurance costs means higher monthly payments, which is going to price some first time home buyers out of the market, or at the very least allow them to afford less home.  So, first time home buyers are jumping now before it’s too late.
  3. Rental rates are on the rise. There are a ton of apartments under construction, but for those looking for immediate living situations, there aren’t actually a lot of good options in north Seattle right now.  Chances are, when new rental inventory hits the market rates will even themselves out. But for now, buying is often a cheaper option.
  4. Positive media is fueling the real estate market.  Remember when everything you saw on the news was doom and gloom?  Stories like this one from KUOW last week and today’s story from CNN Money are spreading the word that it’s a good time to buy – and people are listening.
  5. Inventory is low in most neighborhoods.  We all know that say, Green Lake for example, is a desirable neighborhood to live in.  So when one home comes on the market and ten people want to move into the neighborhood, that home is going to sell quickly (and sometimes above asking price).

 

This 3-bed, 3.25 bath Wallingford home is listed at $675,000 for 3581 sq ft.

 

For a first time, or even repeat buyer all these factors can make for a really frustrating buying process.  Here’s a few things buyers need to know before-hand to make the process a little less stressful.

  • Have your lender pre-approval or your proof of funds ready before you go house-hunting. 
  • Don’t dilly-dally.  Yes, I said dilly-dally.  If you find the home you want, there’s a good chance someone else is going to find it to.  You can no longer take a week to think about it.
  • Be patient and don’t give up.  You may end up putting offers in on two, three, four or eight different houses before you get the one you want.  Competing offers and bidding wars are back – be prepared for long negotiations and waiting periods.

As for me, I’m doing just as much business these days in “north of north Seattle” as I am in the city itself!  First time buyers are finding great deals in Shoreline, Edmonds, and SE Everett so I’m travelling a little bit further from home to help them out. 

 

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