Seattle Housing Market Predictions for 2018

Nov 27, 2017

What a year! In 2017, Seattle saw a full year as America’s hottest housing market. In fact, this year’s local real estate market seems like an elevator that only goes up with no perception of the top floor.

Now that 2018 is nearly here, it’s time to look back and review this year to determine what we can expect moving forward. If it’s anything like the last 12 months, we could be in for even more housing cost growth, more projects for builders, and a continued imbalance of supply and demand for homes.

What we expect to see in our Seattle housing market predictions includes more affordable housing, a slow-down in home price increases, and a continued lack of inventory.

Affordable Housing & Entry-Level Homes

According to The Seattle Times, the current average median price for a home in Seattle is $725,000 (as of October 31st, 2017). Assuming a homebuyer has an excellent credit score puts down 20%, the down payment is easily $145,000. That’s even before all the other closing costs.

With home prices so high, the supply of affordable houses in the Seattle area is running very low. In fact, as of the end of October, there were only five condos for sale in downtown Seattle for under $500,000. These were all small one-bedrooms.

Related Article: The Pros and Cons of Upzoning in Seattle

Fortunately, the city of Seattle is reviewing zoning laws and the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) is stepping in. This means, there may be a growing focus on affordable and entry-level housing within urban villages in 2018 and beyond. These zoning changes are designed to put an emphasis on developers. They must either build more affordable housing or donate to a fund that goes towards manufacturing them.

Click here to read more about how rezoning boosts affordable housing in Seattle.

Growing Home Prices

In the last year alone, Seattle has topped the nation in home-price growth at 13.2% at the end of October as compared to one year before. Although some people speculate that Seattle’s rising housing costs are a sign of a housing bubble about to pop, economists such as Matthew Gardner believe that the market should hold firm.

According to a recent Zillow survey of over 100 housing experts, the U.S. housing market is expected to increase by another 4.1% in next year. This is a tad slower than 2017’s current 6.9% growth. This could be good news for Seattle; although our home prices will continue to grow, it likely won’t be as incredible as we’ve seen in 2017.

Lack of Inventory

As housing costs soar, the question becomes: why are homes getting so expensive? The answer to that lies primarily in the lack of housing inventory in the city, which, according to Seattle Bubble, currently sits at 1.07 months (as of October 31st). The lack of inventory we’re seeing today will continue to be, in large part, the driver for Seattle’s real estate market in 2018.

Related Article: What Seattle’s Hot Housing Market Means for Homeowners in 2018

The answer to why there are not enough homes on the market can be found in Forbes’ recent article, Why Seattle Real Estate Will Maintain Its Hot Streak, which concludes these reasons for the lack of inventory:

  1. Seattle’s population growth (it’s growing faster than any other U.S. city)
  2. There are lots of employment opportunities (especially in tech)
  3. International investors are very interested in the market (particularly from China)
  4. Seattle’s art & entertainment scene (including The Seattle Art Fair and Upstream Music Festival)
  5. Seattle’s economic growth has been sustained and is trending to continue that way

At the end of the day, our focus is to help Seattle’s continued growth in a way that keeps our community at the top of mind. Because we’ve grown up in the Seattle area, we are keen on ensuring its growth fosters an environment that fits our unique spirit while also allowing for sustainable growth to continue.

We’re a local family-owned investment firm dedicated to helping move Seattle forward. We help Seattle residents move on by providing straightforward, all-cash offers and flexible closes on homes and providing local builders with opportunities. If you’re a builder or investor looking to get involved with us, contact us today to see how we can collaborate together.

Disclaimer: Beachworks LLC has not conducted any formal research and all points are speculation based on our first-hand experience in the market and hot topics discussed by industry professionals.