Any aspiring homeowner in Seattle knows that finding a house for sale is becoming a Herculean task, and one nearly impossible when trying to find a home that’s affordable. A laundry list of possible culprits has emerged: Amazon, Californians braving the rain, foreign buyers, or large developers purchasing old properties. However, the real culprit, industry experts claim, is that there are no houses for sale.
According to a recent report from realtor.com and explored in The Seattle Times, though Seattle only has the 15th largest housing market in the country, it has the second lowest number of houses for sale. Only 0.4 percent, or 1 of every 263, Seattle homes are for sale, and those usually sell within fifteen days, driving up prices. Now, the only market more competitive in the country is San Francisco’s.
Even unlivable homes don’t last long on the market. A small Seattle house recently received 41 offers and sold for $427,000. The catch? Due to toxic mold and collapsing floors, it was declared too dangerous to enter, but was still scooped up within ten days of being listed.
It’s easy to understand why Seattle home owners aren’t putting their property up for sale, even though values have skyrocketed 60% in the last 50 years: they don’t want to have to find another place to live. The concern over not being able to find another affordable property is evident in how King County had its lowest number of homes for sale ever this December. Six years ago, 7,400 homes were for sale. Now, it’s 1,600, most in the suburbs.
A problem possibly bigger than the lack of availability is what is available. Of the Seattle houses available early in mid-January, only 81 were under $500,000, and only 260 were under one million. To start to reduce the disparity between supply and demand, the city will have to undergo a shift, but how that will be accomplished remains to be seen.
At Juniper Capital, we share local real estate news to help you stay informed and achieve success. We specialize in private money lending for real estate in Bellevue, Seattle, and throughout the Northwest. Along with commercial real estate loans, we provide investment-level residential property loans and construction loans.
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