Status of the Seattle Real Estate Market in 2017

After several years of hot activity, in 2017, the Seattle real estate market officially took the lead as the top market in the country. So says the influential “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” survey, issued by PWC and the Urban Land Institute, which is released annually. Seattle routinely ranks in the top ten, 2017 marked its first year in the top spot.

Demographics in Seattle

The abundance of technology jobs in the city has drawn a wide array of highly trained and educated workers, with many of them millennials. More flock there every day, with ApartmentList.com estimating them as the market with the 4th highest rate of millennial population growth between 2005-2015. However, the homeowner growth isn’t only due to millennials, with the 55 and up demo still outnumbering the younger cohort in terms of those owning homes, with the number rising significantly each year.

Average prices of housing in the Seattle Real Estate Market

While the technology sector is helping fuel real estate market growth, the downside for potential buyers is that massive foreign investment, particularly due to homebuyers from China, has caused a spike in prices. Average home prices hover around $715,000, more than half a million dollars above the national average, although that’s good news for homeowners, with property values 20% above the pre-recession peak. Rent has also spiked tremendously, with typical two bedroom apartments in the city center costing an average of $2000 a month. A big problem facing potential homeowners is the lack of available homes, with the demand outweighing the supply. Seattle real estate company Redfin ranks the city as having the third smallest amount of inventory in the country, behind Oakland and San Francisco.

Reasons for growth and outlook for 2018

The staggering growth of the Seattle real estate market is due to a variety of factors, including the fastest one-year population growth in the U.S in 2016. The U.S Census Bureau noted that over 700,000 people moved to the city in that year alone. It currently ranks as the fifth fastest growing city in the country. One of the reasons so many people are choosing to move to Seattle is thanks to its reputation as a high-tech hub. The online retail giant, Amazon, employs over 40,000 of the city’s residents, with more being hired every day, and thousands of new positions are posted every month. Another high tech giant with a major presence in the area is Microsoft, with the giant Redmond campus just east of the city and separate offices in the city center. At the same time, the Facebook-owned Oculus is expected to increase their presence in the city in a big way, with a large research and development lab in the planning stages, plus another large office in the city. Altogether, the technology industry is responsible for a quarter of a million jobs throughout Washington State, with 90% of these within the Seattle area, and this should help drive the market to new heights in 2018.