The Seattle housing market is heating up. But is it hot enough to melt the Seattle Freeze? According to a press release issued today, Seattle beat out 50 other American housing markets to earn the number one spot on Auction.com’s Top Single-Family Housing Markets Report for Fall 2015.
The site bases its rankings on “rising home prices, favorable affordability and strong housing demand, combined with strong economic and demographic conditions that point to future demand.” Seattle’s single-family market is rapidly expanding. Seasonally adjusted home prices have surpassed the previous record high set in 2007, according to Auction.com.
With the expansion of tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook in the Seattle metro area, employment growth in the information sector has reached an all-time high (nearly 95,000) with 2.8 percent year-over-year growth as of July. The new jobs are attracting new residents. Affluent residents.
According to Auction.com, prices jumped 4.4 percent over the last quarter and 10.9 percent year-over-year. Home sales grew 12.6 percent from a year ago, but remain below their prior peak. Seattle single-family housing is still in the “affordable” range despite the run up in prices, according to the site’s Research’s Housing Affordability Index.
“High demand has pushed affordability down from its 2012 peak levels, and closer to unaffordable territory than all but eight of our top 50 covered metro areas, with an index reading of 125.2,” writes Auction.com in a September 2015 article.
The median sale price of a single-family home in Seattle in September was $571,000, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. In King County, it was $490,250.
Affordable housing is a hot button issue in Seattle. On September 1st, 2015, after contentious negotiations with developers, Mayor Ed Murray introduced new legislation to make Seattle housing affordable. The legislation is referred to as the “Grand Bargain” between affordable housing advocates and real estate developers. The plan originally included a single-family zoning initiative, but that part of the bargain was revoked after it came under intense public criticism.
As the temperature of the Seattle housing market continues to rise, will locals warm up to the influx of newcomers? Probably not. But we’re still number one.