Seattle housing market: Everything you need to know
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
Home to the iconic Space Needle and Pike Place Market, as well as corporate giants like Amazon and Starbucks, Seattle is a major metropolitan city. It’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, with a high cost of living and high home prices to match. Despite the price tags, the city continues to attract a constant stream of new residents: The city’s population has been increasing steadily since at least the 1950s, according to United Nations data. Whether you’re thinking about buying a home in the area or selling one, here’s what to know about the Seattle housing market.
Seattle housing market overview
The highly competitive market conditions that were common across the country over the past two years are starting to ease, but even on a slight decline, the Seattle market is still very hot. According to Redfin data, homes here are still receiving an average of three offers and selling in around two weeks. And even with a 13.4 percent decrease year-over-year, the median home price here is more than double the national median.
Seattle housing trends and stats
- Housing prices in Seattle have been declining. However, they are still quite high: The median sale price is $769,000, according to Redfin, which is actually a decrease of 13.4 percent from the same time last year.
- Homes typically sell in an average of just 16 days.
- About 25 percent fewer homes were sold compared to the prior year.
- During the same timeframe, the sale-to-list ratio for Seattle homes was about 100.1 percent — even selling at full price, that represents a decrease of 6.4 percent year-over-year.
- Closing costs in the state of Washington are on the high side, averaging about 2.4 percent of a home’s sale price, according to data from ClosingCorp.
Should you buy or sell in the Seattle housing market?
While the decision to buy or sell a home is often influenced by a variety of personal goals and needs, it’s also important to consider the current local market conditions in your city — and even in your specific neighborhood — when making such a significant financial decision.
If you’re a home seller
While declining prices have brought some previously sidelined buyers back to the market, real estate in Seattle continues to favor sellers. And competition will only increase as the spring/summer selling season gets underway.
At the same time, inventory is not as plentiful as you might expect — another point in favor of sellers. While there are more homes on the Seattle market now than a year ago, listings are down 40 percent compared to pre-pandemic years. So if you’re looking to sell your Seattle home, you’re probably in good shape.
If you’re a homebuyer
However, if you’re in the market to purchase a home in Seattle, it’s not all bad news. While mortgage rates remain stubbornly high, which negatively impacts affordability, housing prices in the city have been declining. Pretty significantly, actually — they’re down more than 13 percent since this time last year, per Redfin, which certainly works in your favor as a buyer.
If you’re ready to start house-hunting, it’s a good idea to get preapproved for a mortgage first. Knowing how much a lender is likely to loan you gives you a better understanding of how much house you can afford and what your shopping budget should be.
Seattle housing market predictions
According to a January report from the investment bank Goldman Sachs, Seattle home prices are expected to continue dropping in 2023, and even into 2024. The city was number six on its list of markets where it predicts prices will fall the most significantly, with an estimate of a 10 percent or more decline. Most cities on the list are in the West or Southwest, which saw rapid growth over the past few years, including Austin, San Diego and Phoenix.
Many other real estate experts predict price declines as well — but not enough to constitute the kind of housing market crash we saw in 2008.
Find a Seattle real estate agent
Having a professional real estate agent by your side when you’re buying or selling a home is always a good idea, and especially so during complex or rapidly changing market conditions. An experienced local agent who knows the Seattle market well can help you effectively assess the landscape, establish or negotiate prices and close a deal. When you’re looking for an agent, consult with friends, family members and work colleagues for a recommendation. Better yet, ask your neighbors — local comps are crucial in real estate, and the better an agent knows your specific area, the more expertise they’ll be able to provide.
Yes. Home prices in Seattle have declined more than 13 percent since this time last year, according to Redfin data. However, despite the drop, prices here remain quite high — Seattle’s median price is still more than double the national median.
The decision to buy a home in a particular area is often highly personal and based on your employment situation, family needs and other factors. Seattle is a great place to live, with a diverse range of employers and a high quality of life, and while home prices here are high, they are coming down, making it slightly more affordable. With the population rising and so many major corporations and tech companies based here, real estate in Seattle seems to be a sound investment.