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Much like the national real estate market as a whole, all signs point to a cooling market across the state of Washington. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to try to sell a home, though — and if you’re looking to buy in the Evergreen State, your purchase should prove to be a good investment. Here’s what to know about the Washington housing market, whether you’re a buyer or a seller.
Washington housing market overview
The U.S. was mostly a seller’s market throughout 2022, and Washington was no exception. Spokane, in particular, saw a 30 percent uptick in inbound moves between 2019 and 2022, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s a lot of new residents that need housing.
Home prices in the state have remained relatively stable over the past year. According to Redfin data, the median price in Washington is $571,400 as of February 2023 — a very slight 1.6 percent decrease from the same time last year. (By contrast, California saw a 6.6 percent decrease in the same time frame.) And that figure is still more than $200,000 higher than the nationwide median price of $363,000, so prices are robust to say the least.
Washington housing trends & stats
- Median home price: $571,400 per Redfin’s February 2023 data, a year-over-year decrease of 1.6 percent.
- Sale-to-list ratio: 99.0 percent, meaning only 1 percent of homes sold for less than full list price.
- Median days on market: 45, which is up from this time last year but still relatively fast.
- Inventory: 16,451 homes for sale as of February. While that’s an increase of 6.8 percent year-over-year, it still represents just a 2-month supply, which is firmly in seller’s market territory.
- Average closing costs: 2.4 percent of the home’s purchase price, according to data from ClosingCorp — making Washington one of the most expensive states for closing.
Should you buy or sell in the Washington housing market?
To a large extent, the answer to this question depends on your specific circumstances, like your current financial situation and your reason for buying or selling. Here are some things to consider.
If you’re a home seller
Patience is the name of the game for Washington sellers these days. Homes are sitting on the market for a median of 45 days — which doesn’t seem that long, but it’s a huge 33-day increase from this time last year. The seller’s market is simply not as hot as it once was, so while sellers still hold an edge, they should be open-minded and prepared to negotiate.
Moving into a more neutral market doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to sell, though. It just means you should be diligent about preparing your home to attract as many buyers as possible. It also makes it more important to work with a local real estate agent who can increase visibility of your home and help you price it right.
If you’re a homebuyer
If you want to buy in Washington, you’re in better shape now than you would have been six months ago. As markets cool, you’re more likely to be able to buy at list price, or even possibly below, and avoid a stressful bidding war.
That said, it pays to set yourself up for success. Look into how much house you can afford by crunching the numbers with Bankrate’s home-affordability calculator. You can also check how expensive the area you’re looking at is for non-housing expenses using our cost of living calculator. And get preapproved for a mortgage, so you know how much a lender is likely to approve you for. Preapproval also helps your offers stand out, as sellers will know you’re a qualified buyer.
Washington housing market predictions
Economists aren’t ruling out a recession in 2023, and if we enter one it will certainly have housing implications in Washington — especially given the huge number of tech companies and employees in the Seattle area.
However, you don’t need to brace for a housing market crash. Home prices may dip and the rate of sales may slow, but the market is simply cooling off after an unusually hot period. Experts say it’s correcting itself, not crashing.
Washington real estate should continue to be a good long-term investment, especially when you zoom out. Data from the state’s Office of Financial Management shows that home values have grown significantly over the last 25 years, even during the height of the pandemic.
Find a Washington real estate agent
There’s a lot to navigate in the Washington housing market, especially if you’re one of the millions in the super-competitive (and expensive) Seattle metro area. An experienced local real estate agent can make that journey a lot easier. Whether you want to buy your dream place or sell your house for top dollar, research and interview several candidates to find the pro who’s the best fit for your needs.
Yes, home prices here are dropping modestly, but they remain high when compared to most of the U.S. February’s median price of $571,400 was 1.6 percent less than in February of last year, according to Redfin data — however, that’s still significantly above the national median price. And in Seattle specifically, the median was down 2.9 percent year-over-year but remains a very high $755,000.
It could be, depending on your finances and long-term goals. While home prices in Washington are more affordable than last summer, they are still relatively high, as are mortgage interest rates. As the market continues to balance out, though, buying now could put you in a good position to see long-term gains.