What’s In Store for Seattle in 2016?

Each year I take a look back on the Seattle real estate market and consider what is coming up in the months to come. Here is a snapshot of my 2016 predictions for Seattle’s real estate market:

PRICES: December’s data is not yet available, but median residential home prices in Seattle have risen 13.1% over 2015. That is a significant increase! I don’t expect 2016 to have an increase quite so strong, but I do expect there to continue to be a more moderate increase since we are starting from a higher spot. Housing inventory will continue to be a challenge and a driver in our market, especially as jobs at Amazon, Google, and other tech industries continue to grow and fill the office space available. Although there are new projects and housing available, it will continue to get consumed quickly. Therefore, I predict Seattle home and condo prices to rise between 8- 10% over the next year.  They rose from 2012 to 2013: 11.2% and 2013 to 2014: 7.4%.

AFFORDABILITY: I do expect this will be a very hot topic in 2016 especially in Seattle. The areas around South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, and Belltown will see the highest demand. These are already areas where rent – and prices – are soaring, and the people who are moving in for work may be priced out. First time homebuyers will be priced out of many of these areas (as well as renters if rent increases faster than wages). Therefore, they may be looking in neighborhoods just outside of there (such as Ballard, Greenlake, Leschi, etc) and look to mass transit.

INVENTORY: There were 1,133 homes and condos available for sale last November. This year there were only 739 – a 34.8% decline. The average days on market for a home or condo sold October-December of 2014 was 34. That has declined to 22 in October-December of 2015. There are a number of condo developments on the horizon for 2016, but we need more to house the number of people coming into the area.

According to Seattle.gov, 2010’s population estimate was 608,660 and the population estimate for 2015 is 662,400. This means that within the last five years, we needed to house 53,740 additional people. That is 10,748 per year or 207 people per week. No wonder we have an inventory challenge! The job market is going to continue to be strong in 2016 and more workers will be on the hunt for housing!

ADUs and DADUs: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Tiny Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs) are separate living spaces within a house or on the same property as an existing house which are legally permitted. Mayor Murray put forth his aggressive Housing Affordability and Livability (HALA) plan this past year to create 50,000 housing units over the next ten years. Increasing the number of ADUs and DADUs are on the HALA report for 2016 and I predict that we will see many ADU and DADU units built on lots to increase urban density. These are also referred to as cottage housing, small duplexes, and backyard cottages. There may be an opportunity for you to build an ADU or DADU in your own backyard! You can find out more information on ADUs and DADUs and the HALA report here:

INTEREST RATES: The Federal Reserve decided to raise the short term interest rates at their December meeting, which will undoubtedly cause mortgage interest rates to rise over the coming year, perhaps as much as to 5.5%. Although this will affect how much home a buyer can afford, I don’t expect it will diminish demand significantly.

If you would like to learn more about what is in store for 2016 and how what is happening with the real estate market affects your real estate investment, please give me a call or text: (206) 226-5300 or email: sold@windermere.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *