Seattle Times Talks Crazy Emerald City Market Trends and the Condo Imbalance

In a recent article on Seattle Times, Mike Rosenberg sat down with Reddit to discuss what’s happening with “Seattle’s sizzling-hot housing market,” from rent hikes and growing home prices, to the condo imbalance and the influence of the tech industry.

Rosenberg admits he is most frequently asked about the stability of the market in Seattle, and says the 13-percent growth rate we’ve seen in the last year has “to moderate at some point” but that it’s key to recognize that the factors present during the recession simply don’t exist in Seattle: “people are paying mortgages on time” and “putting down big down payments,” not to mention the impact the ever-growing tech industry is having on the region’s economy. “Amazon alone is enough to make the city’s economy among the strongest in the country,” he added.

Of Seattle’s growing pains, Rosenberg describes the need for more upzoning to “add more housing, and different types of it (townhomes, apartments, condos, etc)” and highlights the city’s continued struggle with traffic, saying that in future years, “adding more regional transit will be a big deal” because “we’re lacking compared to other cities.”

Another issue Rosenberg touches on is Seattle’s lack of new condominiums. Echoing sentiments recently expressed by Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, Rosenberg says that nearly all of the new construction inventory delivering in Seattle in our current decade is for-rent. Rosenberg says one reason for all the apartments is that “banks issue construction loans for apartments because the rent keeps rising and they keep making a lot of money” and Washington’s stringent condominium liability legislation means “a lot of builders don’t want that hassle/risk.”

A recent RSIR report reveals that in September 2017, the median home price for in-city resale condominiums increased a staggering 35-percent year-over-year in downtown Seattle, indicative of the city’s continued struggle with population growth, rising real estate prices for renters and buyers, and a supply and demand imbalance with little relief in sight.

Some would-be buyers are combating Seattle’s frenzied market by securing condos through presales.