Seattle’s housing market is one of the most interesting in the country and has always been a bellwether for the national housing sector. Its sharp decline and subsequent rebound over the last two decades has occurred in lockstep with trends elsewhere, but Seattle is not following suit this time. The Seattle housing market has officially cooled.
New figures released by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service have shown that home prices in the King County region have slowed down and are trending downward. This is a big deal, as previous data had shown that single-family homes were increasing in price on an annual average basis. This cooling trend is likely due to recent changes to municipal policy and land use regulations, which many residents view as a step towards relief from increased property taxes and housing costs.
Seattle’s Housing Market
Seattle’s housing market is a precious one. As a significant loss leader in the rental market and a haven for the technology industry, the city has seen its residential property values skyrocket. Home Value Index Seattle has seen the fastest-growing housing prices in the country and is now at a level above $400,000. The city has doubled its population size over the last two decades. It is home to more than 650,000 residents and has become a hub for high-tech companies, such as Amazon and Microsoft, as well as other large firms and startups. The city’s population has increased rapidly over the last decade by 19.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Changes in Real Estate
Over the last few years, Seattle has seen several new changes to its housing policy, particularly in regulating development. For some time now, there has been a push by local city governments to expand urban containment regulations. This regulation is designed to make housing more attainable and discourage large-scale development in areas that aren’t working well. Rather than allowing the market to dictate where housing goes up, regulators try to guide new development into areas already seeing an influx of construction and a rise in prices.
Overall, the greater Seattle area has seen home values increase by less than 11% annually over the last twelve months. Housing cycles are integral to the economic and social structure of a city. Without some degree of price inflation, people with limited budgets can have no housing choices. So what’s interesting about Seattle’s market and other markets in its cycle is that they are trying to bring the best solution to help people afford to house.