Tech Buyer Frenzy: Why Seattle Home Prices Aren’t Falling
Housing Prices in Seattle Are High – Very High
You may already have heard that the Seattle housing market has been going wild for some time now. With a shortage of housing inspectors, decreased interest from the foreign market, and a rate increase we haven’t seen since 2006, the Seattle market is currently the real estate equivalent of the Wild West.
Recently titled the Fastest Growing City in the U.S. according to census data, Seattle is officially booming. But why is this happening? What does it mean? And how long will it last? Read our analysis of what is happening in the Seattle housing market, and why the surge may continue well into the future.
Housing Prices Are Rising in Seattle and Surrounding Cities
The Seattle Times reports that “Pierce County‘s median house cost topped $300,000 for the first time, while Kitsap County, which has similar home prices, surpassed its old bubble peak from 2007. And Snohomish County‘s typical house is nearing half a million dollars.”
Who Is Buying in Seattle?
Apparently, the luxury market in Seattle has not suffered. During the first three months of the year, “the number of homes that sold and closed at prices of $1 million or more were up nearly 61% compared to the first quarter last year.”
The tech industry may be behind this increase, to some extent. According to data from Indeed, the Seattle area is responsible for over 12% of the nation’s job listings in 2017, which has increased 10% in the last year – an increase that’s one of the largest nationwide.
According to similar data published by Glassdoor, Seattle has actually overtaken Silicon Valley (reported as San Jose and San Francisco combined) in the number of software jobs posted on their site. With 16.9% of the nation’s software job openings, Seattle has increased its share of the country’s hi-tech jobs by almost 7% in the last five years alone.
Where Are All These Tech Jobs Coming From?
In a word? Amazon. Currently, about 30,000 of Amazon’s 350,000 employees are located in the Seattle area. That’s 8.5% of one of the largest companies on the planet, and the company has the office space to employ them.
Geekwire reports that Amazon “takes up approximately 20 percent of Seattle’s office inventory, one of the highest concentrations in the country by a single corporate entity. Six complexes that it occupies have sold for a combined $1.5 billion in the last 13 months, mostly to foreign investors. By 2022, Amazon says it could occupy 12 million square feet across 40 buildings in Seattle, up from 8.5 million square feet as of the middle of last year.”
The Seattle Market Shows No Signs of Slowing
The incredible competition in a real estate market like Seattle drives buyers to new extremes. Some opt to skip housing inspections for fear of delay, while others are willing to buy whatever they can get, forgetting about their dream homes. The edge is often given to the wealthy, as bidding wars are quick to ensue, and those who are really desperate can simply outbid everyone else.
There’s no way to know how long this trend will continue, but the tech industry is thriving, and as Amazon helps to boost the burgeoning tech community in Seattle, it has also pushed the housing market into a bubble that may or may not burst.