Home Economics

Just How Much Has Seattle's Housing Market Cooled?

Inflation, mortgage rates, and a whole lot of economic anxiety spell trouble for the end of our local real estate boom.

By Angela Cabotaje September 26, 2022

The experts told us not to call the recent dip in real estate price growth a "crash." Median sale prices are simply leveling out to their pre-pandemic norms, they said. Welp, a recent report from Redfin is making that idea much harder to sell.

According to data collected from February through August of this year, the housing market in the Seattle metro area cooled faster than any other major city in the United States. The report analyzed the number of homes that went pending within two weeks, price drops, changes in inventory, and the change in sale-to-list ratio (the final sale price divided by the list price) compared to the same timeframe in 2021. It wasn't pretty. Homes took longer to sell, took price cuts, and went pending at a more sluggish pace.

Part of this is due to the overall state of the economy: Inflation worries and rising mortgage rates make it more difficult for would-be buyers to send in that offer. And when they do, they're less willing to compromise.

 Other high-priced West Coast cities are taking a hit too: San Jose came in third on Redfin's list, Oakland in eighth. But it's also affecting formerly affordable warm-weather hot spots like Las Vegas (second) and Phoenix (seventh). Whether it's a temporary blip as the U.S. economy tightens its belt or the sign of a long-term trend, only time will tell.

And elsewhere in real estate news...

Compass lays off 84 in Washington

Earlier this month, Compass notified the Employment Security Department that it intends to layoff 84 workers in Seattle, with an additional 187 virtual workers across the country also getting cut. This comes as the real estate company attempts to reach profitability in 2023. Competitor Zillow laid off 96 employees earlier this year.

Olympia is the 10th most expensive small city for rents

While the home-buying market cools, the rental market is still on a tear. But what about small cities? According to a report from rental site Dwellsy, it's still expensive there too. In August, Silverthorne, Colorado, came out on top with a median asking rent of a whopping $3,500. Olympia came in 10th with a median price of $2,640.

A new company aims to make it easier to buy abroad

Ever look at the asking price for a new home listing and decide it would just be easier to up and move to Mexico? You're not alone apparently. Far Homes is an international home listings portal designed to make purchasing abroad easier for buyers. The company recently raised an initial round of $2.25 million, led by local venture capital fund Pioneer Square Labs.

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