Seattle Times on the City’s Lack of Condos & Skyrocketing Values

Seattle Times real estate writer Mike Rosenberg sat down with Reddit recently to talk about Seattle’s “sizzling-hot housing market,” covering topics from seemingly endless home price increases and rent hikes to the lack of new condominium inventory and the influence of the tech industry on the Emerald City.

As Rosenberg describes, one of the top questions he is asked about is whether the Seattle market is stable. He admits that the 13-percent growth rate from 2016 to 2017 is bound to slow, but says there isn’t cause for a bubble concern given that the factors present during the last recession aren’t present now. “People are paying mortgages on time” and “putting down big payments,” writes Rosenberg. “Amazon alone is enough to make the city’s economy among the strongest in the country,” he added.

Given the meteoric rate of growth in recent years, Rosenberg says Seattle has definitely experienced some growing pains, and says now is the time for the city to work to “add more housing” of varying types, from townhomes to apartments and condos. He also outlined the worsening traffic, saying “adding more regional transit” will be a must as we continue to evolve.

Rosenberg also touched on Seattle’s scarce new condominium inventory, echoing the recent sentiments of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR). Of all of the new inventory to be delivered in our current decade, nearly 96-percent is for-rent. Rosenberg attributes the lack of new construction condominiums to Washington’s stringent legislation and bank’s easy lending for apartments given the steadily rising rents.

In September 2017, RSIR released a report that showed the median home price for condominium re-sales in downtown Seattle increased an astounding 35-percent year-over-year, a symptom of the city’s population growth and home value increases.

One way to combat the city’s frenzied market is by presales, in projects such as NEXUS condominium tower, which will deliver 382 units to the East Village neighborhood in 2019, and The Pinnacle at Alki, which will bring 11 luxury apartment units to West Seattle’s waterfront.