Seattle Condos Appreciating Faster Than Homes

Madison Tower cropped

Featured condo – 1000 1st Ave., Unit 2202, Seattle, 98104

Condominium property values were some of the hardest hit after the housing crash, with the typical condo in the U.S. losing a third of its value. But according to a recent Zillow survey, condos are finally making a long-awaited comeback and are appreciating more quickly than single-family homes in many U.S. markets, including Seattle’s.

According to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), the median sales price for a condo in Seattle in October was $368,000, up 23 percent over the year, compared to an 8 percent price increase for single-family homes. Condos in many neighborhoods within the city saw much higher rates of appreciation. Prices increased by 55 percent in Southeast Seattle (Columbia City, Rainier Valley, Seward Park), and by 45 percent in both Beacon Hill and the Ballard/Green Lake/Phinney Ridge area. Prices for condos in Seattle’s most expensive market, comprising Downtown and Belltown, rose by 34 percent over the year to a median of $539,000, and Queen Anne condo prices are the highest in a decade.

The condo market may be especially attractive to first-time home buyers, who are largely being priced out of Seattle’s expensive single-family market. Condos are often more affordable and lower maintenance, and many offer the urban lifestyle that young professionals are increasingly attracted to. Seattle’s condo market is also suffering from a lack of inventory with only 1.18 months’ worth of supply available (compared to the 4-6 months’ worth that is generally considered a ‘balanced’ market) which could be another factor helping drive price increases. Currently, there are 107 condos on the market in Downtown Seattle, ranging from $209,900 for a 447-square-foot unit at Vine and Western, to $9,990,000 for the 6,758-square-foot full-floor penthouse at the Madison Tower.

Zillow’s Chief Economist Svenja Gudell wrote in the survey summary that, “Over the past few years, buying a condo hasn’t always been considered an investment on par with buying a single-family home. Clearly, the most recent data indicate that notion may be due for a second look.”

If you are curious how much your condo might be worth, please do not hesitate to contact one of our real estate agents!

Late Summer Gains For Seattle Area Housing Market

neighborhoodThe S&P/Case-Shiller Index numbers for August were released yesterday, and after a July where we saw average home prices decrease by 0.1 percent in the Seattle Metro Area (King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties), prices bounced back and increased by 0.7 percent in August. On a yearly basis, prices in the area grew by 7.6 percent, coming in at number five on the list of cities with the highest yearly gains among the top 20 metro areas in the index.

Though prices in the Seattle are are still four percent below their peak, overall prices are showing steady growth and much of it is coming from a surprising sector of the housing market: condos. Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said in a statement that in the national market “…a good portion of the overall home price growth we’re seeing, especially in cities, has been driven by strong growth in condominium values, which are currently appreciating more quickly than single-family homes.” He cited condos’ popularity with younger buyers, many of whom live more urban lifestyles, are looking for more affordable housing options than single-family homes. This appears to be true in the Seattle market, as according to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, median condo prices in King County were up 19 percent this August over August 2014. The median price for a condo in Seattle was up 32 percent over the same time period to $248,500.

Overall, it appears that the U.S. market is leveling out. Zillow’s Gudell says that “Annual U.S. home value appreciation has stabilized and settled into a nice groove over the past few months, and this relative stability should continue into the foreseeable future.”

If you’re interested in speaking with a real estate expert about Seattle’s market, contact your local agent today.

Downtown Seattle New Condo Prices Down 8% Since May

Downtown condoOne look at the glut of new towers rising in downtown Seattle and one could think condos are having their heyday. But it turns out most of those cranes on the horizon are giving rise to office towers and apartment buildings, with only one condo tower, Insignia, currently under construction downtown. Among new (never before sold) condo units that are on the market, prices have also fallen 8 percent from their peak in May, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce.

Prices did rise slightly from August to September (2 percent), and year over year (up 3 percent from September 2013), but are still falling short of the May peak, when the average price per square foot was $775. In September, the average sold price per square foot for a new condo was $716.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, condo construction is expected to pick up in 2015, in part due to the fact that 170 of the first 350 units at Insignia have already sold, giving condo developers confidence that the demand will keep up with supply. It remains to be seen what effect an increased number of units will have on prices.

If you are interested in purchasing a condo in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Monthly Condo Market Recap: Activity is Strong

The first half of 2014 has proven to be very active in the condo market.  The stats for the first 6 months reflect a very active time with successful closings. The number of active listings in the Downtown and Belltown neighborhoods rose each month.  There were 91 active listings in these neighborhoods in January.  It rose to 107 in February, 113 in March, 116 for the months of April & May and has increased to 130 active listings in June.  This shows that Spring is definitely the most popular time to put a home on the market. The number of sales per month also steadily rose over the past 6 months.  Downtown condo

There were 23 closed sales in January, 38 in February, 43 in March, 54 in April, 59 in May and then dropped slightly back down to 49 in June. The median sales price in these neighborhoods ranged from $405,000 to $549,500 per month.  The highest median sales prices were in February at $549,500. Some would say it is definitely a seller’s market right now.  Homes in good condition and priced to sell are going fast!  Many units are seeing bidding wars and selling within days of being listed.  The comparison of the list price to the sell price was 98.3% in January and was 99% from February thru April. It is important for condo sales to be successful that their HOA is managed well and they are properly funded. For more information on condo sales or condo management please contact your local condo management team today.

Downtown Seattle Condos Starting to Fill Up

Downtown Seattle Penthouse Condo Available

The past two years have not been promising for the Seattle Condo Market, and condo developers are finally starting to see a turn around in the Downtown area. According to the Seattle Times, roughly two dozen new projects were at work between 2007-2010 during big the real-estate crash. Many of those who bought the pre-sale backed out and several developers ended up converting their buildings to rental units to cater to the economy. Those who stuck it out had to slash prices, and in many cases had to lower the costs by up to 40 percent.

Today the market is starting to look more appealing and beginning to have the first signs that it will bounce back. A few good indicators include Escala raising  some of their prices; one of the largest downtown projects to date, Escala did so quietly, with the majority of their condo units selling for 99% of the asking price, they’ve begun upping the anty as their inventory gets smaller. Also of the 2,500 condo projects that have been built in downtown and surrounding areas, fewer than 250 units is left unsold. There are currently no new projects in place; most developers and lenders have put condos on hold to allow the market to recuperate. If you’re interested in learning more about finding a condo in the Seattle area, here is a list of available units.