Buyers who want to purchase a home in Seattle and or the surrounding King County this year may have noticed that there are fewer projected purchasing opportunities. Buyers who are in the market for a home should be prepared to face competition as tech companies recruit from outside the area and low interest rates on mortgages. Of course, this competition is good for sellers whose sales go for higher and are snapped up more quickly. While the Seattle housing market has remained strong for sellers and investors for several years, buyers may need to respond more quickly or move their search outside of King County and prepare for a longer commute.

Although 2020 is still new, housing inventory is already lower compared to last year. For example, January 2020 inventory dropped about 43% over January 2019, which follows a countrywide trend. There simply are not that many houses on the market. Houses with more than three bedrooms are difficult to find in Seattle, especially affordable options. While real estate prices remained relatively stable throughout winter due to low interest rates and healthy job growth in the area, King County sales were significantly higher than sales in nearby Pierce County. Furthermore, with demand outpacing supply, housing prices are on the rise again.

New housing construction in Seattle has included rental apartments rather than single-family homes. These apartments tend to be both luxury and smaller — a poor fit for families. Because these rentals are aimed at a small demographic, rent prices have remained relatively stable compared to the cost of older, standalone homes. Even luxury sales have dwindled, however. Buyers will find very few offerings available on the Eastside with a price tag under $1 million.

Real estate investors have benefited from apartment construction just like sellers have reaped the rewards of a city with a dearth of housing. Hundreds of buyers may visit the same open house. Sellers typically receive multiple offers and have the ability to return those offers. In fact, counties in the Puget Sound area have more current pending transactions than they do new housing listings.

Would-be buyers can expect to offer more and spend more time looking for their next home if these trends continue.