Friday, April 06, 2007

Northwest Housing Prices Heading North

After a two month slow-down, it seems that Seattle area housing prices have once again begun to climb. The trend has its upsides and downsides, depending on who you ask, but the reason for the shift is undoubtedly clear.

For prospective buyers, the rise this month means an end to what many hoped was an opportune time to find a deal. The past few months saw a cooling process for infamously expensive neighborhoods in King and Snohomish counties - inviting many prospective buyers to shop the buyer-friendly market.

Apparently the cooling spell churn up some hot bidding action. The Northwest MLS release numbers today showing the median price for a home in King County rising 6% to nearly $445,000 and Snohomish homes rising 7.4% to $382,000.

For sellers, this bidding fury is a welcome sign. Many homeowners have reported bidding wars that ended up raising their selling prices far above the original list price. Many builders have been reaping similar benefits by flooding the market with new properties during this hot spell.

But can increased consumer interest fueled by cooling rates really be the catalyst for such a dramatic price increase? Not likely. Once again we have to point again to those three usual suspects: employment rate, population growth, and interest rates.

An announcement this week that Microsoft would be leasing over a million square feet of office space in Bellevue to house 4,000 employees lit a fire under the housing pot. This extra muscle to the job market - and the inevitible population growth that will come with it - have put a premium on already hot-selling properties in the area.

On top of this all, interest rates in Seattle have remained stagnant at the relatively low 6.22% for a 30-year mortgage, inducing prospective buyers to snatch up whatever finds they come across.

Condo sales are showing even greater increases - proving that the trend is not only limited to high end properties or suburban areas.

Despite the perception of the national housing market as the economic whipping boy du jour, the spicy trends in the Northwest continue to be hot, hot, hot.

As always, find the best real estate IDX solutions at and stay up to date on the state of the Seattle real estate market at


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