Seattle Times recently told its readers that if they’re hoping Seattle-area rents will get cheap, they better not hold their breath. While the rental market has cooled in recent months, as vacancies and new projects have brought landlords to offer big incentives for tenants, “that doesn’t mean Seattle is suddenly a utopia for apartment hunters. In fact, it is among the priciest cities in the U.S. for renters—having grown 155 percent in twenty years—and steadying prices have come “only after seven straight years of large rent hikes that have made Seattle unaffordable to anyone not making decent money.”
As was expected, mortgage rates have increased again, putting them at the highest level seen since April 2011. Seattle Times reports on the change, which pushed the 30-year-fixed-rate up to 4.90 percent in a 19-basis-point jump (1 basis point = 0.01 percentage point), the “largest one-week spike in the 30-year rate since November 2016, when it increased 37 points.” Alternatively, fifteen-year rates reached 4.29 percent, up from 4.15 percent last week and 3.21 percent last year.
After seemingly endless months of a frenzied real estate market in the Puget Sound region in which buyers faced anemic supply and highly competitive bidding wars, the latest Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) press release reports that we are “finally returning” to a more balanced market, as “buyers welcome more choices, moderating prices.”
Facebook will soon be expanding its foot print in SODO, this according to a recent article published by the Puget Sound Business Journal, which indicates that the social media titan is investing $7.5 million into office space renovations at the Home Plate Center building. After initially indicating that they would lease a full floor at the office tower earlier this year, permits filed with the city of Seattle show that “Oculus” (the virtual reality arm of Facebook) has leased over 62,000 square feet.
It’s been a time of some uncertainty in the Seattle real estate market, as buyers and sellers have felt wary of falling home prices, longer market times, and growing inventory. As a Seattle Times article from early September noted, “home prices are continuing to fall across an unseasonably cool Seattle real estate market, with homes that would have been snapped up in an instant just several months ago now sitting unsold.” August represented the third straight month of median home price declines in King County, with the countywide cost of a single-family home, at $669,000, down nearly $60,000 compared to May 2018.