Is the Seattle Real Estate Market Friendly for Buyers?

| June 5, 2013 | 0 Comments

Real Estate Investment

When it comes to the housing market, it often seems like buyers and sellers are on opposite teams: someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose. The side that is victorious often relies on several factors, including area, economic growth, willing to compromise, and local employment rates.

According to Forbes, certain areas of the country are better for buyers while others are better for sellers. Metro areas in the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic – including Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia – are strongest for buyers while metro areas in the West, Northwest, and Southwest – including the San Francisco Bay area, Las Vegas, and Phoenix – are strongest for sellers.

Selling in Seattle

Even during trying economic times, Seattle, with its northwestern roots, falls in favor of the seller. In fact, Seattle’s local news King 5 reports that Seattle is the fifth most competitive market in the country right now. This means that buyers, quite literally, are lining up to make their offers.

Per the news report, 74.6 percent of offers on homes in Seattle faced competition in April of this year. Those figures are up from 68 percent a year ago.
The only cities in the United States with stiffer competition are all California based: Orange County, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. These areas had competing offers on homes at 93.6 percent, 90.8 percent, 86.9 percent, and 86.2 percent, respectively.
While these numbers are encouraging for a housing market that – in recent years – hasn’t had the most success, they can be daunting for those who are looking for an easy buying process or a steal of a deal.

When Offering Isn’t Enough

The housing market in Seattle is also showing another disturbing trend for buyers, but a wonderful trend for sellers: of the homes with competing offers, 67.9 percent of winning offers were more than what the seller was asking.

However, even making an offer of more than the asking price might not be enough. Some buyers (precisely 17.9 percent) strived to stand out by writing personalized letters to the sellers, attesting as to why they wanted to buy their home. Other buyers found practical ways to edge out the competition: 2.4 percent offered to pay in cash, 63.1 percent used a conventional loan, 4.8 percent used an FHA/VA loan, 10.7 percent offered to waive the financing contingency, and 19 percent waived the inspection fee.

Condo Competition

According to Redfin, it isn’t just houses that have buyers beating down their doors: the condo competition is also fierce in the Emerald City. In fact, one realtor reports having a client who made an offer on a condo and threw in an escalator clause, waived the inspection contingency, and offered a free, two month long rental contract back to the seller. Despite all of this, the client lost out to a proposition almost impossible to compete with: an all cash offer well above what the seller was asking.

Seattle is a tough market for those looking to buy. However, this competition alludes to two things: Seattle is a great place to live and buying at a higher price just might mean selling at an increased price in the future.


Evan Nickerson is a freelance writer based in the city of Tacoma, Washington. Evan writes on finance, real estate, investment, debt management and other relevant topics. To find more information on houses, visit

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