We're not saying anything you don't already know: real estate prices in the Pacific Northwest are astronomical. Buying in Seattle is almost impossible, which means people are looking further and further outside the city to snap up property while they still can.
And the scale has slid as to "normal" house prices as well. Once upon a time you could get a pretty decent piece of property for around $500,000. Now? It's a crapshoot.
But let's take that figure for a second. Right now, in 2017 - what does a piece of property that's going for $500,000 look like? In Seattle? In Tacoma?
Rather than just googling, we decided to call in special forces. Cue, Austin Schneider of Realogics Sotheby's.
$500k in Seattle
Schneider showed us three different properties in Seattle, around the $500,000 budget.
- 6528 16th Ave SW, Seattle 98106, $515,000, 3 beds, 1.75 baths
- 2807 SW Yancy St, Seattle 98126, $430,000, 2 beds, 1 bath
- 730 Bellevue Ave E #PH4, Seattle 98102, $450,000, 1 bed, 1 bath
"Seattle is a crazy hot market, we know," said Schneider. "We’ve had the fastest growing home prices in America for a year STRAIGHT. This is special thanks to the increasing population, job growth, and lack of available housing."
The median single family home price in Seattle as of October 2017 is $695,000 (that's up 13 percent year-over-year) - $160k more than it was two years ago. Homeowners in the city are mostly delighted, while home buyers may be feeling a bit discouraged.
"Buying in Seattle IS NOT impossible," Schneider argues. "If you’re renting in the city where the average rent is $2,048 for a one-bedroom apartment, buying is something to consider with our continued projected growth, if you’re looking to grow your wealth."
But as a result of this drastic growth, many buyers are having trouble affording homes in the city and are considering communities outside of the city like Tacoma.
$500k in Tacoma
Schneider showed us three different properties in Tacoma, around the $500,000 budget.
- 5625 24th St NE #26, Tacoma 98422, $460,000, 3 beds, 2.5 bath
- 2605 SW 353rd Place, Federal Way 98023, $499,950, 4 beds, 2.75 baths
- 3022 40th St E, Tacoma, WA 98404, $465,000, 4 beds, 2.5 baths
The discouragement of the Seattle market means people are looking more and more to Tacoma, where the median single family home price is $254,475 (compared to Seattle's $695k).
"If you’re wanting to purchase a newly built home with updated appliances/features, more square footage, and a yard, Tacoma could be a great option!" said Schneider.
Moral of the story
DON’T be discouraged if you’re looking to buy a home in Seattle or within close proximity. Just understand and consider the differences between location vs. standard of living in deciding what the best option is for you and your future investment!
For example: In Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, and Downtown Seattle there are only nine homes for sale in the $400,000 - $500,000 price range, all one bedroom condos. If you search outside of these areas in Seattle (south down to Beacon Hill or White center or north up to Northgate or Lake City), you’ll be able to find larger single family homes in this price range. BUT, they will not be new construction or have the size like those in Tacoma.
To get a better idea of where your investment lies, we looked at what $500,000 gets you in Seattle vs. Tacoma. Click through our gallery to see what we came up with!