Economist’s advice on home buying in Puget Sound’s improving market

May 8, 2019, 6:57 AM

king county...

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Puget Sound region’s housing market continues to level out, making it a great time to buy a home. In terms of how to approach that, in a growing buyer’s market, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner has some advice.

The Puget Sound housing market has seen sizable decreases in home prices from 2018, marked by an almost 5 percent decline in median residential home prices in King County.

That’s a downturn that Gardner labels “a move back to reality” that the region has been awaiting “for almost 20 years.”

“The big pitch we’re looking at right now is a move back towards balance,” he noted.

Have $150K in household income

Gardner advises a household income of at least $150,000 for anyone looking to buy around the median $625,000 price for a residential home or condo in King County.

RELATED: Puget Sound housing market continues to favor buyers
RELATED: Seattle housing market continues downward trajectory

That said, that number is also “very much dependent on what you’re buying, where you’re buying it,” and your total down payment.

Beyond that, he outlines a trio of factors for all buyers in the King County region to consider.

“If you meet all those three criteria, you have my blessing to buy a house,” he said.

Consider level of debt

“Firstly, are you comfortable with the debt level? Don’t stretch yourself,” Gardner said..

That’s something that can be mitigated by mortgage rates averaging just 4.4 percent for a 30-year fixed loan right now. That’s a number that Gardner labels as “remarkably attractive and very unlikely to rise anytime soon.”


Next, a steady source of income is key. Be in a place where jumping around from job-to-job, or working up a ladder is behind you.

“Be comfortable in your career and your job,” Gardner said.

Long-term investment

And finally, he recommends knowing that you’ll be investing in the home of your choice long-term.

“Most important: Will you be in that house for at least seven years?” Gardner said.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross


Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: An open letter to Washington State Republicans

Dear Washington State Republicans, I am begging you to find a way forward for a better place for all of us to live.

14 hours ago

Seattle city council drug ordinance...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: What happened with Seattle City Council drug ordinance vote?

What the actual heck did the Seattle City Council just do in regards to the drug ordinance that failed to pass on Tuesday?

2 days ago

movie theaters...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: Movie theaters could soon become unaffordable for some

It was heartbreaking to watch audiences flee during the pandemic and movie theaters close. I'm glad many were able to access relief money.

3 days ago

AI misinformation...

Dave Ross

Ross: Tech companies need to be held liable for AI misinformation

Once a few AI CEOs find themselves going to jail for 11 years for misinformation, I imagine the industry will quickly start policing itself.

4 days ago

patty murray debt ceiling...

Dave Ross

Ross: Patty Murray vows to restore social services as debt ceiling bill passes

This is a guest commentary from Senator Patty Murray. She was presiding over the Senate as they passed the debt ceiling bill last night.

7 days ago

irs funding debt limit bill...

Dave Ross

Ross: IRS funding lost in debt limit bill, tax cheats rejoice

The debt limit bill passed in a classic bi-partisan compromise, and I was actually impressed by last night’s debate.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Economist’s advice on home buying in Puget Sound’s improving market