WA home prices continuing to rise, many moving away from urban areas

Dec 9, 2020, 11:36 AM
Millennials, home prices, stimulus checks...
(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin)
(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin)

Staggering annual median home price changes has become a regular sight locally, with 10-20% rises year to year. Why is this happening? Matthew Gardner, Windermere Chief Economist, joined Seattle’s Morning News to discuss.

“Because there’s no supply. This really is a kind of classic Econ 101. If you limit supply, but you still have a lot of demand, which we clearly have, then that’s going to push prices up,” Gardner explained. “And that’s what we’re seeing without a doubt in the Central Puget Sound. The second half of the year has been quite remarkable. We basically lost the spring market, as we all know, because of COVID. It bounced back remarkably quickly.”

“There is a lot of demand, there is very little supply, and that’s pushing prices to really kind of quite remarkable levels,” he added.

Seattle housing market sees ‘massive changes’ in post-lockdown landscape

The rising prices may also be a reflection of the widening wealth gap that we’ve seen during the pandemic, since people who can afford to buy homes in the first place have jobs that have allowed them to continue to work, so they can continue to afford such homes.

“For a majority of homeowners, they continued to work, albeit from home. I think this has been a bigger issue for the rental market than for the ownership market, because a lot of the renters are the ones that lost their jobs,” Gardner said. “There’s kind of a dichotomy, quite frankly, between the rental market and the ownership market — the rental market’s been hit far harder.”

With two potential COVID vaccines on the way, some issues remain

As we look closer at the housing numbers, it appears as though the bigger winners again are not necessarily the urban cities, it’s more so the outskirts where the trend continues.

“It’s something that’s actually been that way for some time and is purely a function of affordability. If you look at the median price, let’s say in King County, for single family and multifamily units we’re knocking on $700,685 last month. So that is over $130,000/140,000 more than Snohomish County, over $200,000 more than Pierce County. So as prices go up in the central area, then we’re certainly seeing that move away, and part of that actually is because of work from home,” he said.

“I think that there’s a lot of people out looking now who currently live in King County,” he continued. “They’ve been told that maybe they don’t have to come into their offices a couple of days a week. We are already seeing them think, ‘OK, if that’s the case, then maybe I’ll move to Snohomish County, or down to Pierce County. I could get a lot more home for my money. Yes, I’m going to have a lousy commute for a couple of days a week,’ but they’re willing to make that adjustment.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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

Dave Ross

Ross: Have Seattleites gone soft on crime?

The Seattle Police Department recently came out with some advice on what to do if a burglar breaks in while you’re at home. The advice… is to get out, ASAP.
10 hours ago
Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) speaks during a roundtable at the White House (Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Why Oklahoma’s stance on abortion will echo throughout the country

12 states have trigger laws that take effect if Roe v Wade is overturned – and Oklahoma is one of them.
1 day ago
Katie Wussler, a program coordinator at Mother & Child Education Center, checks the lot number on a...
Dave Ross

Ross: Baby formula shortage puts new mothers in difficult spot

I’m having trouble accepting that the US is dealing with a baby formula shortage – especially when the main advice is do NOT try to make your own.
4 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Are vasectomies the best form of birth control?

A Tweet caught my attention because it was a sketch for a short story about a world where abortions aren’t necessary.
5 days ago
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) (Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: A dip in the stock market asks us to look at our savvy non-investments

The way stocks have been melting over the past 16 months, those of us with the courage to open the monthly statement are wondering how low can they go…
6 days ago
(Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Are Americans ready for Big Tech to eliminate passwords?

Apple, Google, and Microsoft announce that they have joined the FIDO alliance: FIDO stands for Fast Identity Online, and its mission is to end password hacking.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
WA home prices continuing to rise, many moving away from urban areas