How the pandemic is leaving a lasting footprint on the Puget Sound housing market

Feb 7, 2021, 8:24 AM | Updated: Feb 8, 2021, 7:14 am

Puget Sound pandemic housing market...

Home offices have never been more important to Puget Sound home buyers. (Pexels)


Over the last year, the pandemic has indelibly changed Puget Sound’s housing market in a number of ways. Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner spoke to KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross about that lasting COVID-induced footprint, and what buyers can expect once the virus is fully brought under control.

First and foremost, Gardner points out that the need for a home office has become more important now than ever, which, for many employees, is likely to continue past the end of the pandemic.

“The work from home situation that many of us are in, it’s not going to be temporary,” he noted. “Because of that, several things are occurring, the first of which is people, obviously, if they’re working from a dining room table and they are thinking of moving, then a home office is increasingly important.”

Prior to the pandemic, Gardner says home offices were largely going away, as prices in the Puget Sound region rose and affordable spaces shrank in square footage. But “that’s turned around now,” he says.

Why the pandemic has Puget Sound residents leaving cities for the suburbs

Gardner sees that need fueling more sales in the months ahead, as people look to upgrade their work-from-home situations.

“I do expect that we’ll see more homes come to market and therefore likely more sales because of people’s newfound ability to work from home,” he predicted.

As that plays out, he also expects recent rapid growth in King, Snohomish, and Pierce County home prices to slow considerably as it begins to reach a ceiling of affordability for buyers. In those three counties, median home prices rose over 9%, 14%, and 16% year-over-year in January, respectively.

Simply put, homes can only get so expensive before the average person can no longer afford to buy one.

“You cannot sustain that,” Gardner said. “There must always be a relationship between incomes and home prices, so I think that’s really going to be the ceiling.”

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

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.

1 day 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.

4 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.

5 days ago

Irs debt ceiling...

Dave Ross

Ross: IRS has new no-pursuit policy with debt ceiling deal

This debt ceiling deal means the IRS will have to adopt a no-pursuit policy. It means the highway is clear, and all the lights are green.

6 days ago

book ban...

Dave Ross

Ross: Can anybody really ban a book?

For all the talk about a book ban, Dave Ross explains why he's never had any trouble getting any book he wants.

7 days ago

Republicans debt...

Dave Ross

Ross: Republicans are really using the debt crisis to spend more

Ross: You are not going to reduce the debt. Especially if you have people like Senator Graham who are using this crisis to spend more money.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

How the pandemic is leaving a lasting footprint on the Puget Sound housing market