Home prices around Seattle may be directly linked with transit

Nov 4, 2016, 12:46 PM | Updated: 4:19 pm

Trying to find a home for what passes as a reasonable price in King County is proving to be more and more difficult.

The Seattle Times reports that of the homes sold this year, almost 12 percent have sold for more than $1 million. That is double the average rate over the past 10 years, according to the Times.

That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for anyone in the market for a home. Home prices around Seattle have continued to surge upward. Over the summer, reports showed prices were increasing at nearly twice the rate of the country’s 20 largest cities.

And the estates selling for more than $1 million aren’t all the traditional waterfront dream homes. The Times reports that places in Ballard, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Fremont, and West Seattle are experiencing the price spikes.

Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate’s chief economist, told KIRO Radio that a large reason for this uptick in home prices has to do with transportation.

“Essentially, there’s a value to our time,” he said. “We will pay more to live closer to where we have to work. So that tells me very clearly we need to really start addressing transit and transit issues.”

That’s a valid argument, as we found out back in March that — for example — Seattle has the second worst evening commute in the country. Data shows that traffic for rush-hour evening commutes was only second to Los Angeles. And Seattle tied for fourth when it comes to overall congestion.

Outside the neighborhoods listed above, the bulk of glamorous homes are still found on Mercer Island, and in Bellevue and Seattle waterfront properties, Windermere Realtor Anna Riley told the Times. Riley says transplants, international buyers, and people in the tech industry are snatching up the pricey homes.

That’s a stark contrast to Vancouver B.C., where after passing a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers in August, the city has seen home sales fall as much as 39 percent.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says 2,233 properties were sold in October this year, CBC News reports. That’s down more than a thousands compared to the same month in 2015.

Interestingly enough, some of the transplants buying up all the expensive King County homes are from Vancouver, B.C.

This may have some worried, but Zillow’s Chief Economist Svenja Gudell previously told KIRO Radio that the area isn’t in a bubble.

“I don’t think we’re seeing a ton of speculation in the Seattle market. People actually want to live in these homes that they’re searching for,” she said. “We’re still seeing an elevated amount of cash buyers but fewer now than we did two years ago.”

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Home prices around Seattle may be directly linked with transit