COVID-19 Is Impacting Seattle's Suburban Housing Market in Unexpected Ways.
It wasn't too long ago — May, to be exact — that experts were predicting certain doom for the Seattle real estate market. Thanks in large part to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, forecasts were dire for housing and the rest of the economy.
While many business sectors did face steep cuts and dramatic dropoff from pre-pandemic activity, residential housing, after setbacks in April and May, surged. The rush on home buying has been particularly prevalent in Seattle's suburbs. Demand is high, inventory is low, and there are currently no signs of slowing down.
However, contrary to popular belief, the exodus is less about escaping Seattle's dense urban core due to a raging pandemic and an inability to social distance successfully. Sure, that's a factor for a small minority, but the move has more to do with changing lifestyles than a fear of getting sick.
Overall, the city remains a popular, highly desirable place to live. The move from city to suburb has been far less prevalent in Seattle than in other major markets like Manhattan or San Francisco. In fact, many expect the local economy to start its recovery sometime in early 2021.
People who are leaving the city behind are doing so for a very specific reason: space. And they're finding plenty of it in places such as Bellevue and Everett.
With more employees working from home and children attending virtual school, the need for flexible homes with offices, dens, and outdoor spaces is in high demand. With interest rates at historic lows, those migrating are also finding more house for their money, even with the higher prices. The suburban residential housing market is ultra-competitive, which might be an understatement. However, some housing relief could be on the way.
Unrelated to the pandemic, Boeing's plans to relocate production of their 787 Dreamliner to South Carolina will leave a profound economic impact on the area in and around Everett. Production of the company's other plane lines, though, will continue in the Everett plant, lessening the hit to a certain degree.
The brighter side to that equation is that homes put on the market due to the relocation should quickly sell. Even though it comes under less than ideal circumstances, it adds to an already unique and highly unusual real estate market.
Looking to the immediate future, expect Seattle's suburban market to continue to flourish, even as the economy faces a slow (but steady) recovery heading into 2021.
Ultimately, if you're a seller east of Seattle, now may prove one of your best opportunities to capitalize on a hot market. If you're a buyer, the tight, competitive market may be challenging to navigate. But homes are available, and the farther outside Seattle you're willing to look, the better chance you have of securing the right home.
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