We’ve been discussing the struggling condo market for months, and now it’s time for a deep-dive into WHAT is going on with the Seattle condo market.
The biggest impact is that we have more supply than we have ever seen, and diminishing buyer demand:
Buyer demand has dipped a little, but we are seeing a rate of condos going up for sale that we have not seen in the 10 years I have been collecting this data.
Why are so many people selling?
- Some want more space. With the seemingly endless work from home life, along with a lot more time at home, condo dwellers are seeking different homes with more space that can accommodate their new needs.
- Some folks are taking advantage of the work from home to really become remote workers. They are leaving Seattle all together and are selling their condo and starting fresh somewhere else.
- Job loss. Condos are often the most affordable option for home ownership, and those buyers are most susceptible to job loss during times of economic uncertainty.
What neighborhoods are most impacted?
Easy answer – the neighborhoods with the most density and proximity to the downtown core.
When we look at the discrepancy between number of condos for sale and number of condos going pending, the “gap” between them is even more extreme for condos in downtown and Capitol Hill.
Are all condo markets struggling?? Is this the end of condo life as we know it?
No. If we look at some of our friendly neighbors to the North, we can see that condos have gotten MORE popular and more competitive:
Buyers are reaching to “the burbs” in all of the ways right now, including condos. This is an indicator that maybe it isn’t the small space or germy shared areas, but actually the City of Seattle and resident fatigue with all the Big City Issues we face in Seattle.
When will the Seattle condo market rebound?
If 2020 has taught me anything, it is that we really have no idea what the heck will happen next. My guess is that the popularity of condo living will return once we hit 50/50/50:
50% of the major employers (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Expedia etc)
bring 50% of the workforce
back to the office at least 50% of the time
Until then, I don’t see an event that will trigger a wave of buyers to want to live in condos.