Open Thread Answers: Seattle Neighborhoods & Real Estate Trends – March 11th, 2013 has chosen me to be their Seattle Real Estate Expert to answer their Open Thread questions. Here are the questions and answers that were featured in their Curbed University Series.

Q: Are there Seattle neighborhoods you suggest focusing on to maximize value? Ones to stay away from?

A: The most popular neighborhoods in Seattle consistently hold their value and tend to appreciate at a higher rate because they are more in demand. North Seattle is a good example of this (think Fremont, Ballard, Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, etc). One up and coming neighborhood in South Seattle is North Beacon Hill. With it’s 16 story underground light rail station, minutes away from downtown Seattle, proximity to Bellevue, I-5, I-90, the stadiums, and the waterfront, you’re close to it all. Since it still flies under the radar you can find some great craftsman homes with views for considerably less than what you would pay in North Seattle. While I love West Seattle and the beautiful views it can provide, if you are one who doesn’t enjoy sitting in traffic you should probably avoid it until the viaduct replacement tunnel is completed. Until then, traffic is going to be rough.

Q: What trend is happening in Seattle that is going to be “jumping the shark” in the next couple of years? (Could be listing trends, feature trends or whatever).

A: With 90% of buyers starting their home search online, and the Seattle area being so tech savvy, the days of bad online advertising is over. For a long time the trend was for sellers to choose a real estate agent based solely on who they know, whether it be a family friend or the agent they used to originally buy the house. More and more I’m seeing sellers abandon this strategy and interviewing multiple agents, searching for one that know’s how to beautifully showcase a property online. As a result, you’re going to see the marketing for listings improve (and buyers everywhere rejoice!).

Another trend I see coming to an end is the seller paying for the buyers closing costs. For the last few years the real estate market was down, and it was almost a given that the seller would pay at least a portion, if not all of the buyers closing costs (up to 3% of the purchase price). There are plenty of buyers but not enough inventory right now, therefore sellers are rarely paying closing cots. Of course if the market turns this trend will come back, but for the time being it’s on its way out.

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