Recent changes in the Seattle area housing market could mean higher rent and lease profit margins for investors. Local homes around the Seattle area, including King County and Snohomish County have seen a huge jump in not only retail value of homes, but a drop in the availability of homes. Combined with plenty of job opportunities and high standards of living in the area, anyone who owns condos, single family homes, or even apartments anywhere in the Seattle region can now greatly profit from their properties.
Record Low for Available Homes in King County
One of the most promising statistics for anyone who already owns a home in King County is that availability is at a record low, and prices are going up! The median price for a single family home is $365,000, or 18% higher than that of a year ago. Adding to the numbers is the fact that there are currently less than 3,000 homes now on the market, or more than 2,000 fewer than a year ago. The ratio of homes available to buyers looking for homes is also at a record low at just 1:19. Tim Ellis of the Seattle Bubble sums the situation up quite concisely with the statement of “I would not want to be a buyer now.”
Most real estate experts recommend that a ratio of 6 is considered a balanced market, meaning that now, the scales are tipped heavily in the favor or sellers rather than buyers. A prime example, a home sold by Cantu Real Estate received 8 offers, and the eventual buyer paid $68,000 more than the asking price. Paul Cantu, the owner of the company, can be quoted as saying “This is the best market for sellers since 2006”, and from the looks of things he’s right not only about sellers, but renters as well.
High Demand for Housing Leads to Higher Demand for Renting
Experts suggest that part of the housing boom can be contributed to low mortgage and interest rates, but also to the rising demand for houses due to new jobs in the area. Buyers in debt from the downturn of the previous few years are likely waiting to sell until prices rise further, and many people have realized that a rental could provide a higher income over time. Real estate investors can profit from a sale at this point, but renting means a longer income period. And with homes selling fast, anyone who misses out on an available home might have to grab the next best thing, which is quite often a rental.
And with distressed homes in states of foreclosure, or those repossessed by banks making up one in every eight homes on the market, investors can be assured that the housing market will remain slim for some time. Banks in the Seattle area are seeing the rise in prices, and many are waiting to market properties until they can achieve a maximum profit. While the number of repossessed homes is up, the number sold is down 33%, showing that banks are definitely waiting for a higher profit margin.
What the Housing Boom Means for Investors
While now is a great time to own property in the Seattle area, it’s not really a good idea to buy it. Investors looking to purchase might want to hold off until the market goes back down, or focus their attention on lower cost homes that need repairs, otherwise, profits from the property could be a long time coming, unless the plan is to purchase now and then sell when the property hits peak value.
Renters can profit by marketing to buyers who cannot find a suitable home. With a high demand for for-sale homes, marketing rentals can be slightly more tricky, but very effective. Consider marketing as a more affordable short term option, a less competitive market, and that rentals offer repairs and maintenance, while purchased homes require the buyer to do work themselves.
Hiring a Seattle property manager can help to increase rental rates as well. Property managers can ensure all units are rented out in order to take advantage of the housing boom and can also allow small-scale investors to offer larger scale service to renters. Regular maintenance and repairs coupled with professional managers can mean a world of difference in the renting world.