Seattle housing market outlook for annual fall/winter dip

Throughout the summer, prices of real estate in Seattle continued to post increases, a common trend. In September, home prices started leveling off and real estate experts believe that prices will start to begin their annual fall/winter dip. Since more people often look to purchase property in the summer, this fall is common.

Standard & Poor’s Case/Shiller Home Price Index released data on September 25 noting that Seattle posted another year-over-year increase in home prices. According to Seattle Bubble, from June to July, prices went up 1.4 percent, and 3.1 percent year-over-year; however, prices are still 26.3 percent below the July 2007 peak.

The median price of a home in King County rose since April, but interest rates continued to decline, meaning that the range of affordable homes is higher than it may appear on the surface. According to the publication, the median annual household income is $66,294. People within this income bracket are able to purchase homes with prices 21 percent higher than the current median price, because of the low interest rates.

People are currently able to afford higher priced homes because after the housing bubble burst, local incomes also declined and remained low for roughly two years. By 2011, incomes started to climb back up and have continued to do so. Real estate expert Tim Ellis believes that the trend will likely continue at an average 2.8 percent increase per year.

A 30-year fixed mortgage rate in Washington is currently 3.21 percent, down 2 points since last week. During that week, rates hit an all time low in the United States and rose slightly, but still shows a 3.19 percent rate.

"As predicted, the mortgage rate slide leveled off this week as lenders tried to catch up with an influx of demand from people looking to refinance at all-time low rates,” said Erin Lantz, a real estate expert, in a press release. “This coming week, we expect rates will hold fairly steady as the market awaits Friday's job report, although significant European headlines could induce rate volatility."

In Seattle, bank-owned property sales fell to their lowest point since April 2009, after peaking at 23 percent in February. Sales were at 6.3 percent in August for all bank-owned properties, and 12 percent for short sales in King County.