Seattle’s lack of affordably priced condominiums continues as recent NWMLS data reveals there are only a handful of homes listed below $700,000, which is now the median home price after increasing nearly 20% compared to this time last year. Though some potential buyers feel dismayed at current market conditions, market experts say some are finding relief in unit reservations and presales.
“There’s a clear supply and demand imbalance, driving up home prices in downtown Seattle,” said Dean Jones, President & CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “Several new condominium buildings are on the horizon but they’ll take several years to deliver.” Despite new inventory, Jones says he fears home values will continue to grow because Seattle is experiencing unprecedented job and population growth, in addition to more renters looking to make their move into homeownership.
Condominium presales offer an alternative to the competition of today’s hot resale market, and are an excellent opportunity for current homeowners to secure a residence while they organize and prepare to sell their current home and move. In presales, a buyer will typically invest a 5% non-refundable deposit to secure the sales price, but waits another year or two before the final sale is complete. Developers are also often willing to accept reservations prior to presales, where a prospective buyer will make a refundable $5,000 deposit to secure first opportunity at a presale.
“It’s basically a first-right of opportunity,” adds Jones. “The benefit for developers is it organizes the demand and for buyers, it’s a way to be in the know before the show. As we’ve learned in recent projects, public sales events can draw long lines and may reduce the selection.”