This story is featured in the March issue of Seattle magazine. Subscribe here to access the print edition.
With housing prices at record highs throughout the Puget Sound region, prospective buyers are understandably nervous about making the plunge.
Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and other Eastside suburbs may offer the best opportunities for homebuyers concerned about protecting equity, investors seeking to maximize return, or young professionals positioning for future employment.
The “Zoom boom” notwithstanding, large tech firms are expected to remain committed to the concept of brick-and-mortar campuses. Amazon and Microsoft, for example, recently made heavy investments in Bellevue and Redmond. Facebook and Google have also boosted Eastside investments.
Traffic, lack of affordable housing and the payroll expense tax are among factors motivating tech firms to wean from the Seattle core and increase Eastside presence, says John Deely, national executive vice president of operations for Coldwell Banker Bain and former chairman of the board of directors of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
King County has added 1.5 million jobs during the past decade and the economic outlook is strong, he adds. Sticking close to I-5, I-90, light rail lines and other major highways to the east and north will improve the chances of longterm success for a home investment, Deely predicts.
Buying a fixer-upper is especially problematic in a hot market, as sellers have little incentive to make improvements and may require buyers to sign a contingency waiver, Deely says.
“Ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst-case scenario if I buy this property?’ and have a contingency plan.”
Buyers need to be prepared to strike quickly in a frenzied market.
“Understand that there are going to be some tradeoffs. No one is going to get everything they want. When you find the right place, don’t think twice,” advises Oakpointe Communities Chief Executive Officer Brian Ross.