I have to say that the Seattle market for Real Estate at this point has not impressed me at this point. I have kept away from purchasing a home for all of my life but when you start to build a family, a home seems a logical step in the pathway.
We have been renting a really nice house in a part of Kirkland that I really like, right at the base of Finn Hill. It’s a great location for both Lili and I to commute to our jobs, has nice schools and is close to Lake Washington and Puget Sound, 20 minutes from Seattle and my parents.
However, after 2 years, you start to think, I could be paying down a mortgage for the same price I am renting this place for — building equity while home values rise between 6-8% in this market every year– and when the median house in this area is between 350-550k, that’s a pretty significant return on investment.
The only problem with that theory is the market is completely insane.
We have been looking at purchasing for the last month and have all but given up looking in the neighborhood we love so much and have spent the last four years in. Sure, there are houses for sale here in our price range, but we just don’t see the value in most of them and the overall inventory is super low. Those that are on the market in our price range, need work. Who in their right minds would want to pay 400,000 for something you are going to have to fix up to suite your middle class needs?
So we move out a couple miles, right? Not so fast. The problem changes the further you go out. In Bothell, Kenmore, etc. there is a ton of new development going in and most of it is in the price range we are looking at, but the homes are built on zero lots, which means no yard and neighbors you could shake hands with through your window. No Thanks. I don’t the investment in these types of homes– sure they look great now, but in 10 years, when the cabinets have aged and the tiles are cracked– who is going to want that at that price?
Now I am not knocking you if you have one of these– for me, I just can’t see myself living that close to someone and not having a bit of a lawn to take care of. Some people just don’t want to take care of a lawn, I get that– but buy a condo!
The mixture of these two elements makes me leery to continue looking, but I know the problem is just going to continue to get worse as time goes on and as people get older and more people move here. I just didn’t think that there would have to be so much compromise on our part to get us into something where we can start building a future for our developing family.
We just have to keep searching for our diamond in the rough.