Ask anyone familiar with the Seattle housing market, and they will tell you that the coronavirus emerged at the worst possible moment in terms of its impact on the house-hunting season. This is because March is often, as one expert said, the “beginning of prime house-hunting season in Seattle,” and the coronavirus has settled like a “cloud of uncertainty” over the city.
Though it is only a few weeks into the crisis, the city’s top real estate firms have already noted a rapid slowing in the home buying activity and a substantial drop in demand. This is incredibly unfortunate since pending home sales had only just hit the second-highest level in two years a week before the virus emerged as a national threat.
On the other hand, one of the region’s largest condominium brokers said that there had been no slow down to the Seattle market at all? In fact, his numbers have held firm even as word of the virus’ spread emerged. This may be due to several factors, including:
- Record low mortgage rates, with buyers acting out on a sense of urgency to make the most of the opportunity before it disappears.
- Shift to properties that can be easier monetized afterward. Condos are excellent as rentals and since Seattle is already a strong rental market, the purchase of a condo during this period is a wise investment.
Will there be a reflection of the impact of coronavirus on the Chinese housing market in other markets? MaketWatch indicated that China’s housing market has “basically shut down” and that prices rose only .27 between December and January in the country’s largest cities. The number of sales declined by 90 percent or more, too.
The reason that many in Seattle are watching the impact of coronavirus on the housing market is because the city has already been noted as “ground zero” for the virus in the U.S. This leaves experts to watch and wait in order to gauge whether the virus has the same damaging effects to the Seattle housing market.
So, the answer to the question posed in the title above is simple: We cannot yet know what the long-term implications will be from the coronavirus in Seattle. We do know it will be an accurate gauge of what other cities can anticipate. Thus far, condo sales have not diminished, though home sales have taken a sharp decline. Experts are sure to weigh in continually, and we will keep readers informed of all that is happening in the Seattle market and elsewhere in the country.
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