It’s no secret that Puget Sound is in a housing crunch, leading to soaring real estate costs and squeezing many people from the area.
Housing on the Eastside is in high demand as companies like Microsoft announce planned expansions in coming years and the buildout of light rail systems connects suburban cities with Seattle.
The housing market is so hot in the region, that Redfin recently rated the Grass Lawn neighborhood in southwest Redmond as the most competitive in the country.
The narrative of a robust real estate market is also backed up by Maria Quintiro, an agent at Sterling Johnson Real Estate in Redmond.
“It’s a nice place to be, so you have excellent schools, well-built houses, a nice community, so it’s a nice place to live and very low inventory,” she said.
While the calculus used by Redfin is specific to its own metrics, it paints a picture of a region in high demand.
At Grass Lawn, Redfin calculated that 73 percent of homes sold for more than the asking price and a typical home found a buyer in just six days.
These houses’ final price generally came in around 8.4 percent higher than the asking price.
Redfin credits this to Grass Lawn’s proximity to the Microsoft and Google campuses, as well as other tech companies in the city and surrounding area.
It is similarly close to two freeways and offers access to Seattle and nearby cities.
Quintiro said she expects 2018 to mirror last year’s growth.
“We are seeing multiple offers and appreciation,” on houses being sold, she said.
For her company, Quintiro said the increases in selling price over listed prices often hit double digits.
While this is good for sellers, it’s a much more difficult experience trying to buy a house in Redmond.
“You have to really be proactive, prepared and give yourself time, because it might be a while,” she said.
A lack of housing inventory has created a bottleneck in the housing market in Redmond, which is expected to continue into 2018.
Spring is usually the busiest season for realtors, especially from March to April, but Quintiro said a buying rush could be starting early.
“Based on the activity that I’m seeing already, before we even get to the busy season of the spring, it’s going to continue and possibly even maybe increase,” she said.
For both buyers and sellers, Quintiro recommended working with a real estate agent.
While a hot market is good for sellers, it also means that first-time homeowners are being pushed out of the city, said Hamid Ali with John L Scott Real Estate.
“Because of the demand, we are not, we will not be able to match demand and supply, so because of that the prices will probably go up,” he said.
Many of the new houses in Redmond and the Eastside are selling for up to $1.6 million, Ali said, so many first-time buyers aren’t looking in the city.
Suburbs such as North Bend, Duvall, Maple Valley and Lake Stevens are seeing an uptick in people looking to buy houses, where prices are still high at around $600,000, but are still much lower than the Eastside.
Ali expects this to increase as more people move to the area to work in the tech industry.
“It looks like the Seattle area will become the number one cloud industry, it’s a cloud-based area so lots of companies are coming here,” he said.
It’s not just the Grass Lawn neighborhood that’s competitive, either.
Of the 25 neighborhoods ranked by Redfin, 19 of them were in Puget Sound.
Both downtown Redmond and the Overlake neighborhoods made the cut, as did the Upper West Ridge in Woodinville, Queensborough in Bothell and the Crossroads in Bellevue.