Key Highlights

  • Washington State early epicenter of COVID-19 and under shelter-in-place restrictions since March 23
  • Potential homebuyers searching for “fair prices” in Seattle still facing multiple offers, bidding wars and all-cash offers in hours after listings go live.

Washington State is distinguished by being the first state to report a COVID-19 death. Seattle is also distinguished by its super fast growing tech sector. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are all hiring new workers to deal with the coronavirus and many of these new workers are flooding into Washington State from other parts of the country in need of housing.

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Meanwhile, along with Seattle’s market being extremely tight pre-COVID, new listings in the Seattle area are currently down by some 67% from last year due to anxiety about the future and spreading the virus.

Data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service indicates that the number of single-family homes and condos sold during the first week of April was higher than in the respective April’s of 2019 and 2018. Also, March 2020 saw the number of sold homes increase +9.1% compared to the same time period in 2019.

Dean Jones, principal and owner of Realogics Sotheby’s International said that tech clients are the “dominant” clients in his business. “The market is still very active…while there’s plenty of concern, there’s a ‘this too shall pass’ perspective.”

Contracts are being written with “COVIC-19” clauses that allow for flexible closing delays in case one person of the couple gets sick or in case shelter-in-place restrictions continue to delay home “prepping” before moving in and/or moving in altogether because moving services, though technically allowed, are limited.

Developers are not quite as busy as agents in the Seattle area as they rely on sales and marketing events that aren’t currently allowed. Still, developers are selling their inventories by using virtual tours and digital viewing options. And, developers are offering buyers the option of reserving units in lieu of purchase and sales agreements.

So, welcome to Seattle, new residents…good luck on finding a place to live.

Thanks to MansionGlobal’s Nancy Keates.

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