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Old 05-21-2014, 12:40 PM
 
26 posts, read 106,738 times
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Hi,
I are in the process of moving to Seattle area due to job situation. I understand that property market is crazy right now - multiple offers, people paying cash, price over list, waive appraisals/inspections etc.

Is the situation the same across all areas - or is it limited to certain locations?

We live in Texas, so housing cost is a sticker shock, and we kinda expect that. We're trying to steel ourselves as much as we can for this.

Questions:
1. Between Redmond/Bellevue/Issaquah and Lynnwood/Bothell/Mountlake Terrace and Renton/Kent/Auburn area - will we run into the multi-offers situation on all of them?

2. We see price disparity by quite a bit, btw Redmond/Bellevue/Issaquah vs Renton/Kent/Auburn on comparable properties, why is that? Demographics, school systems, crime statistics or what?

3. What is the commute like from each of those areas above if the work site is near South Lake Union or downtown Seattle?

4. Is public transit a good option for the commute or are we better off with a car?

5. We read about buyers with cash, or substantial down payment, which certainly won't be us. We'll be hard-pressed to spend 10% on a $350K property. On the other hand, rental cost seems to also be somewhat crazy. Not sure if we want to spend more than $2K per month on a rental property for a year or so.

We have 2 properties here, 1 is a rental in Dallas area, the other is a primary residence. If we were to sell the primary residence, we could get maybe $90K out of it, after we paid the principal. But even $90K is just 25% on a $350K property. We're not sure either if the market is sustainable this way. We're wary about putting a big chunk of cash, then the market regressed.

Thanks beforehand.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:12 PM
Status: "Enjoying the winter" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
34,062 posts, read 61,960,043 times
Reputation: 37996
The price difference is all of the above ( Demographics, school systems, crime statistics) and also easier commute to job centers such as Redmond, Bellevue and Seattle. The multiple offers over asking are mostly in areas with the best schools on those few homes under $600,000. Public transit has been great until now, I use it from Sammamish to the Belltown/waterfront area but there will be major cuts with cancelled or reduced routes in September. It does take longer but eliminates the gas/maintenance on the car, expensive parking fees, and headaches from slow & congested traffic. Many employers subsidize the transit (ORca card) but do not offer free parking. You would not likely find anything other than a small condo in Redmond/Bellevue/Issaquah for $350k, nor to rent for $2,000. The areas north that you mentioned do not have the same craziness with multiple cash offers and super-high rent. I can't guess what the market will do any better than you can, but our home in Sammamish is now back to what it was worth in 2006, up 13% in the last year.Most of the other areas you mentioned have gone up even more, but were (and still are) lower to begin with. As the homes in this area become less affordable, those north may escalate even more since they will still be more affordable and therefore have increased demand, so could be a great investment and place to live. All have good schools, but some may also have lesser schools, you have to do the research when it comes to Renton/Kent/Auburn and Lynnwood.
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Old 05-21-2014, 02:14 PM
 
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1. Right now the market is pretty frothy, but it can't stay that way. As prices rise, more people will put their houses on the market. A year ago, a house in Redmond or Issaquah would get multiple offers, but a house in Kent or Renton would linger. But right now, even fairly nice homes in the nicer parts of Lynnwood or Renton are seeing multiple offers. But I just can't see that continuing for all that long.
2. Price disparity: Part of it is proximity to high paying jobs. There are a lot more high paying jobs in Redmond than there are in Kent. Also, the eastside has uniformly better schools. There are very few mediocre/bad schools in Issaquah and Redmond, where Renton and Kent are more of a mixed bag- They have pretty good and pretty bad schools. Also, Kent, Renton, Auburn, and Lynnwood all have areas that are higher crime. Still relatively tame compared to high crime areas in most parts of the US, but in all those places the small parts of those towns with higher crime rates gives the entire place an unfair reputation. And yes, the median income and education levels are higher in places like Issaquah. But Kent, Renton, and Lynnwood all have educated people, and perfectly respectable middle class neighborhoods.
3. The commute from Renton and Kent to downtown Seattle isn't bad. Auburn's OK if you take the Sounder train, but otherwise it can take forever. Lynnwood's fine if you avoid rush hour or take an express bus. Same goes for nearby Mountlake Terrace, which has especially fast express bus service. If you can find a train or express bus, it's better than driving. Often faster, and much less stress.
5. Plenty of people are still buying houses with 20% down and less. With less than 20% down, you still have to pay the extra mortgage insurance(which only protects the lender, not you, but you have to pay for it) and if you use an FHA loan, you can't get rid of that mortgage insurance. Otherwise, when you have 22% equity, whether that's by making payments or by a rising market, you can get rid of it, as long as it's not an FHA loan.
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Old 05-21-2014, 02:35 PM
 
20,888 posts, read 12,980,499 times
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Bothell used to be the economical choice, where you got Eastside suburban, Northshore schools and an entry level price for new in the mid to upper $400s. They have a park and ride in Canyon Park, they have a large business park in North Creek with businesses such as Google, AT&T and across from the Seattle Times, a University of Washington branch campus shared with Cascadia Community College and a very large redevelopment project going on in downtown Bothell, Country Village, etc.

Now, the base price for a new house in Bothell is more like $550K going toward $600-$700+. There are a lot of new housing developments along 228th in Bothell, a new development across from Woodinville High School (so Woodinville bordering Bothell) and so on but none will be in the $350K range. You could go further north where Lynnwood will be less expensive but a different school district and not quite as nice.

Last edited by Seacove; 05-21-2014 at 02:51 PM..
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