Eastside market heats up as major tech news hits

What does Amazon’s move to Bellevue mean to surrounding communities?

  • Thursday, April 11, 2019 8:30am
  • Life

Sure as the cherry blossoms blooming every spring, the residential housing market in Kirkland began heating up in March. Mona Spencer, branch manager for John L. Scott’s Redmond office, said brokers in her office are seeing multiple offers on many properties. She noted this reality should be considered by buyers serious about securing their home of choice.

“Buyers need to understand what will make their offer strong enough to reach acceptance with a seller,” said Spencer. “There is some risk again for buyers in the spring market because they are in many instances waiving inspections, appraisal and the protection of a finance addendum.”

In his monthly comments following the Northwest Multiple Listing Service release of March’s housing numbers, John L. Scott chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott said the frenzy market is back on the Eastside in the more affordable and mid-price ranges. Additionally, unsold inventory on the Eastside remains higher than it was in 2018, though still at a severe shortage level.

“March is always the start of the eight months of prime-time selling season when you look at sales activity in the residential market, and this year will be no exception,” said Scott.

Spencer echoed Scott’s sentiments, saying the John L. Scott Redmond office is already seeing a spring surge, with more houses on the market and more buyers out shopping. Adding to this effect is interest rates, which are still in the low range.

The local market is heating up just as major local tech news hit — Amazon announced they are moving their entire Seattle-based worldwide operations team to Bellevue over the next four years, with the migration beginning in April. This will bring several thousand jobs to the Eastside in the years to come, which could significantly affect the job and housing markets of Seattle and the Eastside.

Spencer said this move is bound to shake up the landscape of housing on the Eastside as the migration occurs alongside other business and tech growth in the area.

“Based on the number of people moving into our area, we will see impacts on our infrastructure and demand for housing,” said Spencer. “This move is aligned with planned expansions to light rail and public transit infrastructure on the Eastside, so we anticipate growth in Bellevue as well as the surrounding cities as people look to put down roots.”

As many who witnessed Seattle’s boom when Amazon began expanding rapidly in the city can attest to, much can change in a few short years. However, one segment of the housing market hasn’t seen rapid growth since 2009: new condo development. This is due to an unusual Washington condo liability law that has caused local developers to all-but-abandon condo construction to avoid being sued.

Now, there is bipartisan support for a bill that could encourage developers to build more condos, and at press time it has passed the Senate and is in committee in the House. If it passes and results in new condo construction, Spencer said the area could benefit.

“I believe there is a need for more condos in our areas because they are often more affordable than stand-alone homes,” said Spencer. “Also, many people like the lock and leave lifestyle of condominium living.”

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