Real estate booms in Sammamish despite pandemic
Throughout the summer and into the fall, real estate has been in high demand across the country. Residents in metropolitan areas are looking to the suburbs where more comfortable living conditions for life at home, such as indoor space and a backyard, are available.
According to CNBC, more than half of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas are seeing increased interest in the suburbs.
An exodus from the city to the suburbs has drawn mass attention and competition to the suburban real estate market. Residential property in communities outside cities like New York and Seattle have seen record attention, putting pressure on the housing supply.
In Seattle and the surrounding King County, low supply and high demand has caused prices to rise steadily. According to the Seattle Times, just in the last few months the median house price increased from $727,500 in July to $746,000 in October.
The national trend has hit Sammamish as well. Its high concentration of wealth and lofty home price tags have yet to deter buyers.
Bob Papke, 64, a ReMax real estate agent of 15 years working in Sammamish, has seen firsthand the new demand. With a focus on Eastside homes, Papke reports a major uptick in sales.
“We’ve had a very strong year in terms of sales. About 40 to 50 percent of homes have sold over list price within seven to 10 days. Two-thirds of homes have sold in two weeks or less,” Papke said. “It’s been really hot for those who have put homes on the market.”
Despite a median home value in Sammamish of $994,886, according to the Zillow Home Value Index, affordability has not been an issue because of the presence of high-tech companies in the area. Papke thinks the price will only continue to increase. The availability of high-paying jobs, coupled with increased remote work, have created a perfect storm for heavy suburban real estate demand. New residents are flooding in as big tech companies hire people from all over the world to come work on the Eastside.
“Because of Amazon moving to Bellevue, Facebook coming in, and others like Microsoft doing well, I think Sammamish is going to continue to appreciate extremely well,” Papke said.
However, potential buyers who can afford elevated prices in Sammamish are not just looking for an average home anymore.
Sunnie Lim, 50, has been running her own home staging company, Harmony Staging, on the Eastside for 14 years. She reports that clients have expressed different needs when selling a home. Due to flexible remote work situations, many recent buyers see houses with extra room for office space and privacy as more attractive.
“I am staging to show that the house being listed has enough room for the demand of families who are working from home. For example, sometimes I’ll stage a bedroom or a den as an office,” she said.
Lim said her practice is in huge demand, even as the real estate market has suffered low inventory. Because of a plunge in mortgage interest rates, many people have chosen to refinance their existing homes, rather than sell their home to buy a new one. When houses do go on the market, they have been going fast. The houses that Lim has been staging are selling in just one to two weeks.
Papke predicts the real estate frenzy may last a while, noting that during a usual year, the fall is slower. But this year, autumnal demand has kept up with the high pace of sales from the summer.
“Instead of falling off during the holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving, I think it’s going to be pretty steady. Then all bets are off to see what we’ve got for next year,” Papke said.