Tech to continue driving housing market in 2019

A real estate snapshot from John L. Scott.

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

As 2019 begins, the bustling technology sector in the Seattle area is likely to continue fueling Seattle’s housing market, though there will be some changes. When looking back on December’s market in Issaquah and Sammamish, Karen Lindsay, managing broker and branch manager of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Issaquah office, said things were a bit quiet, though pending sales activity was roughly at the same level as December 2017.

“In our office, we’ve talked to a lot of sellers who have plans to list their homes after the first of the year,” Lindsay said. “I think things like the stock market volatility and interest rates having moved up a bit have affected buyers’ willingness to move forward with purchasing a home. Hopefully, this is just a temporary pause to regroup.”

Recently, J. Lennox Scott, John L. Scott’s chairman and cEO, released his forecast for the 2019 housing market in Puget Sound. Scott noted that despite some headwinds in the residential housing market, there are many positive signs, including job growth, millennials entering the market and interest rates that are still historically low.

“Heading into 2019, we anticipate the more affordable and mid-price ranges in all markets will go up one level of hotness after January 1 to a surge level of sales activity intensity, then transition back down to strong for the remainder of the year,” Scott said. “From January to April, we will see a mild increase in the median home price appreciation, which shows up in closings into June. Then, price appreciation tends to flatten out the remainder of the year due to the large number of new listings that come on the market over the summer, creating dispersed buyer energy.”

Lindsay agrees with Scott’s predictions for the next year, noting the economy is doing well, despite the fall on the stock market, and adding that Seattle’s consistent growth in the technology sector bodes well. When looking toward the spring, Lindsay said she thinks it’ll be a different market from last year, but is still poised to have strong growth.

“I expect a number of sellers may put their homes on the market earlier in the spring than usual, in January or February instead of March or April,” Lindsay said. “These sellers may be hoping to reap benefits of slightly lower inventory levels after the holidays and less competition from everyone else’s home on the market.”

The continued growth and investment in the area’s technology sector from companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia, T-Mobile, Facebook, Google, Apple and Indeed sets a strong base for the local economy. Many tech employees in the Seattle area are millennials, and Lindsay said she expects many of these millennials to enter the home market this year.

“Tech jobs support our economy locally and the jobs pay well enough that the tech employees can buy homes if they are so inclined,” Lindsay said. “Millennials consider home ownership to be a worthy goal, even more so than the generation right before them. Because of the effects of the recession, whether witnessed or experienced by them, millennials have held off on forming households, getting married and starting families for longer than they were expected to – but I think this will begin to change.”

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