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Seattle's Real Estate – Is It A Buyer's Or Seller's Market?

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Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a house or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to seattle@curbed.com. Today, real estate expert Christian Nossum, founder of RealesDate, provides some very helpful thoughts on whether or not this is the time for buyers or sellers in Seattle.

Is now a good time to buy or sell a home in the Seattle area? Is it still a buyer's market, or is it a seller's market? These are common questions for real estate agents right now, and we're going to give you the down low.

In short, in the past 6 months we have transitioned from a buyer's market to a seller's market. We have seen homes being snapped up like crazy, with multiple offers, bidding wars, more all cash purchases, and rising home values. If you've been waiting for a healthier economy to put your home on the market, now's your time to think about making a move.

Does this mean that it's a bad time to be a buyer? Not at all. In fact, we strongly encourage prospective home buyers to consider purchasing sooner rather than later. The reason for this is because interest rates are still at historically low levels- but they won't stay there for long. Did you know that the interest rate of your home can have a much larger impact on your budget than the actual purchase price of your home? It's sometimes better to pay $10,000 more for a home than to get locked into a higher interest rate.

The summer season is real estate's busy time. There are more people looking to buy homes, and there tend to be more homes on the market. If you wait until winter time to purchase a home, you will find fewer homes on the market. However, your negotiation powers may increase as the homes that are available have likely been for sale longer, and the sellers may want to make a deal. This is especially true during the holiday season, when the real estate market is deader than a doorknob.

Cities throughout Washington State have seen the effects of a pickup in real estate values and home buying and selling activity, and although each city's economic situation is unique, we believe that now is a very compelling time to consider moving up and moving out.

Christian Nossum is a Seattle real estate expert and the founder of RealesDate.