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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What Your Money Buys Around Here

I suppose a more accurate title would have been "What The Bank's Money Loaned To You At An Adjustable Rate Buys Around Here." That would have been a bit unwieldy though. So just how much can the overextended family buy in Seattle's bubble-rific market? That's the question King 5 News takes on in part one of a three-part real-estate series:

If you've tried to buy or sell a house in Western Washington in the last year you know that the real estate market has been crazy, superheated, with prices going up every month.

But what do you get for your money?

We took a look at what was listed one day recently in three Western Washington counties to see what was available in the half-million dollar range, at the median price for that county and the low end of the scale.

We started with an area that has some of the most expensive residential real estate in the country.

Hang on to your wallet, on Mercer Island, we found a smallish four bedroom, two-bath, 50-year-old home listing for $519,000.

It was the cheapest house for sale on the island [and it] needed some work.
That same half a million would buy you an 18-acre piece of the Cascade foothills far from the bright lights, in Carnation.

Or in the city, a 100-year-old South Seattle home with two bedrooms, and two baths and a lot about a 50th the size of that Carnation property.

Or you can buy into the upper end of a booming urban condo market.

In much of Snohomish County, your home-buying dollar will go much farther, where you can find something pretty nice for $500,000.
Because most people have $100,000 laying around for a down payment, and $2,400 a month to spend on a mortgage. Right.
The median

You'll have to be flexible even in the quarter million range. We found a cute, older home in Auburn for example, priced at $249,000, but it's just half a block from a busy, commercial street.

Another option: $240,000 buys a two-story, three-bedroom townhome in Bellevue. And you're bumping into small lots and very small homes in Seattle or more space, more choices, in the southern suburbs.

Outside the big cities, median price options look remarkably similar across three counties and three prices, $381,000 in King, $270,000 in Snohomish and $267,000 in Pierce County.

In Federal Way, the median home price will get you a backyard pool and three bedrooms just down the street from a saltwater view.

In Lakewood in Pierce County, the median buys three bedrooms, two baths and a home in need of a little updating. But its a tidy, 20-year-old home for a couple or small family.

The same description fits a solid home in Everett, or one we found between Mill Creek and Snohomish.
Yeah, those sound like pretty median houses. Which would be great if the median family making the median wage could actually afford it. Or if the median family worked out in the sticks in Federal Way or Snohomish. But this isn't the Seattle Traffic blog, so I'll keep further comments on that to myself.

(Allen Schauffler, King 5 News, 11.14.2005)

1 comment:

gabosgab said...

That's interesting that you brought this up. I was looking for a home/condo in the Bellevue or Redmond area because of possibly starting a job at Microsoft. I can understand your frustration as I am too. I'm a young college grad looking for a decent home to fix up and sell in 4 to 5 years, and it's going to be extremely difficult.