High Seattle Home Prices Now The Subject Of Tasteless Bus Ads

This bus ad was spotted by Redditor /u/moroccahamed on /r/SeattleWA:

Tasteless Codefellows Bus Ad
You know who can afford a house in Seattle? SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS.

I feel like an ad with this kind of message is more likely to add to the already high level of animosity toward software developers than it is to get people to sign up for a coding academy.

Also, learning to code at a code academy isn’t likely to be a magic wand that allows you to afford a home in Seattle. The median price of a house (i.e. single-family) in Seattle last month was $722,250. In order to afford a home that expensive at today’s interest rates you would need to earn about $140,000. According to Code Fellows’ own website (screenshot), the “average starting salary” of their customers is “$70K+,” only about half of what you would need to earn to afford the median-priced home.

Even in the cheapest part of Seattle—NWMLS area 385, Central Seattle SW / Beacon Hill—the median price was $559,950. If we take a more generous salary estimate of $97,000—the average software developer salary across Seattle according to Glassdoor (screenshot)—we still come up short of the $109,000 needed to make a home in SW Seattle affordable.

According to the third-party site Course Report, about 69 percent of Code Fellows graduates earned less than $80,000 after completing their courses. Six percent of their graduates did report earning $110,000 or more, so there is at least a slim chance that you might be able to afford to buy a home in the cheapest parts of south Seattle after completing the Code Fellows courses. More likely though, you’re not part of the lucky few and both you and your significant other are going to need to become software developers to afford a modest house in Seattle.

And of course that’s not even considering the question of how these newly-minted software developers are going to come up with over $100,000 to make a 20 percent down payment. It might be a bit difficult after spending over $20,000 on coding courses.

While the ad may be totally tasteless, at least Code Fellows was responsive to feedback. According to GeekWire, they have already pulled the ads.

Sales Fall Off In Cheap King County Neighborhoods

It’s been a few months since we took a look at the in-county breakdown data from the NWMLS to see how the sales mix shifted around the county. I like to keep an eye on this not only to see how individual neighborhoods are doing but also to see how the sales mix shift affects the overall county-wide median price.

In order to explore this concept, we break King County down into three regions, based on the NWMLS-defined “areas”:

  • low end: South County (areas 100-130 & 300-360)
  • mid range: Seattle / North County (areas 140, 380-390, & 700-800)
  • high end: Eastside (areas 500-600)

Here’s where each region’s median prices came in as of April data:

  • low end: $330,000-$520,000
  • mid range: $559,950-$964,250
  • high end: $699,475-$2,203,000

First up, let’s have a look at each region’s (approximate) median price (actually the median of the medians for each area within the region)…

NWMLS: Home Prices Hit New Highs, Listings Still Scarce

April market stats have been published by the NWMLS yesterday. Here’s their press release: Shrinking inventory putting “stranglehold” on sales

You can practically hear OB Jacobi and J. Lennox Scott drooling over all those sweet, sweet high commissions. At least George Moorhead seems relatively level-headed, pointing out that prices might be getting a bit out of control.

Pending sales have been down year-over-year for three months in a row, and now closed sales have finally declined year-over-year as well. That said, even with the drop, closed sales in April came out higher than the April level in thirteen of the last twenty-four years. Given the continued extreme shortage of inventory, it’s no surprise then that strong demand + very low supply = surging prices.

April Stats Preview: Sales Slip As Inventory Shortage Drags On

NWMLS posted their stats yesterday, but I still want to share the regular monthly “preview” charts here. Now that April done let’s take a look at the local housing market stats for the month. Short story: Inventory is still almost non-existent, and it seems to be finally putting somewhat of a damper on sales.

Sales slipped slightly between March and April in both counties. Listings increased month-over-month, but it was a very weak gain for this time of year.

Case-Shiller: Seattle-Area Home Prices Surged In February

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to February data that was released this morning, Seattle-area home prices were:

Up 1.9 percent January to February
Up 12.2 percent year-over-year.
Up 10.0 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period a year earlier prices were up 1.1 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 10.7 percent.

Seattle home prices as measured by Case-Shiller shot up yet again to a new all-time high in February.

Affordability Index Falls To Early 2005 Levels

With all of the first quarter behind us, and the question of whether or not we’re in another real estate bubble here in Seattle on everyone’s minds, let’s take an updated look at our affordability index charts for the counties around Puget Sound.

As of March, affordability has now fallen to its lowest level since November 2008, and as has been the case for quite a while, it would be considerably worse if not for the current absurdly low interest rates.

Median home prices have already begun their annual spring bump, while interest rates have ticked up slightly. The affordability index for King County currently sits at 90.7.