Cheapest Homes: November 2011 Edition

Let’s check in again on the cheapest homes around Seattle proper. Here’s our methodology: I search the listings for the cheapest homes currently on the market, excluding short sales, in the city of Seattle proper. Any properties that are in obvious states of extreme disrepair based on listing photos and descriptions will be excluded. This includes any listing that uses the phrases “fixer,” “rehab loan,” or “value in land.” I post the top (bottom) three, along with some overall stats on the low end of the market.

Please note: These posts should not be construed to be an advertisement or endorsement of any specific home for sale. We are merely taking a brief snapshot of the market at a given time. Also, just because a home makes it onto the “cheapest” list, that does not indicate that it is a good value.

Here are this month’s three cheapest single-family homes in the city limits of Seattle (according to Redfin):

Address Price Beds Baths SqFt Lot Size Neighborhood $ / SqFt Notes
5357 S Creston St $82,900 3 2 2,020 6,450 sqft Rainier Beach $41 bank owned
3823 17th Ave SW $112,000 1 1 560 1,594 sqft North-Delridge $200 bank owned
7916 14 Ave SW $112,000 2 1 720 4,000 sqft Highland Park $156 bank owned

The home that had been hanging on in the top three, 522 S Concord, finally went pending, while both of the other two homes featured last month have already sold.

Stats snapshot for Seattle Single-Family Homes Under $200,000 (excluding short sales)
Total on market: 84
Average number of beds: 2.7
Average number of baths: 1.3
Average square footage: 1,275
Average days on market: 74

Inventory, baths, square footage, and days on market all slid between October and November, while beds held steady. It seems that even the bottom end of the market is headed into winter already.

Here are a couple of charts to give you a visual of the trend of these numbers since I adjusted the methodology in April 2010:

Seattle's Cheapest Homes: Stat Trends
Seattle's Cheapest Homes: Stat Trends

Here are cheapest homes in Seattle that actually sold in the last month in arms-length transactions, regardless of condition (since most off-market homes don’t have much info available on their condition).

Address Price Beds Baths SqFt Lot Size Neighborhood $ / SqFt Sold On
7920 15th Ave SW $68,000 3 1.0 1,260 4,200 sqft Delridge $54 10/12/2011
3036 SW Roxbury St $80,000 3 1 950 5,000 sqft Delridge $84 10/25/2011
4249 S Findlay St $84,900 3 1.0 1,090 7,828 sqft Columbia City $78 10/07/2011

I received a note last week from the buyer of a home that didn’t quite make the list, but was one of the ten cheapest homes sold in Seattle in October.

I just purchased what I believe to be one of the cheapest homes in Seattle in October of this year; sadly, it didn’t make your list, but in the present condition quite habitable. Regardless, I thought you might like a street-level view of the housing bubble from one of these purchasers – namely, me.

At the peak (2006) this house sold for 305k. That’s quite a discount for Seattle, even for a government owned home.

I sold a house in Wallingford in 2009 that I owned for 10 years (through Redfin) and socked the money away ($290k in 2000, $475k sale price after much effort) and now own a home mortgage-free. West Seattle/Highland Park sure isn’t Wallingford, but free-and-clear sure isn’t a $250k mortgage, either.

At the while, friends questioned my choices (why sell – it’s worth so much, all the way to why sell – it’s worth so much less). I do feel that I was very close to the heart of the bubble.

I certainly didn’t ‘want’ to sell my Wallingford home, any more than a person deeply underwater wants to lose theirs. But at some point, the numbers don’t lie, and it’s the best/smartest thing to do at a given time in one’s life.

Great story. Way to take advantage of the market and put yourself in a strong financial situation.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    ChrisM says:

    The Creston property illustrates a question I have – in the price history there’s no record of a foreclosure, but it is listed as bank owned. At what point in the chronology did the property go back to the bank?

    Also, looking at the pictures, aren’t there setback requirements for adjoining properties? In the main photo, the neighboring property appears to be about a foot from the fence…

  2. 2
    The Tim says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 1 – Regarding the foreclosure, not sure why it isn’t displaying on Redfin, but King County records for the house show that it went back to the bank on 12/09/2010.

  3. 3
    Scotsman says:

    The Delridge play house once sold for $320,000? Really? Just shoot me. Along with the realtor that listed it, the one who sold it, and the banker who approved the loan.

  4. 4
    Matt says:

    Man…hard to read this when there are so many from West Seattle. Even one on my street. Double ouch. Looks like it’s still time to get comfy.

  5. 5

    RE: Scotsman @ 3

    The Banker that Made the Loan

    Assuming it was Freddie or Fannie [like almost all loans the couple years are], the horrifying loss will be picked up by us, the taxpayers…..then after us taxpayers sink like $100s of Billions into this Freddie/Fannie Ponzi Scheme, guess what? The Freddie and Fannie upper management are all getting big $13 Million bonuses for screwing up ROYAL.

  6. 6
    Scotsman says:

    Hmmmm. They may have split a second lot off of the Delridge play house, although I’m a bit surprised they could get such a small lot approved.

  7. 7

    Not commenting on the Creston listing itself, but the street is pretty nasty. The local store is affectionately known as ” Ghetto Mart” which is directly across the street from an apartment building where people stand around aimlessly outside. I don’t think it’s because they’re fans of fresh air.

  8. 8

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 7:

    Not commenting on the Creston listing itself, but the street is pretty nasty. The local store is affectionately known as ” Ghetto Mart” which is directly across the street from an apartment building where people stand around aimlessly outside. I don’t think it’s because they’re fans of fresh air.

    Hasn’t that apartment been cleaned up for some time now? I haven’t noticed anyone outside my last several trips past the place.

    What I heard from one source was the apartment was Seattle and the store unincorporated King County. The sheriff was apparently more useful in keeping things under control than the SPD.

  9. 9

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8

    Thank God the Economic Downturn is Making Violent Crime Go Way Down Lately

    Or hopefully some day SWE will say, “thank God the economy improved and that neighborhood’s violent crime surged as people went out again and mingled [with evidently FAR more risks involved], instead of having their parties and such at private homes and saving their rubles”.

  10. 10

    RE: softwarengineer @ 9 – BTW, I wouldn’t describe that area as high crime, especially if you don’t count drug sales. I used to buy beer and other stuff quite frequently at the store Ira mentioned, and I’d walk through there with some frequency.

  11. 11
    David Losh says:

    How could I have missed this?

    “Great story. Way to take advantage of the market and put yourself in a strong financial situation.”

    I sold in Wallingford, and bought in West Seattle/Highland Park.

    Oh yeah, baby, nothing like tying up cash in West Seattle Highland Park. Where do I begin? I have so many Highland Park stories. Of course it’s changed greatly… oh come on I can’t keep a straight face on this one.

    Never, ever think that just because you don’t pay a mortgage that you will come out ahead on a place to live. Just think, you don’t need to pay nothing for a card board box.

  12. 12
    tomtom says:

    The Creston home is pending as of today.

  13. 13

    […] three of last month‘s homes are currently […]

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