Cheapest Homes: March 2012 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
7528 16th Ave SW $99,900 2 1 1,320 6,000 sqft Delridge $76 bank owned
4412 S Kenyon $124,000 2 1 1,640 2,925 sqft Rainier Valley $76 bank owned
9679 51st Ave S $134,950 3 1.75 1,520 5,200 sqft Rainier Valley $89 bank owned

Two of last month’s homes have gone pending, while the third seems to have been just pulled from the market.

Stats snapshot for Seattle Single-Family Homes Under $200,000 (excluding short sales)
Total on market: 78
Average number of beds: 2.7
Average number of baths: 1.4
Average square footage: 1,357
Average days on market: 72

Inventory ticked up a tiny bit, as did the average number of beds. Baths held steady, and square footage inched up a bit more as well.

Here are our monthly “cheapest homes” charts:

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
5606 26th Ave SW $92,000 2 1 930 4,360 sqft Delridge $99 02/23/2012
10631 Renton Ave S $101,000 3 1 1,030 7,679 sqft Rainier Valley $98 02/16/2012
4557 34th Ave S $108,500 1 1 500 3,000 sqft Columbia City $217 02/28/2012

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.


  1. 1

    The Trick to Finding Low Priced Gems in Any Real Estate Market, Even the Seattle Area

    Is dust off that haughty attitude that anything cheap in the Seattle area has got to be junk. If an antique collector had that attitude, they’d go broke.

  2. 2
    Scotsman says:

    Heading into the valley to shop cheap homes? These guys offer fast shipping:

  3. 3
    ARDELL says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    I don’t think anyone thinks that low price of $100,000 or less = “junk” as to the home. The question is what could the value of the land be? Perhaps the metal bars attached to the kitchen windows is a clue? If the land under your house has no value, putting a McMansion on it is lipstick on a pig…no?

  4. 4

    RE: ARDELL @ 3

    Actually Ardell, Crime is Way Down

    Its a conundrum and no one has a simple explanation why. IMO, with high gas and mitigated job opportunities for good pay; the best theory out there is we’re staying home more and crime goes down. My personal jaunts out on the freeways on a Saturday or Friday night seem to support this, the roads are fairly empty at night lately…..the only jamups are like total freeway lane(s) closures for construction.

  5. 5
    Scotsman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 4

    In Washington state total welfare benefits average almost $21/hr pre tax or $10/hour net. It’s above the poverty level. Why take the risk of committing a crime when you can go to the beach and not have to worry about watching your back? Hey, partner up with another FSA person and you can even buy one of these homes!

  6. 6

    RE: Scotsman @ 5

    I Read the same Thing Years Ago

    SE King County has the highest social services in the nation, no wonder its recent years population density increase is off the Richtor Scale.

  7. 7

    RE: softwarengineer @ 6

    There’s Always a Yin and a Yang Though

    Have you seen the lineups at local foodbanks for like a bag of old canned goods and stale bake goods? The one I recently saw in Renton was 3 blocks long.

    IMO, even freebies have a limit and I imagine the waiting lists for low income housing is years now.

    Another conundrum is the severely poor commonly lack the clear mind to effectively apply for the social services effectively, Hades, to just get a $670/mo SSI check would likely require hiring a disability attorney for 10 times that amount or get rejected? That’s why we have mass homeless and the county knows it too and does practically nothing about it, IMO BTW.

  8. 8
    ChrisM says:

    Speaking of cheap properties, a house in Cowlitz county just had a price drop from 99 to 65. However, new notes were added: “Water source is a spring and the manufactured home sits on the septic system.”


  9. 9
    Scotsman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 6

    You’re a heartless bast#rd. These people are suffering, and they deserve every break they can get:

    ‘It’s okay because I’m not working: Woman, 24, who just won $1MILLION lottery and bought a new home all cash is STILL collecting welfare

    Read more:–1m-lottery-winner-STILL-collecting-welfare.html#ixzz1oSZ9x2ve

    As an aside, why do we have to read about events in Michigan in a British paper? The media wouldn’t be in the tank for the left, would it? This is change I can believe in!

  10. 10
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 9 – Give the girl a break. She just paid $500,000 in taxes. She deserves a few freebies that cost a couple of hundred dollars.

  11. 11
    Scotsman says:

    Where are the investor comments? All of these would cash flow with 20% down. The three bedroom would probably be the best, but you can still cram a lot of people into two.

    Really savy investors who like to work all the angles (like some on this site) could borrow the 20% down, finance the rest on a 5/1 arm to cut the payments even further, then stop paying the taxes at the end of year 2 (I believe it takes the county 3 years to process a tax foreclosure). At $1000/mo rent the twenty percent down is repaid in the first three years, then with no tax payments in years 3-5 net cash flow would improve. Stop making the payments in year 4 (a year to foreclose?) and that’s even more cash in your pocket. After year 5 anything you get is frosting on the cake as you walk away. Any of these could be a GEM!

    Can’t beat ’em? Join em!

  12. 12

    RE: ARDELL @ 3
    Neighborhoods change. Some neighborhoods are now thought of as desirable, twenty years theyago weren’t. But some homeowners who’ve lived there a long time haven’t removed the bars from the windows. The opposite is also true. Some neighborhoods have gone bad, but the bars on the windows aren’t there yet, but should be.

  13. 13

    RE: softwarengineer @ 4
    Not all crime is way down. Violent crime is waaay down from 5-10 years ago, but West Seattle, North Seattle, South Seattle, and Renton are all experiencing burglary epidemics. And I just read a couple of months ago that Mercer Island had four burglaries in one week, something that had never happened before.

  14. 14
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 12

    Still begs the question if the house and the land on a combined basis is $100,000…what could the 8,000 sf parcel be worth? Better to get a free house (tear down) on a valuable piece of land, than a “liveable home”…on a piece of land that’s free. Even Tent Cities are on land that is valued higher than that.

  15. 15

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 13

    I Have a Burgular Alarm System In My Window Screens and Doors

    I’ve never been robbed either…..albeit they tried and set off the alarm to the police [5 min BTW] at least a few times.

    It costs me about a dollar a day, well worth it.

  16. 16

    RE: ARDELL @ 14
    What would cause land to be valued at nothing or very little? The valuation of my house changed a few years ago, and the house is currently valued at 1000 dollars and the land two hundred something thousand.. We’ve sunk money into the house. It’s worth way more than a thousand dollars to me. It even has hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity. Are there houses out there where the opposite is true, where the land is valued at 1000 dollars and the rest is house value?

  17. 17

    RE: softwarengineer @ 15
    My house hasn’t been burglarized, though neighbors have. Who knows? Maybe they came in and decided that someone had beaten them to it and the place had already been ransacked:)

  18. 18
    phil says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 9

    She also just made a $43,500 payment to the MI state treasury (4.35% state tax rate). Never could figure out why states make you pay income tax on a state run lottery, where 30% of every dollar you pay already goes to the state (education fund). Talk about double taxation!

  19. 19

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 17

    They Say

    Most burglaries are neighbors [they see when the place is vacant]. I remember when cars got broken into for the $300 GPS, now that they’re $60, its likely safe to leave it visible in the car. You have a good investment mind Ira, all that stuff you buy for your house [even the cheap thin/stapled/fabricated solid wood now-a-days] is worth like 10 cents on the dollar [maybe] or lucky to give it away to the Goodwill if they take it. Burglars know this too….I think they’re looking for precious metals and cash….a good reason to use plastic at public stores, you cash only buyers can be followed home from the store.

  20. 20
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 16

    Home built on Tribal Land. One of my clients just sent me one this morning. Land Value says $0. Purely coincidental. I got the email from my client before you asked the question.

  21. 21

    RE: ARDELL @ 20
    Because on tribal land, the homeowner leases the land from the tribe and owns the home, right? And the value of the land is zero because technically it’s a separate nation?

  22. 22

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 21RE: ARDELL @ 20 – The land was once worth a lot, but then white people started moving in and ruined everything. /Losh

  23. 23
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 21

    I expect so…much like the arrangement for a mobile home. Land Rent. I don’t know for sure. Never sold a home on tribal land, but was just asked about a home in Suquamish-Kitsap.

    Noticed that some very important info is missing from the public view. Yesterday it was “ARCH program only” that did not show in the Public Remarks…only the Agent Remarks. Kind of important info. Same for this Tribal Land. It should be mandatory that these important facts be shown in the public view vs “agent only remarks”. Otherwise it is very misleading and leading people in the wrong direction. Especially that ARCH info. Pretty nasty to show a cheap home…and not note that only income qualified people can buy it. Why should you have to get that info from an agent?

  24. 24
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 22 – Why don’t they go back to the Caucasus mountains and live with the other Turks, Iranians, Russians, Georgians, Azerbaijanis, and Armenians?

  25. 25
    WestSeattleDave says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 5 – Damn — I better quit my job and go on welfare. The Cato study makes it sound like all those welfare recipients are living the high life.

    But wait — that study was done in 1995, 17 years ago. The year after that study, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act”, which fulfilled Clinton’s campaign pledge to “end welfare as we know it”. I bet that put a dent in the monthly check.

    Welfare reform significantly reduced the welfare rolls, making it harder to quality, and had work requirements and a limit on how long you could collect. No more open ended entitlement.

    And to get at that high annual salary, the Cato study assigned before tax values to the other programs that were available to welfare recipients; Medicaid, food stamps, housing and utility assistance, etc. But Scotsman makes it sound that welfare recipients are the only ones getting this kind of assistance.

    We all receive government assistance, just like the welfare folks. We just receive it in a different way. Instead of Section 8 vouchers, we get the mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, and the capital gains exemption on the sale of a house. Instead of Medicaid, we get employer provided insurance that is tax deductible to the employer.

    I bet if you applied the Cato study’s methodology to Scotsman’s income, he’d be a millionaire!

  26. 26
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 22

    If you ask they will tell you no one owns the land. The land belongs to every one.

  27. 27
    Scotsman says:

    RE: WestSeattleDave @ 25

    Hey, nice catch. I obviously missed that, and you are correct about the system changing. I’m glad I was wrong about current payment levels. Something less than a $1,000/mo seems to be about it for a single mother and child now, but it’s harder to find current info. Not the gravy train it used to be.

    It all needs to end, except for the very poor or disabled. I don’t need it, Warren Buffet doesn’t need it, and bottom line is the country can’t afford it.

  28. 28
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 11

    You’re back! I thought for sure the birther discussion had the jackbooted government thugs to your door.

    Investors have been buying these GEMS, to lease option or collect rental income. $666 a month on a $100K investment is 6%. That’s a better return than the bank gives you.

    That’s why Obama wants Hedge Funds to take a bunch of these over. The returns are good, not great, but good enough to stabilize the rents.

    The problem is going to be maintaining the properties. Ask RPA Property Management, or Dave Poletti. Single family homes are a pain that you put up with as long as they are going up in value. When you buy a rental for $100K and it goes up to $120K with a little love that adds to the return.

    However, single family homes need work. One broken faucet is time and materials. A child who flushes his favorite stuffed alligator is $225. It’s all nickles, and dimes, a set of bookkeepers, and management.

    Apartment buildings, with on site manager are easier. The foot print of the dirt is bigger, and the possibility of future appreciation may be greater.

    I think we are five years into a seven year cycle, and when property prices fail to go back up, there will be some panic from investors who have lost other opportunities.

  29. 29
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 21 – I think a significant amount of real estate in Hawaii is actually leased land.

  30. 30

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 21:

    RE: ARDELL @ 20
    Because on tribal land, the homeowner leases the land from the tribe and owns the home, right? And the value of the land is zero because technically it’s a separate nation?

    Even if owned outright, it might be valued at zero because the county can’t tax tribal land. That’s just a guess.

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