Cheapest Homes: January 2015 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
9633 59th Ave S $159,900 2 1 690 4,176 sqft Rainier Valley $232 bank owned
10620 55th Ave S $172,000 3 1 1,422 5,240 sqft Rainier Valley $121
10717 55th Ave S $189,000 3 1 1,100 7,350 sqft Rainier Valley $172 bank owned

It’s a clean sweep by Rainier Valley this month, as the prices of the cheapest non-dump homes climbs up closer to the $200,000 mark.

Two of last month’s homes have gone pending, while the third was taken off the market without selling.

Stats snapshot for Seattle Single-Family Homes Under $200,000 (excluding short sales)
Total on market: 12
Average number of beds: 2.6
Average number of baths: 1.4
Average square footage: 1,332
Average days on market: 114

Inventory of non-short sale homes under $200,000 in Seattle dipped slightly from October to November, following the same trend as overall inventory in the county. Beds and baths both inched up, square footage was basically flat, and days on market shot up.

Here are our usual 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 last month, 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
7928 13th Ave SW $165,000 3 1 1,520 4,000 sqft Delridge $109 12/08/2014
8459 50th Ave S $175,000 0 1 1,521 2,500 sqft Rainier Valley $115 12/30/2014
4233 S Kenyon St $177,000 2 1 1,350 6,479 sqft Rainier Valley $131 12/12/2014
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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
    sleepless says:

    Those homes are not worth what they are being asked for. The south-east of Seattle – probably the worst part buy home at. High crime, the school are complete crap, etc…

  2. 2

    What Home Can an Average $60K Seattle Area Household Income Afford?

    $225,000, with a $12K down payment and no student loan debt.

    Monthly Payment $1,115.50
    Monthly Property Taxes $208.33
    Monthly Insurance $50.00
    Monthly PMI $89.10
    Total Monthly Payment $1,462.93
    Monthly Income $5,000.00
    Monthly Debt Payment $310.00
    Actual Front Ratio 29
    Actual Back Ratio 35
    Amount $213,841.79
    Downpayment $11,254.83
    Home Value $225,096.62

    Gosh, even the so-called cheap homes can barely be afforded. The $1500 payment is approximately 1/2 the household income’s net pay. I wouldn’t throw that huge mortgage noose [or rent for that matter] over my head, but that’s just my opinion.

  3. 3

    RE: sleepless @ – Skyway is not a high crime area. I used to say that the criminals from worse neighborhoods would go to better neighborhoods to commit their crimes. ;-)

    There was one apartment house that was a bad situation, but it seemingly has been cleaned up. It was right on the Seattle/King County unincorporated border, and got more attention from the Sheriff, even though it was in Seattle.

  4. 4
    sleepless says:

    RE: softwarengineer @

    What Home Can an Average $60K Seattle Area Household Income Afford?

    Buying with mortgage such a 1990s… No one is buying with mortgage nowadays, everyone is carrying now suitcases full of cash… Got stawks? No? Buy the dip!!! The stawks can only go up from here :)


  5. 5
    sleepless says:

    And on the serious note, I would never buy any of the houses listed above. Seriously, those crap shacks? My current apartment looks 100mm times better… :p

  6. 6
    David B. says:

    10717 55th Ave S looks pretty nice but it has some pretty serious strings attached. From the description of the property:

    “Special program available only to first time homebuyers who qualify. Listing is for the improvements to the property only, land is owned by a non-profit. Land lease is $265 p/month, ask your agent for details.”

    Still, for those who qualify, could be quite the attractive option.

  7. 7
    Carl says:

    RE: sleepless @ – That’s the very southern tip of Seattle, almost Skyway or unincorporated King County. I’d put that area as one of the worst pockets along with parts of south West Seattle and parts of Aurora.

    But I am not sure Mt. Baker and Leschi and Seward Park (all being in southeast Seattle) are really that bad.

  8. 8

    Sometimes places have reputations that are outdated, or only describe a small portion of a much larger , generally nicer area.
    I’d call all of the houses currently on the list Upper Rainier Beach/Rainier View, not far from Kary’s former neighborhood, and maybe 2 1/2 miles from where I live. The blocks south of Kubota Gardens headed towards Skyway are nothing to write home about. You don’t have to go very far to get both perfectly respectable working class/middle class houses and some million dollar homes with lake views.
    Near the Seattle/unincorporated border are both nice and not so nice parts. People look at the zipcode, 98178, and think they’re going to get stabbed or shot if they even enter the zipcode. I wouldn’t call it dangerous. Maybe run down. Maybe depressing. And 5-6 blocks away from some really nice areas.

  9. 9
    Carl says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ – I should also clarify that even though there are some “worst” parts of the city, they are nothing compared to the worst parts of other major cities (think Chicago, Phi, Atl, LA, etc . . . ).

    South Park and Skyway would be considered nice in many other cities.

  10. 10

    I’ve been in two of the three houses, and I wouldn’t call either of them crap shacks, although each of them has a characteristic I would personally avoid (different one for each property). I was in one of them when it was listed before the peak. As I recall, it was over $300k, which shows how not all the areas have fully recovered.

  11. 11

    RE: Carl @ – South Park has three microbreweries. If that’s not an indicator of transitioning neighborhood, I don’t know what is.

  12. 12
    Deerhawke says:

    Let’s face it. Much of the disdain for these neighborhoods is about race. Look beyond that and you might see that these areas represent real opportunity.

    In the mid-90’s I met a young guy straight out of the UW ho had put together his own REIT funded by his father’ s friends. He believed in the unlikely proposition that the Central District was going to turn around. He bought a couple dozen properties with an average price of under $30k. He even traded a used car for one. Some were single family but most were L-zone properties. He believed that once white people realized how close the CD was to the city, they would put their commute above their racism and move there.

    He fixed them up cheaply (Remember Ernst and Pay’N’Pak?) and rented them out. He did the work, the investors got paid interest out of the rents, and he owned 80% of the upside. It was a lot of work,but in the lend it paid off. He sold the whole portfolio in bits and pieces in 2004 and 2005. The properties sold for an average of around $400,000.

    After he paid all the bills, he told me he netted $250k per unit. Not bad for a guy whose main bet was against racism.

  13. 13

    RE: softwarengineer @

    Student Loan Debt Makes Seattle Home Affordability for “So-called” Cheap Homes

    Far Worse, and don’t expect principle forgiveness on this debt, its not in the cards:

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