The official statistic is that we are somewhere around $530,000. However, that number is a little deceiving.
Seattle encompasses a rather large area. Most people think of Queen Anne, Ballard, Capitol Hill, Ravenna, Wedgwood etc. when thinking about where they want to live (at least in my experience). No one says they want to move to Seattle while really meaning Tukwila. However, Tukwila would actually be considered in the national stat on median home price!
The truth is that Seattle “proper” is MUCH more expensive than the official number would indicate. If I pull the neighborhoods most people want to live in (which I’ll define as south to North Beacon Hill, north to Maple Leaf and west to about NW 19th in Crown Hill and to NW 24th in Ballard), then the median price shoots up to $763,750 for about 2,100 square feet.
I only raise this topic because if you, like many, are finding it difficult to find that $650K house in Seattle that doesn’t need to be knocked down, this information might help explain your struggle.
So where do you find a $650K house that is neat, tight and not in too much need?
Well, really you need to look in the north in places like Maple Leaf, or south to North Beacon Hill or Columbia City. Even those neighborhoods are quickly rising in value, so acting quickly will be prudent. Beyond that, there is mid-Beacon on the crest of the hill (east of 24th Ave S and South of Alaska Way) where homes are beautiful—you’ll find mid-century craftsman homes lining wide streets and sidewalks, all while boasting easy access to Columbia City. You can also find decent homes in Matthew’s Beach if you don’t mind a bit more commute. For that, you will be treated with homes on large lots, surrounded by trees with the possibility of peek-a-boo views of Lake Washington. Crown Hill and Whittier and Loyal Heights are also possibilities.
I’m not saying you can’t find a single family closer in with higher walkscores, but if you want three to four bed homes with two or more bathrooms without the need for massive restoration, you might be looking for the proverbial unicorn house.
If neighborhood and walkability are that important, you will need to start considering townhouses. Not only do they provide a higher degree of usability in this price point, but the good news is that they appreciate like a single-family home. Yes, they have lots of stairs, but that is why they are cheaper than single family homes with similar utility. It’s the price we pay! 🙂