From the roof of their apartment building on Seattle’s First Hill, Dominick Pham and his fiance, Sarah Cheung, can see the Luma condos rising. The couple, who have rented for two years, recently made a down payment on a $465,000, one-bedroom unit there. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
Both homes and condominiums saw prices rise in August at the fastest 12-month pace seen this year, according to data released Thursday.
The path to homeownership for Dominick Pham and Sarah Cheung was short. Two blocks, actually.
The engaged couple, Maryland transplants in their late 20s, had forked out rent for two years at a new, luxury apartment tower on First Hill. This summer, they noticed the Luma condominiums being built nearby and jumped at the chance to buy a one-bedroom unit on the lower floors.
“Why pay rent when that could go toward a mortgage?” thought Pham, a software engineer. “This is the perfect opportunity.”
Across the region, home prices are zooming skyward, driven by new buyers like Pham and Cheung, a record-low inventory and expectations of higher interest rates.
In August, the median price of single-family homes in King County was $499,950, 14 percent higher than a year ago. Condos fetched a median $299,250, a 20 percent gain over last year, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. In both, the gains were the biggest 12-month jump seen so far this year.
The biggest jump occurred in Seattle, where the median single-family-home price was $575,000, a 15 percent annual gain, and median condo price was $395,000, 32 percent more than a year ago. A big factor in the soaring Seattle condo prices is the handful of new downtown projects, where units can cost $600,000 or more.
In Snohomish County, August’s median single-family home price was $366,825, or 11 percent higher over the year; in Pierce, $255,000, up 6 percent; and in Kitsap, $259,975, or 6 percent higher.
In the four-county region, there were 7,792 pending sales — mutually agreed sales contracts that haven’t closed yet — the highest level for August since 2005, the MLS said.
VIA Seattle TImes.
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