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Million-dollar homes becoming the norm in Seattle, on Eastside

SEATTLE — Million-dollar homes are no longer just in the luxury housing market.

If you want to buy a nice house in Seattle, get ready to shell out up to seven figures.

More than 30% of all homes sold in July in Seattle went for more than $1,000,000.

“Some of the homes that are selling for a million dollars, they were listed right around 800 to $850,000; they are getting bid up to a million to a $1.2 million,” said broker Kirk Russell, with the realty firm John L. Scott.

That means for many first-time home buyers, obtaining the American dream is getting harder or nearly impossible in King County.
And some people who already own homes are also feeling the squeeze.

“It was getting to the point, can we afford our house? Should we not capitalize on what's going on in the city?" Ballard resident Rich Lindsay said.

Lindsay’s cozy, Tudor-style home in Ballard didn’t always look so pristine.

“We decided to make an investment,” Lindsay said.

For the past 16 years,  Lindsay poured a lot of love into the home, transforming a rundown house into what it is today.

So saying goodbye isn’t easy.

“To leave it after 16 years is really hard,” Lindsay said.

But it’s the right decision for Lindsay, with the cost of living and property taxes rising.

On the Eastside, the market is even more brutal for buyers. Last month, about 40% of all homes sold there cleared more than $1 million.

“We have 60 first-time home buyers right now; many of them have been looking for over a year, it’s massive frustration” Bentley Properties owner George Moorhead said.

Moorhead says new construction is selling for top dollar, which is then fueling the market.

He says places like Bothell and Mill Creek that were once considered affordable several years ago are not any more.

“Shocking is a plat in Bothell starting at a million, that is unheard of,” Moorhead said.

Moorhead says buyers on a budget have to move farther out.

“Down to Pierce County and Kitsap County, that's where people have to go to find affordable housing,” Moorhead said.

As for Lindsay, he's leaving the state altogether after selling his Ballard home.

“They came in with an offer that basically was too good to be true. We listed it for $899,000, sold in virtually one day for over a million dollars,” Russell said.

It's a home Lindsay bought for $350,000; the profit he is about to make is unbelievable.

“I am still in shock. I truly can’t believe that my home is worth a million dollars,” Lindsay said.