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Q13 FOX Season of Giving

Seattle home price acceleration slows, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier to buy

SEATTLE -- Every time Crystal Beal looks at a new home, she tries not to get attached.

“So far it’s been making offers and not ending up with a house,” Beal said Thursday.

She had her eyes on a two-bedroom, one-bath house in Seattle listed for $685,000, but so does another person.

“He came in and just gave her an offer,” Beal said.

Someone made an offer in less than two hours of Thursday’s open house. It’s a game Beal knows all too well.

But now the latest trend coming out of Zillow.com could give Beal some motivation not to give up.

Seattle has seen the greatest slowdown of homes appreciating in value, dropping from number 1 to number 12, according to Zillow.com.

“I call it a normalization. The housing market has been so crazy over two to three years,” Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas said.

But the housing frenzy has already played a role in changing the demographic landscape.

Over a decade, renters have surpassed homeowners in Seattle. In 2006, there were 48% renting in Seattle; by 2016, it jumped to nearly 54%.

Seattle is not the only city. Everett and Tacoma have more renters than homeowners.

In 2006, Tacoma had 45% renting; by 2016, renters became the majority at nearly 51%.

Everett saw rates go from 53% to nearly 57% in the same time period.

“To some degree it is true that kind of housing affordability had made more renters to not buy, but there are long-term factors that pushed renters to rent for longer. Younger adults today are delaying getting married, delaying starting families,” Terrazas said.

Terrazas added that there are number of factors that are driving up renter rates that could affect the kind of policies cities put in place.

“It matters because living near a city, what kind of policies and priorities policymakers give to homeowners versus renters,” Terrazas said.

Beal said although hopeful the market slow down will work in her favor, she says she hasn’t personally felt the benefits as of yet.

“So far I still haven’t seen a huge change in my experience,” she said.

Zillow says although home appreciation is slowing down, they do not predict a crash or home prices to decline.

In fact, Zillow says, the market is still strong in Seattle -- and areas outside of Seattle are seeing even stronger gains. For example, Tacoma home prices are going up by 14% annually, Zillow said.