Seattle real estate market still hot for now

By: Kriss Sjoblom
2:23 pm
April 13, 2020

The Wall Street Journal has an article about the Seattle-area real estate market: Despite Stay-at-Home Order, Seattle’s Real-Estate Market Continues to Show Up

Multiple offers. Bidding wars. All-cash deals hours after listings go live: This is all still happening in Seattle, the city that four weeks ago was considered an epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, and since March 23 has been under a stay-at-home order barring all nonessential activity.

… While the number of Covid-19 cases in the state continues to grow, the rate is slower than other states thanks in part to early restrictions. But what also distinguishes Seattle from many other major cities is its fast-growing tech sector. While many industries are struggling, some of the city’s tech companies are getting a boost as millions of Americans comply with social distancing orders throughout the country. …

According to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the number of homes and condos sold in the first week of April were higher than in each of the past two years, following a 9.1% increase in March 2020 compared with sales in March 2019. “The market is still very active,” says Dean Jones, principal and owner of Realogics Sotheby’s International, adding that tech clients are making up a lot of the business for his agents. “While there’s plenty of concern, there’s a ‘this too shall pass’ perspective.”

The action is particularly heated in Bellevue. In 2018, Seattle passed the so-called “Amazon Tax,” which slapped new payroll taxes on big business. Although the tax was subsequently repealed, it led some companies to look elsewhere. In April 2019, Amazon announced it plans to move thousands of employees from Seattle to Bellevue by 2023 because of the latter area’s “business friendly environment.”

At the Research Council, we have been worrying a lot about the statewide stay-at-home order’s impact on state and local revenue collections. Perhaps the news will not be as bad as we feared for Real Estate Excise Tax.

Categories: Budget , Economy.
Tags: COVID-19 , COVID-19 & the economy