Is Amazon to Blame for Seattle’s Slowing Housing Growth?
Amidst Seattle losing its top spot on the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and a slowdown in Amazon hiring, GeekWire asks, “Is Amazon responsible for Seattle’s housing cooldown?” According to the article, in this case, “correlation does not necessarily mean causation,” as market experts say that an increase in the number of homes for sale and fewer buyers on the market are at the root of changes.
As GeekWire outlines, the latest Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) data indicates that “more homes hit the market in the Seattle area than at any time in the last three years in August,” which has meant buyers are graced with more choices, home price growth has slowed, and there are far “fewer of the multiple-offer horror stories that almost every buyer over the last couple years has experienced.” In August 2018, there were 5,803 active homes for sale across NWMLS in King County, which represented a staggering 74 percent increase over August 2017 statistics. It should be noted, however, that the region is still under-supplied in inventory, at just under two months of supply on the market right now. And while home price growth slowed, prices were still up nearly 3-percent year-over-year, with a median home price of $669,000.
The NWMLS reports that though “the days of double-digit price increases across the board are in the rear view mirror, for now at least,” the region will “return to historical averages of about 6 percent annual rises going forward.”
Though Amazon reported employment declines in the first quarter of 2018 for the first time in nine years (due to what CFO Brian Olavsky calls “internal re-shuffling”), there is still ample growth within the technology industry, as Google has expanded the size of its urban campus and Facebook has added a bevy of new jobs related to Oculus, its new virtual reality component.