Seattle is booming with tourists, and it’s one of the best cities to live in from North America, and let’s be honest, the world. Starting from hip cafes to 5-star restaurants and a large variety of green spaces, the Emerald City has it all.
However, when you have it all as a city, it does not mean that real estate prices are always going to go up. As any other market in this globalized economy, what goes up one day can go down the next day.
But what does all of this mean when it comes to Seattle real estate marketing? Is it rising, or is it in decline? What can cause this industry to bloom and what can cause it to decline? The variety of factors is unlimited, so let’s stick to the basics.
Here’s the Scoop
According to The Seattle Times, real estate prices in Seattle have dropped from May to June in King County for the first time since the recession. It is mainly because the traditional competition among buyers has started to weaken and the number of homes up for sale has increased significantly.
Taking into account this factor, real estate marketing, as we know it, started declining. It leads to real estate agents and marketers to start rethinking their strategies to attract more customers, especially in this type of situation.
Seattle’s real estate marketing needs to go beyond just opening a mandatory Zillow account (mandatory if you want real results) and simply wait for the right customers to appear.
The online world is a fast-paced place, and if you can’t keep up with the times, you might as well quit because you will never make it. People are looking online for just about everything today, so this is where real estate marketing needs to be on its A-game.
Real estate marketing is declining only when the people in charge are not placing a strong accent on their online presence. Sure, it’s nice, to offer regular real-life tours of the neighborhood to show potential clients that are new to Seattle where they could purchase a new home. However, this is not enough anymore.
The Chinese Connection
Seattle, as most of us know, has always enjoyed a robust Asian culture. The Pacific Northwest city has seen a great wave of recent Chinese buyers of US real estate. It was both Chinese investors and families who were looking to send their children to American schools and universities that have primarily fueled the housing demand in Seattle over the past several years.
For instance, the nearby Canadian city of Vancouver put a 15% tax on foreign home buyers, in their attempt at cooling its overheated real estate market. As expected, this Canadian tax only made more Chinese investors look south of the border and into Seattle, as a means of avoiding the tax.
But starting somewhere in June 2018, around the time the US entered in a bit of a trade war with China, the country’s currency (the Yuan) began to decline by comparison to the US dollar. This trend will see Seattle going in the opposite direction as it did some two years ago. Now, this doesn’t mean that the housing market will crash, or anything like that, but there will be a cooling off period.
In May 2018, the number of homes available on the market in King County (where Seattle resides) had risen by up to 47% as compared to the same month in 2017. The increase in supply is indicative of the real estate market going through a cooling period.
In an interview for CNBC, Stephen Saunders, managing broker with Coldwell Banker Seattle, said about the Chinese market that “It’s drying up. I just don’t see the same kind of volume. The downtown Seattle condo market has come to a grinding halt, and that’s where Chinese buyers were.”
He also went on to say that it’s not only the decline of the Chinese currency that’s to blame. It’s also the fact that it’s becoming increasingly hard for Chinese investors to get their finances out of China. As for the families looking to buy a home for their children, the market “dried up substantially,” over the past ten months, or so.
Over the past decade or so, Seattle’s housing market has also benefited immensely in thanks to the region’s largest employer – namely, Amazon. And even if there were some concerns during the first part of the year, regarding the local head tax, which would have resulted in a hiring slowdown, Amazon was quick to pressure lawmakers into repealing it. Nevertheless, the business giant did, however, report its first employee decline since 2009.
Today, Amazon employs over 40,000 workers at its Seattle headquarters. Nevertheless, it’s planning on opening a second headquarters, but no location has been given as of yet. When this happens, it can only be expected that at least some of the employees currently working out of Seattle will have to relocate, which will, most likely, affect the local housing market.
But while Amazon is undoubtedly a significant player in the area, it was only a catalyst that brought more of the tech industry in the area. In other words, it’s not just Amazon that was boosting the local neighborhoods, but other start-ups in the industry. And let’s not forget that Microsoft is also based in the Seattle area.
What Does This Mean?
According to the same article in The Seattle Times, the number of houses available on the market in Seattle is starting to rise for the first time in a decade. It opens up new doors and new real estate marketing techniques.
We are no longer living in the era of extreme bidding wars and lightning-fast sales, due to the large variety of homes available on site, and, of course online. It is why the importance of real estate marketing is not to be taken lightly because it can make the difference between having 10 to 20 calls for a listing, as opposed to just a few calls a week.
The offers are starting to pile up in Seattle’s real estate scene, and with them, it will ramp up the entire real estate marketing industry. When all parties involved put their best effort into their job, everybody walks away knowing that they’ve made the right decision, no matter what that may be.