Most of West Seattle is For Sale

I like living in West Seattle. I really do. But the number of homes for sale worries me–where’s everybody going?

The last numbers I ran a few days ago show that there are 726 homes for sale in West Seattle, which has four zip codes. The average number of homes per zip code, then, is about 181. Maybe I missed the news story about plans for a new nuclear plant or maximum security prison. That’s a lot of for sale signs to be in a single zip code. So many, in fact, that if I could see ten homes every weekend it would take me almost a year and a half to see all of them. And I didn’t even include condos.

Now for the good news. Well, good if you want to buy a house in West Seattle. Not so good if you’re selling. I tallied up the homes for sale per zip code, and their corresponding age (days on market, column headings), and here’s what I came up with:

Zip >180 90-180 60-90 30-60 <30
98116 15 56 22 29 40
98126 19 40 30 33 63
98136 10 39 28 20 117
98146 9 39 41 28 48
  7.3% 24.0% 16.7% 15.2% 36.9%

Approximately one third of homes in West Seattle have been on the market more than three months. What does this tell me? According to Glenn’s post about “real estate science”, this third of homes is probably discounted 8-12% from its original asking price. Homes between 30 and 60 days on the market–the middle third–are discounted anywhere from 2-8%. Anecdotal evidence supports this broad, multi-city statistic: search for homes that have been on the market more than 90 days and look at the price history (you have to scroll down a bit), you’re likely to see one reduction after another.

If individual owners aren’t buying these homes, I’m sure there are plenty of flippers who will. Will the cycle repeat?

  • Rhonda Porter CMPS

    Ryan, I love living in West Seattle too. I’m wondering how many are for sale because of the viaduct?

  • Ryan

    Hi Rhonda,

    Could be. The trouble is, most of my friends here have also recently moved to WS. I don’t know anyone who’s moving away well enough to ask; and those that I know that have moved away for the usual reasons: job transfer, need smaller house, etc.

    I just post in the forum on the West Seattle Blog with this very question of why people are leaving. Maybe we’ll find out:

  • Gene

    I’d actually like to see historical information on this. What percentage of houses are for sale in WS? How does this compare to the last few years and say 10 years ago?

    How about a nice map of Seattle Neighborhoods with data like this for each of them, etc. or at least a comparison?

    Having said that, I loved this posting (especially the nuke plant/maximum security prison comment). There is the prison that looks like it may end up in WS, the pollution report that should be out soon… on top of the Viaduct issue. I live in WS and love it though; however, I am one of the ones holding off on buying for now. The market might recover in 09, but it might also take a couple more years. We’ll see…

  • deb

    Didn’t High Point Development add a ton of new housing units in the area? The number of townhomes, condos, and single family units in the area has had a significant increase on the number of new listings and they are not done building.