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Condo prices in South King County surge during pandemic

The value of condominiums in King County increased during the pandemic, with the largest increase in value in South King County, according to a press release by Assessor John Wilson.

The median condominium value in South King County rose by 9% in 2020. The second highest increase occurred in Northeast King County, where condominium values rose by 8.4%. Condominiums along the I-90 corridor rose in value by 7.1%.

The median condominium values in the rest of King County did not increase more than 4%, according to the assessor. Condos in downtown Seattle increased in value by only 2.2%.

The increase in condo values may affect next year’s property taxes for condominium owners. Owners of condominiums will receive a re-evaluation of their property tax shortly. However, taxing districts can only increase property tax by 1% each year regardless of any rise in value.

The main cause of this increase in condo value is due to people not wanting to sell their condos during the pandemic, resulting in a decrease in supply, Wilson said.

Another factor that contributed to the rise in condo values is the surge in single family home prices across King County, Redfin’s Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said.

“Home prices are going up across the board. It started with single family homes back when mortgage rates dropped at the beginning of the pandemic. Single family homes went up, people wanted more space,” Fairweather said. “Now single family homes are incredibly expensive and more people are having to buy condos just because they can’t afford single family homes.”

The reason the condo values increased more in suburban areas is because condos in those areas were more affordable compared to condos in Seattle, so demand was higher, Fairweather said.

In June 2020, condos in southwest King County sold for a median price of $235,000, and in June 2021, that price went up to $270,000, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

The increase in value likely won’t affect condo owners unless they’re looking to sell or refinance, in which case the increase in equity could be a good thing, Fairweather said.

“Buyers are in a really tough spot. Anyone who doesn’t already own a home is going to be in a tough spot because prices are going up for condos, rents are going to rise, housing costs across the board are just going to get more expensive,” Fairweather said. “If you bought before the pandemic, then you’re fine, but if you’re looking to move, you’re probably going to face higher housing costs.”

Building new housing, especially multi-family housing, is one of the best ways to control housing costs in the county, Fairweather said.


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