How Much House Does $500K Buy You in Seattle?


If you’re looking to buy a home in Seattle, you may already be aware that housing in the city can be expensive to come by. And these days, home values are higher than usual as part of a national trend that’s been fueled by low mortgage rates and limited housing inventory.

If you’re looking to break into the Seattle housing market and have, say, a $1 million budget, you may be in luck. As of May, the median home price in Seattle was $738,000, according to Housing Tides, an EnergyLogic company. That said, in May of 2020, Seattle’s median home price was $585,000, which means these days, it’ll cost you a lot more to put down roots.

But what if your budget is more limited — to, say, $500,000? That may sound like a decent price point to work with, but in Seattle, it unfortunately closes many doors.

Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a Seattle home for $500,000. Let’s explore.

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What $500,000 will buy you

Don’t expect a sprawling property or a high-end condo in a building loaded with luxury amenities if $500,000 is the top of your price range. In a city like Seattle, you’ll need more money than that to snag a huge living space or elite perks.

But that doesn’t mean $500,000 won’t get you anywhere. If you’re willing to live in a condo or townhouse, $500,000 could buy you a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a view. Or, it could buy you a four-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home on a small lot.

In fact, you have a host of options with $500,000 to spend, so if you’re serious about buying a home in Seattle, you’ll need to ask yourself what features and amenities are most important to you. For example:

  • Do you need a specific number of bedrooms to accommodate your family?
  • Is there a minimum number of bathrooms you’re looking for?
  • How important is proximity to restaurants and stores?
  • Do you want a fixer-upper, or do you want a home that’s already been updated?
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Once you nail down your priorities and preferences, you should have an easier time navigating the Seattle real estate market.

Of course, one thing you should know is that right now, home prices are very inflated on a national level, and Seattle is no exception. As such, $500,000 will buy you a lot less house today than it normally would. You may want to consider holding off on buying in Seattle if you embark on a house hunt but don’t fall in love with the properties you see.

Once housing inventory opens up in Seattle, home prices should come down, which means your $500,000 budget will give you a lot more buying power. And also, added inventory means you’re more likely to find a home that meets your needs and requirements. If you’re worried that waiting will mean missing out on low mortgage rates, fear not — there’s a good chance rates will remain competitive for quite some time.

You can absolutely buy a home in Seattle for $500,000. Whether it’s best to do so right now, however, is up for debate. Consider the pros and cons of buying today versus waiting until your $500,000 gets you a lot more.

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