Why are condos in Seattle so rare and expensive?

Things are changing in Seattle.

The average home in Seattle costs over a million dollars. And now, rising interest rates have made mortgages more expensive. Homebuyers just can’t seem to get a break.

Condominiums used to be a gateway to homeownership. Even if you didn’t have a big nest egg, you could get your foot in the door and own a tiny slice of the “American Dream” while saving up for something bigger.

What happened?

In my neighborhood, there’s a sign in front of a property, announcing the construction of a new apartment building. Someone has graffitied it with a message containing an expletive – it says, “F_____ condos.”

But the building under construction isn’t condos, it’s apartments. Actual condos that you can buy are much harder to find.

In fact, there may be only one significant condo project opening in Seattle next year: The Graystone.

Luis Fernando Borrero is with Daniels Real Estate, the developer of the 31-story Graystone condominium tower on First Hill, across the street from St. James Cathedral.

He takes me up the construction elevator to one of the unfinished floors. From there, we have uninterrupted views of Smith Tower, the Duwamish River, and Puget Sound.

On the concrete floor are lines marking where the walls will go. I walk along the outline of one. It’s a studio. Borrero says it’ll sell for around half a million dollars.

“Every time you put something on social media, people [say] – ‘Ah, you thieves, how can you charge $500,000 for whatever.’ Well, look where we live. The median [home price] is $900,000. So actually, we have affordable units, as part of the mix, we have middle-income units and we have luxury units on the upper floors. Like a community, like a system, like a city is. We have room for everyone.”

The Graystone Private Lounge
Timing the housing market
You’re gonna get sued
Money and how much developers can ask of condo buyers in advance