Some may misunderstand what I’m trying to say. I’m not suggesting that you have to purchase a home in order to demonstrate your commitment to community or your city. And I’m not arguing against the idea that home ownership can be an obsession in our culture – a false sign of success and another notch in the upward mobility lifestyle. Those are all legitimate conversations but I still believe that for most – owning a home is a great investment and a legitimate consideration for prayer and your stewardship philosophy.
Before our church merger, the average age in our census last year was 26 for men and 24 for women. My unscientific guess was that we had less than 5% home ownership within our congregation. We’ve had lots of turnover and my encouragement to the young folks at our church has been: “If Seattle is your city and you intend to live here, then buy a home…”
Well, we all know it’s not that easy. Housing prices have skyrocketed here in Seattle and frankly, it’s pushing people outside the city and it’s too bad. I’ve had numerous younger folks in our church community – single and married – trying to purchase in the city but they’re left with the choice of buying a 1000 sq. feet condo in the city for $350K or get into a single home way out in the burbs somewhere. Others simply can’t even come close to buying a home because of financial reasons. The median price now in Seattle recently topped $500K for the first time.
Now, let me explain what I was trying to say couple Sundays ago since I received several emails from irritated folks. My general statement was that it was my hope that the Seattle housing market would crash by about 30%. I don’t intend ill will or harm to your investments or home property. But seriously, something has to give regarding the housing market here. The Seattle city council is supposedly working towards making affordable housing and mid-level work force housing more available in the city but umm…we’ll see how that turns out. While we’ll be personally affected since we’re looking to sell our home in the next year, I really do hope that the housing market will crash in Seattle as it’ll provide a solid window for prospective buyers to purchase, root, and invest deep into their local neighbors and the city of Seattle. So, while we’re hearing reports that Seattle is a super-city that’s immune to the housing woes across the country…
Nationwide, home prices are falling, sales are sluggish and the number of foreclosures is mounting. Ask any economist and you’ll hear that things are bad, and likely to get worse.
Unless you live in Seattle, where the market is slowing but fundamentals remain strong.
The Emerald City has experienced strong price appreciation over the last six quarters, and that’s expected to continue in the new year, though at a slower pace.
…but more recent real estate numbers seem to indicate that Seattle is not immune to the nationwide woes. Time will tell if it’s simply a hiccup or a legitimate downturn.
Purchasing a home is good on many levels and it’s also a solid stewardship decision. We bought our first home in 2000 in a town called Snohomish, Washington – about 15 minutes from the church we were pastoring at in Lynnwood. We bought a brand new home – 1800 square feet with a huge back yard – for get this…$184,000. That home has since increased in value according to Zillow’s to about $380K+. Unfortunately, we sold the home in 2002 after taking a year to look for a place in Seattle. Building equity in our home has allowed me not only to honor my commitment to my family and children, but give generously to the missions of our church, and think creatively about other ways to live out our convictions and faith in Christ.
So, if you’re thinking about real estate some day, get ready because you may have an opportunity. I share this often with the young community at our church: Instead of buying new cars, going gadget crazy, buying the latest name brand purse, and eating out 4 nights/week, save your money and invest in your future home…
For those who are interested, we do have several real estate agents at our church. FYI, I don’t get any kickback for plugging them but do appreciate how they’ve partnered with our church’s mission. Contact any one of them if you need an agent.