South Puget Sound 2023 Real Estate Trends
What are some of the trends our REALTORS® are seeing in the South Puget Sound in 2023? We asked Windermere Professional Partners REALTORS® to share their insights on the latest trends, including design trends, the most desired home amenities, top priorities for buyers and sellers at the moment, and much more.
Keep reading for an inside look at what's trending in the South Puget Sound this year:
What Are the Most Popular Home Features & Amenities in the South Puget Sound in 2023?
Home Offices & “10 Minute Communities”
“Home offices are still quite popular, even if that just means a slightly higher bedroom count. Today's skilled professionals really want ‘10 minute communities’ where urban amenities like pubs, neighborhood groceries, cafes, farmers markets, etc. are within convenient distance, and you don't need a car to go everywhere.” - REALTOR® Anders Ibsen
Backyard Enjoyment Rain or Shine
“Backyard interest is becoming a major thing buyers are looking for. They want to be able to entertain outdoors year round with amenities for all kinds of weather.” - REALTOR® Greg Devey
Home Offices & Designated Living Spaces
“As more and more people are able to work remotely, a home office has become super desirable. Clients are preferring designated living spaces instead of a completely open floor plan. During the pandemic, it became very apparent that everyone needed a little privacy and a space to call their own, and that need has carried over post pandemic.” - REALTOR® Erin Goodwill
Minimalism, Beverage Stations, Outdoor Living, Home Offices
“A trend of minimalism is emerging, where people are interested in seeking to live more simply with less stress. They want to spend more time with their loved ones.
Another trend is creating a special place to prepare and serve drinks to guests, using smaller spaces equipped with a bar cabinet or cart. Let the conversations begin!
Outdoor living space, garden spaces, and a home office are still in demand.” - REALTOR® Therese Gesch
Home Offices & ADUs
“Continuing since the pandemic, I’m noticing my clients are searching for a second home office. Or an extra bedroom to function as additional office space. Another huge bonus is an ADU or separate unit that can function as rental space to accommodate VRBO/Airbnb or other passive income.” - REALTOR® Ryan Waterman
Luxe Baths & Garden Retreats
“With most recent clients, they have tended to look for things that bring calm and peace, perhaps after slowing down and enjoying being home more over the last few years. Large soaking tubs and beautifully tiled, oversized showers have really been high on buyers' lists; there’s no better way to wind down at the end of the day! Also popular amongst all demographics recently has been garden bed space in back yards, perhaps as an alternative to create serenity and zen, but also to offset the soaring prices of produce and ensure quality.” - REALTOR® Trish Stone
Move-in Ready Perfection
“As far as home features, many of our buyers are wanting move-in ready, so spending time on the seller side to help prep a listing and make it shine often includes those nagging items that have been on the to-do list for what seems like forever. Things like painting, replacing flooring, and professionally cleaning helps our sellers’ homes stand out from the rest and ultimately brings them more money—a win for both sides!” - REALTOR® Curtis Gibson & REALTOR® Megan Gibson
Gas Fireplaces, Natural Views, Closed Floor Plans
“Gas fireplaces have been more requested, rather than wood burning fires. I think there’s something very romantic, energy efficient/independent, and sustainable about having a wood burning fire. Convenience seems to be the key for many who desire a gas fireplace.
People are spending more time at home now with remote learning and telecommuting, so many buyers are seeking a view when they gaze out their window. Especially when it comes to nature and the desire to feel more connected to the outdoors. One client even commented about how it’d be great for their mental health. People are more self-aware these days, it seems. Tall ceilings, closed floor plans (more distinct living areas that would allow for multiple people to have their own space in any given room), and multiple bedrooms on the main level of multiple story homes are what I hear most requested. And I believe it all goes back to people desiring more ease and comfort at home, as work and home life often coexist.” - REALTOR® Adriann Ford
What Design Trends Are Popular in the South Puget Sound in 2023?
Contrast & Texture
“It appears we're moving forward from the white on white color and gray color palettes. Interest in an interior is created by using contrast and texture. Considering the number of gray days in the Northwest, the all-gray scheme is a little depressing on those darker days. Greige—where some brown is introduced to the base color—is a nice choice. Adding natural wood tones, metal accents in furniture, and rich jewel tones (like emerald green, deep blues, a touch of black or a caramel color) make rich accents. Support a local artist by buying a piece of their work to highlight the space.” - REALTOR® Michael McNiel
Vibrant Colored Accents
“While the conventional wisdom has been that neutral colors are the most appealing, some vibrant colors are starting to return. As with anything, you and your agent should do a thorough analysis of competing properties to determine what buyers are really after.” - REALTOR® Anders Ibsen
Natural Textures & Tones, Spa-Worthy Relaxation, High Contrast
“Current trends in design are black-framed windows, white exterior, natural wood finishes, and soft natural tones and textures from nature. A place to relax at the end of the day with a spa feel is a requirement. Floating shelving continues to be popular, and stone and brick are making a comeback!” - REALTOR® Therese Gesch
Bold Wallpapered Beauty
“I am madly in love with WALLPAPER! This trend is super hot and super fun! Get creative with large prints in a small space. Turn that average powder room into something special by being bold with print and color. Dress up a dining room or primary bedroom with an accent wall of wallpaper, or go all out and cover every wall. With products being user friendly, wallpaper is now pretty easy to install AND remove. So go for it!” - REALTOR® Erin Goodwill
Tile, Boiserie, Antique Furniture, Jewel Tones, Luxe Stone
“Currently a trending feature with my clients is tile! Instead of wood flooring, many have opted to elevate their main living areas with stately tile, something I’ve seen more commonly in Southern Texas or the Florida Keys.
Another trend is boiserie. Everywhere. Up to the ceiling. And I love to see it! It’s cost-effective for the seller and the buyers love its otherworldly elegance. It elevates the space, especially when tone-on-tone, otherwise it can chop up a room.
Oak wood has made a huge resurgence in many different ways other than flooring. We are seeing it a lot in furniture. Also 1920s, ‘60s, and ‘70s—actually antique furniture in general is very much in style, whether it’s authentic or inspired. Jewel tones are used in accents, and luxe stone finishes are here to stay.” - REALTOR® Adriann Ford
What Is Most Important to Your Home Buyer Clients in the South Puget Sound in 2023?
Affordable Urban Lifestyle
“Location with affordability! Workers in fields like tech, finance, etc. are looking for a lively urban lifestyle, but without being house poor like they would be in more expensive housing markets.” - REALTOR® Anders Ibsen
Affordability & Close to Family/Friends
“Affordability is of high importance for buyers in the current real estate market. Buyers are becoming more careful with their purchases compared to the past several years. After having long periods of time apart due to the pandemic, many people are voicing that they want to be close to family and friends as a top priority.” - REALTOR® Therese Gesch
Atmosphere & Setting
“Views. That seems to be a big one right now. It also all comes down to what feels right. Does the neighborhood feel good to drive through? Can they envision carrying out their daily activities in each space? Will the space accommodate their family and pets? Are those trees beyond the property line?” - REALTOR® Adriann Ford
Where Are Your South Puget Sound Home Buyer Clients Moving From in 2023?
“Location is definitely at the top of the list for our buyers! We currently have several clients wanting to relocate here from California. Clients love the affordability that our area provides compared to other parts of the country.” - REALTOR® Curtis Gibson & REALTOR® Megan Gibson
California & Seattle
“Generally from more expensive areas like California or Seattle. A lot of my clients are skilled workers who are nearly entirely remote, or 100% remote. So they have a great deal of flexibility with their choice of locale. They choose communities in large part based on urban quality of life like pedestrian-friendliness, proximity of outdoor recreation, waterfront, and arts and culture. Tacoma has been particularly popular in this respect because of how readily available these features are, but with significantly more affordable prices compared to more expensive markets like Seattle or the Bay Area.” - REALTOR® Anders Ibsen
King County & California
“Many clients are coming from King County and California. The Northwest is a beautiful place to live, and the outdoors can be enjoyed year-round due the milder climate. The Northwest offers mountains, forests, freshwater and saltwater.” - REALTOR® Therese Gesch
“Arizona. Florida. Colorado.” - REALTOR® Adriann Ford
What Other Trends Are You Noticing With Your Buyer and Seller Clients in 2023?
People Are Downsizing Their Homes
“Downsizing for all ages! People have discovered they enjoy living in a smaller house and they want to spend more time with loved ones, while having less work taking care of a larger house and property.” - REALTOR® Therese Gesch
The Market is Slowly Heating Up Again
“With inflation having peaked and mortgage rates starting to drop into the high 5% range, the market is starting to heat up again. It isn't bidding war craziness like early 2022. But homes are selling faster, and sellers are starting to regain some leverage. I wouldn't wait around for prices to drop—they're secure, and slowly starting to appreciate again.” - REALTOR® Anders Ibsen
Buyers & Sellers Are Serious & Selective
“Everyone is very serious about their home journey! It’s not like the old days where people would play around with the idea of buying or selling, and kind of treat open houses as a form of entertainment. People are more selective with their time. They know what they desire out of life and they are taking action to make it happen. It’s nice to see!” - REALTOR® Adriann Ford