SEATTLE — The West Seattle bridge reopened Saturday night to much excitement from thousands of residents who have been largely cut off from other parts of the Seattle metro for more than two years.
And while many businesses took a loss during the bridge closure, the real estate market was not a total loss.
“It didn't actually fall," said Jeff Tucker, Zillow senior economist. "It just grew slower."
While some parts of Seattle saw growth rates as much as 13% during the bridge closure and the pandemic, West Seattle was at 10%.
Tucker said property values were still high, with the typical home value in the 98116 zip code topping $1 million.
Veteran real estate agents said they were glad to see that the bridge closure had little impact on the housing market, but were not completely surprised.
“West Seattle is still a little more affordable than Magnolia, Queen Anne, some of the other metro areas," said Mara Haveson, managing broker at Compass. "You get more for your money here -- maybe a view."
Haveson, who has been in real estate in West Seattle for 24 years, said many of her clients took the opportunity of the bridge closure to upgrade homes.
Clients like Jeff Solomon said he had multiple offers at above-asking prices on their first West Seattle home just blocks away.
“I was really shocked," Solomon said. "I would have expected it (the bridge closure) to be a deterrent for people."
His family house now has a better view facing Mt. Rainier, Seattle and the West Seattle bridge.
“We could see the staging area and the work being done, but we tried not to follow it because it was out of our hands," Solomon said.
Tucker said proximity to jobs is among the top factors when valuing a home, but that changed when working from home became more popular. He agreed that the impact on the real estate market was minimal because of the number of West Seattle residents who held out.
“If you could work from home or deal with the traffic, West Seattle also has amenities, quality of life and great schools which are also major factors in real estate,” Tucker said.
It’s the reason Haveson said people like Solomon and his family made their investment in West Seattle.
“The bridge closure is just a short-term thing," Haveson said. "It’s not forever, so if you could get into a house here now it’s going to continue to appreciate."
Experts agreed now that the bridge is open, home prices could skyrocket.
“I had so many people who are new to Seattle tell me they hadn’t even considered West Seattle before," Tucker said. "Those same people are looking at homes and now considering the neighborhood as an option."