Oct. 23, 2019

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update Q3 2019

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State employment has softened slightly to an annual growth rate of 2%, which is still a respectable number compared to other West Coast states and the country as a whole. In all, I expect that Washington will continue to add jobs at a reasonable rate though it is clear that businesses are starting to feel the effects of the trade war with China and this is impacting hiring practices. The state unemployment rate was 4.6%, marginally higher than the 4.4% level of a year ago. My most recent economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will rise by 2.2%, with a total of 88,400 new jobs created.

HOME SALES

  • There were 22,685 home sales during the third quarter of 2019, representing a slight increase of 0.8% from the same period in 2018 and essentially at the same level as in the second quarter.
  • Listing activity — which rose substantially from the middle of last year — appears to have settled down. This is likely to slow sales as there is less choice in the market.
  • Compared to the third quarter of 2018, sales rose in five counties, remained static in one, and dropped in nine. The greatest growth was in Skagit and Clallam counties. Jefferson, Kitsap, and Cowlitz counties experienced significant declines.
  • The average number of homes for sale rose 11% between the second and third quarters. However, inventory is 14% lower than in the same quarter of 2018. In fact, no county contained in this report had more homes for sale in the third quarter than a year ago.

HOME PRICES

  • Home price growth in Western Washington notched a little higher in the third quarter, with average prices 4.2% higher than a year ago. The average sales price in Western Washington was $523,016. It is worth noting, though, that prices were down 3.3% compared to the second quarter of this year.
  • Home prices were higher in every county except Island, though the decline there was very small.
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Grays Harbor County, where home prices were up 22%. San Juan, Jefferson, and Cowlitz counties also saw double-digit price increases.
  • Affordability issues are driving buyers further out which is resulting in above-average price growth in outlying markets. I expect home prices to continue appreciating as we move through 2020, but the pace of growth will continue to slow.

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped one day when compared to the third quarter of 2018.
  • Thurston County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 20 days to sell. There were six counties where the length of time it took to sell a home dropped compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in six counties, while two counties were unchanged.
  • Across the entire region, it took an average of 38 days to sell a home in the third quarter. This was down 3 days compared to the second quarter of this year.
  • Market time remains below the long-term average across the region and this trend is likely to continue until more inventory comes to market, which I do not expect will happen until next spring.

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I am leaving the needle in the same position as the first and second quarters, as demand appears to still be strong. The market continues to benefit from low mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed rates is currently around 3.6% and is unlikely to rise significantly anytime soon. Even as borrowing costs remain very competitive, it’s clear buyers are not necessarily jumping at any home that comes on the market. Although it’s still a sellers’ market, buyers have become increasingly price-conscious which is reflected in slowing home price growth.

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics. This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog.

Posted in Statistics
Oct. 14, 2019

Local Market Update October 2019

While fall usually brings a decrease in sales activity, the opposite was true in September. The number of listings on the market dropped by double digits and home sales rose. It is still a seller’s market, however prices have stabilized. With interest rates near historic lows and employment levels at historic highs, the housing market is expected to stay strong throughout the fall and winter.

EASTSIDE

Long the most affluent area of King County, the Eastside continues to record the highest home prices in the region. The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside was $928,500 in September, an increase of 4% from a year ago and a decrease of less than 1% from August. The Eastside construction boom continues, indicating that developers remain confident in the strength of the local economy.

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

The number of homes on the market in King County fell by almost 20% in September when compared to a year ago. However, last fall saw an increase in inventory that was unusual for the time of year. The median price of a single-family home was $660,000, down just 1% from the same time last year. Cities in King County, outside of Seattle, all saw price increases. Sales were up 7% indicating no shortage of buyers.

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

Prices remained relatively stable, with the median price of a single-family home in September dipping 3% over a year ago to $750,000. As tech companies continue to recruit top talent to the area, Seattle’s population keeps booming and demand for housing remains high. While home sales traditionally dip in the fall, the city saw sales increase by 12% in September as compared to last year. Rising rents may push more buyers into the market.

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Buyers continue to be drawn to Snohomish County thanks to a strong economy and housing costs that are considerably more affordable than King County. That influx of buyers is also driving up prices. The median price of a single-family home in September was $492,500, up from $484,995 the same time last year. At $167,500 less than the median price in King County, it’s a relative bargain.

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Posted in Statistics
Sept. 23, 2019

Central Washington Gardner Report Q2

The following analysis of the Central Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent. 

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State employment jumped back up to an annual growth rate of 2.4% following a disappointing slowdown earlier in the spring. As stated in the first quarter Gardner Report, the dismal numbers earlier this year were a function of the state re: benchmarking its data (which they do annually).

The state unemployment rate was 4.7%, marginally up from 4.5% a year ago. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the counties within Central Washington added 3,910 new jobs over the past 12 months, representing a growth rate of 1.7%. The local unemployment rate rose compared to a year ago from 5.3% to 6.1%. However, a majority of the increase can be attributed to a 2.5% increase in the civilian labor force.

 

HOME SALES

  • In the second quarter of 2019, home sales throughout Central Washington fell 5.6% compared to the same period last year, with a total of 1,239 homes sold. Sales were up by a significant 64.1% compared to the first quarter of 2019.
  • Sales rose most in Okanogan County, which had an increase of 9.1% over the second quarter of 2018. Sales were lower in all other counties contained in this report, but the contraction was relatively marginal (74 units).
  • The number of pending home sales — an indicator of future closings — was up by more than 60% compared to the first quarter, indicating that closings will likely rise in the third quarter of 2019.
  • Listing activity in the quarter was generally higher than a year ago, with significant increases in Kittitas and Yakima counties but decreases in the rest of the region. I still expect overall inventory levels to rise modestly as we move through the balance of the year.

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • Year-over-year, the average home price in the region rose 7.2% to $340,677. Price growth continues to trend well above the long-term average. Inventory growth has not yet been sufficient to meet demand and is pushing prices higher.
  • Sale prices were 9.8% higher than in the first quarter of this year.
  • Prices rose in all counties contained in this report compared to the second quarter of 2018. Okanogan and Douglas counties both saw double-digit price growth.
  • The takeaway from this dataset is that significant home-price growth resumed in the quarter, likely because prices were depressed earlier in the year due to inclement weather.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped six days compared to the second quarter of 2018.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 62 days, down 20 days from the first quarter of 2019.
  • Two markets contained in this report — Okanogan and Yakima — saw days-on-market drop from the same quarter in 2018. It took slightly longer to sell a home in the rest of the region.
  • Homes sold fastest in Kittitas County, where it took an average of 47 days to sell a home. The greatest drop in the time it took to sell a home was in Okanogan County, where it took 30 fewer days than in the second quarter of 2018.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

For the second quarter of 2019, I have moved the needle a little more in favor of sellers. Inventory levels remain low, and prices resumed their upward trajectory. This, in concert with very favorable mortgage rates, bodes well for home sellers.

 

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

Posted in Statistics
Aug. 30, 2019

July Rental Stats for Investors

Check out the latest rental stats compiled by Windermere Property Management's Nicki Callahan. According to our property management division, we are heading into the slow season for rentals. If you are looking to buy an investment home, keep in mind that June, July, August are the best months to get top dollar so you'll want your rental contract to start around that time. The best time to start your investment home search would be early in 2020, especially if you are looking for something that may need work or updating prior to putting it on the rental market. Click on a circle to see stats on the various areas. 

 

Eastside Rental Stats Seattle Metro Rental Stats North Seattle Rental Stats
South Seattle Rental Stats Tacoma Rental Stats
Jan. 2, 2018

Western WA Market Stats for 2017 Q3

Posted in Statistics
Jan. 2, 2018

How Rising Prices Will Help You Build Family Wealth in 2018

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate on average by 3.35% per year and to grow by 24.34% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.
So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?
As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchases and closes on a $250,000 home this month (January). If we only look at the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 4.2% in 2018, the young homeowners will have gained $10,500 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $45,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!
Source:https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/

 

Posted in Buying, Statistics
Oct. 12, 2017

Eastside Real Estate Stats for September 2017

September Stats Highlights

Eastside

The market continues to move fast, however, it is slower than it has been in the last six months. 

  • Months Supply of Inventory increased to 1.1, the highest level in one year, yet still historically very low.
  • The percentage of closed sales selling for above list price was 46% in September, down from the peak of 63% in June and is at the lowest level since January 2017. 

  • More than 1/3 of the homes that were sold were on the market for over 15 days. That is the highest level in six months. 

Based on normal seasonality, Buyers should try to buy this month or by the end of the year rather than waiting until January. Buyers should consider three things:

  1. Can you afford the monthly payments?
  2. Do you like the location you can afford?
  3. Are you going to live there a minimum of five years?

 

Posted in Statistics
July 27, 2017

Eastside Market Review Q2-2017

The stats are in and the sellers market is going strong. This Q2 market review shows our very hot spring market for Eastside real estate. Activity has slowed a bit this summer, probably due to summer vacations. The numbers will tell us more after Labor Day. Enjoy!

Here is the PDF if you would like to download. 

 

Posted in Statistics
Feb. 2, 2017

Windermere Wins in Multiple Offers

The broker that represents you as a buyer matters. In a multiple offer situation where a listing agent is looking at say, 10 offers from various buyers, they are trying to help their clients assess which one is the best to go with. Usually 2-3 float to the top because the offer prices and terms are the best of the bunch.  With competitive offers there are several factors that come into play. Here are a few of most common. 

  • Price
  • Earnest money- 2%-5%
  • Close date
  • Financing- Is there financing or is it cash? Did the buyer waive their appraisal condition? How long is the contingency?
  • Inspection-Did the buyer do a pre-inspection? Did they waive their inspection contingency?
  • Other contingencies- Is the offer contingent on the sale of the buyer's pending property? Did they waive the seller disclosure, title, etc?
  • Is there a rent-back if the seller needs one?

Often an important factor is the broker representing the buyer. All other things being equal, the Buyer Broker that has a good reputation and the trust of the Listing Broker will likely get the house. Windermere excels here. Our market share increases by 3% when we are involved in multiple offers. That means you have a 15% more likely chance of getting the house. 

 

Posted in Buying, Statistics
Feb. 2, 2017

Preparing to Buy a Home

 

So you’ve decided to buy a home. Maybe this is your first or your fifth but either way, being prepared is key to purchasing in this market. The competition is fierce and if you don’t have all your ducks in a row, you are not going to be take seriously buy any seller or listing broker. 

 So what does it take to be ready to roll?

Narrow down your neighborhood

This is something you can do with or without your broker. You may know exactly where you want to live or perhaps you are new to the area and need some help narrowing down your choices. In either case your broker will be most helpful. We find that many of our clients pick their neighborhood based on schools and where they work (due to traffic). If schools are important to you we highly recommend using the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website-http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us and staying away from websites like Great Schools which we find to be less reliable. 

Financing and your lender

This is the big one. 

You MUST have a pre-approval letter from a lender before you can write an offer on a house. It should not be a pre-qualification but a full credit approval where your application has gone through underwriting for a full vetting of your income and debts. This enables us to assure a listing agent looking at several offers that there will be no surprises as we go through the financing process. There is nothing worse than being halfway through the escrow period and finding out that something you did on your tax return a year ago affects your ability to buy a home. Our preferred lender, Sheila Bryan of Caliber Home Loans, can get you credit approved and on your way. If you have a lender you have worked with in the past or that a friend has recommended, call them too. It won’t hurt your credit to have 2-3 lenders give you quotes on a loan. Choose wisely though, your lender is part of your team. If your lender can’t follow through, is late getting your docs in or is difficult to work with, it could end up costing you money in the long run. 

Work with a real estate broker

Many of our clients love to go look at open houses on their own and that’s fine, especially in the beginning when you are just feeling things out. When it’s time to get serious however, you need to have a broker in place for a couple of reasons.

#1- You should always have your own representation. Your broker works for you and no one else. Many listing agents will write up an offer for a buyer but in most cases, they are still only representing the seller, not you. You want someone on your side to advocate for you, explain the process, the pros and cons of decisions you have to make and then to support you all the way. This is a tricky market and you want someone who knows how to negotiate the offer process and the transaction.

#2- Homes move fast in this market and you need someone who can get you in to see a home quickly. Waiting for an open house is often not an option. Also, having your broker go scout the house out ahead of time to see if it fits your criteria or if there are flaws you can't see in the photos (like powerlines, busy streets, etc) can make the process more efficient. 

Get out there and find that house!

With pre-approval in hand, a great broker by your side and a lot of patience and perseverance, you will find a house to buy. In our experience, most buyers go through a learning curve of understanding what has to be done to buy a house. Sometimes you have to lose a few before you win, that the nature of this market, but eventually you will prevail.

Good luck and good house hunting!

Posted in Buying