Local Market Update – November 2018

Local Market Update – November 2018

Increased inventory, slower sales and more price reductions all point to a balancing market—welcome news for price-shocked buyers. Sales prices are up from last October and down from the all-time high reached this spring. Despite the slowdown, it’s important to point out that we’re only moving back toward what a normal market looks like. King and Snohomish counties each have over two months of available inventory. While that is double the inventory of a year ago, it’s far short of the four to six months supply that is considered a balanced market. Sellers looking to list their home now can be sure there remains plenty of interest among home buyers.

Eastside

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The median home on the Eastside sold for $890,000 in October, up 5 percent from a year ago and unchanged from the previous month.  While year-over-year price increases were in the single digits for the Eastside overall, several areas, including Kirkland, Woodinville and Mercer Island, experienced double-digit price gains.  Buyers are still having to pay a premium for desirable Eastside properties. However, with more choices and less buyer urgency, sellers need to price their home correctly to maximize their chances of getting the best possible return.

King County

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Inventory in King County for all homes, both single-family and condominium, soared 102 percent over last October.  The increase was due to an influx of new listings and the fact that homes are now taking longer to sell than at the peak of the market this spring. While buyers now have more breathing room to make their decisions, the 2.4 months of inventory in King County is still far from a balanced market. The median price of a single-family home in October was $670,999, an increase of 7 percent from the same time last year, and virtually unchanged from August and September.  South King County showed larger increases, with prices rising more than 10 percent from a year ago in Auburn, Kent and Renton.

Seattle

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In October, the median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $750,000, up 2 percent from last October and down slightly from last month. While inventory doubled over a year ago, Seattle falls behind most areas of King County in supply with just under two months of inventory available.  Demand is predicted to stay high, with Seattle’s population projected to grow at twice the national rate next year. That said, buyers are in the position to be able to negotiate.  A recent analysis named Seattle as one of the top markets in the country where it makes the most sense to buy this winter.

Snohomish County

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Inventory in Snohomish County soared 65 percent in October as compared to a year ago. The area now has 2.4 months of inventory, about the same relative supply as King County. As with most of the Puget Sound area, the increase in inventory was due to a higher number of sellers listing their homes and fewer sales. Year-over-year, the median price of a single-family home sold in October in Snohomish County grew 8 percent to $473,000.  The median price in September was $485,000.

This post originally appeared on the Windermere Eastside Blog.

What We Bring You

What We Bring You

For this month, we would like to take our discussion away from the sometimes-tedious statistics that would normally occupy this space and spend a few minutes sharing about some of the best practices that we have found for successfully listing and selling homes…

Some of the motivation behind our content of choice for this newsletter stems from the mere fact that in a softening market, such as we have just entered, it is even more important to focus on the fundamentals in the quest for success.Years ago – before the market bust of 2007 – Jim and I began to find success in some of the simplest of practices.

CLEAN IS PARAMOUNT

On some of our earliest customer appointments, Jim and I would arrive at a home that had been lived “hard,” and often little done to clean up after the hard living. Never afraid of dirt and grime, we put on our work clothes and stepped in. Cupboards, refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and even toilets, not to mention floors – had to be clean. Hand scrubbing, gallons of bleach, and tired knees were what we invested and it paid off. The homes that we listed sold, and often sold quickly.

PREPARATION

With meticulous cleaning, we were gaining success, but in time we grew bolder. We always knew that old faded paint, tired flooring, and – good gracious – those old and ugly countertops needed to go. Preparing the house to look its best is another great recipe for success

PRESENTATION

Jim does excellent photography and we used to rely heavily on his skill and capability – you should see some of his underwater photography from diving trips all over the world.
Alas, here too we made a huge discovery – the pro’s do it best. We have never looked back. Their only job is to make our homes look good, and they truly know how to do it. By now we have even begun to incorporate drone photography with amazing results.

STAGING

A huge component of the Presentation, but so important that it bears its own title in this compendium. For the last several years we have been working with a fantastic staging company that brings so much to the homes that we list. Time and time again, we have found that staging brings the strongest offers in the quickest times. Earlier this year we listed a home where the sellers declined to stage it. We reluctantly listed the house without staging it. The house looked flat in the listing and the performance on the market over the first two weeks was just as flat. We finally convinced the sellers of the need to stage, took the house off the market, staged it, put it back on the market and received a full price offer within 5 days of re-listing.

PRICING

My-oh-my, I could write a book on this one, but I won’t. Pricing your home for sale is one of the most crucial components of successfully listing your home. In years gone by, the role of the real estate professional was that of providing the information to the client. Now we manage that information. With Zillow, Redfin, and many others putting values on properties, we have to bring it all together and show WHY the house should be priced as we’re suggesting.

MANAGING THE LISTING

Once the home is on the market, we enter the role of active management.
How are the NWMLS stats on the listing doing? How are the showings going? What is the feedback from the showing agents? What can we do to respond to some of the negatives that we might be hearing in that feedback? If we’re on the market longer than expected, what is the strategy change necessary? How are the sellers doing? How well are we keeping them informed? What market changes have taken place since listing? All of this is critical, and necessary.
And we love it.

The practice of real estate is a dynamic profession that requires that we continue to learn and grow with it. Not only do we have the opportunity to learn from our own experiences, but we also work for one of the best brokerages in the business – Windermere Real Estate – and they provide some of the best classroom and practical training in the industry.

YOU, THE CUSTOMER

We have been privileged to work for the best clients in the world – whether they be buying or selling, whether it be a condo priced at $225,000 or a home on Meydenbauer Bay priced at $2.3 million, we serve as though they are our only clients. You are the reason that we continue to serve – you are the best.
This is what we bring to you, and we enjoy our profession very much. Thank you for your patronage.

How Interest Rates Affect Buying Power

How Interest Rates Affect Buying Power

Whether you are thinking about buying or selling a home, interest rate trends are an important factor to consider. Mortgage interest rates have been rising and experts, including Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, predict that they will continue to increase in 2019.

Interest Rates and Buying Power

The chart below shows the impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $675,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments at $3,500 a month.

Every time interest rates increase by a quarter of a percent, your buying power decreases by about 3 percent.

What this means for buyers:

With prices moderating and interest rates slated to rise again, now is a good time to buy. If you’re betting on prices falling, you need to consider the strong possibility that an increase in interest rates would offset any potential price savings.

What this means for sellers:

Listing your home now means you will attract a larger buyer pool before interest rates rise.

Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling we can provide you market data that will help you make the best decision for your circumstances. 

This post originally appeared on the WindermereEastside.com Blog.

Local Market Update – October 2018

Local Market Update – October 2018

It appears that balance is slowly returning to the local housing market. Home price growth slowed in September. Inventory continued to climb, but is still far short of the four to six months that indicate a normal market. Homes are staying on the market longer, giving buyers the breathing room to make the right choice for their situation.  With our region’s healthy job growth, and demand still exceeding supply, it’s likely to take some time to move to a fully balanced market.

Eastside

>>>Click image to view full report.

Home price increases moderated into the single-digits in September. The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside was up 4 percent from the same time last year to $890,0000 but down from a median price of $935,000 in August. Inventory increased significantly and price drops jumped. While the market is softening, the recent expanded presence of Google and Facebook on the Eastside means demand should stay strong.  In addition, the area’s excellent school system continues to be a large draw for buyers both locally and internationally.

King County

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Inventory was up 68 percent year-over-year in King County due to a higher number of sellers listing their homes and fewer sales.  There is now more than two months of inventory in the county, a number we haven’t seen in nearly four years. Despite the increase, there is a long way to go to reach the four to six months of inventory that is considered balanced.  In September, the median price of a single-family home was $668,000; an increase of 7 percent from the same time last year and virtually unchanged from August.

Seattle

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Inventory in Seattle surged in September from a year ago. Only San Jose, CA saw the number of homes for sale rise faster than Seattle last month. The median home price in September was $775,000. Up slightly from the $760,000 median price in August and a 7 percent increase from last year. The double-digit price growth of past years appear to be waning and overzealous sellers who listed their homes at unrealistically high prices have been forced to reduce them. Bidding wars have declined and the typical well-priced house is now selling right at asking price.

Snohomish County

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While not nearly as dramatic as the case in King County, inventory in Snohomish County was up 40 percent. The area has just over two months of inventory with home prices moderating. The median price of a single-family home increased 8 percent over a year ago to $485,000. That’s down from the $492,000 median reached in August and $26,000 less than the peak of the market reached in spring.

This post originally appeared on the WindermereEastside.com Blog.