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Market Update

With typical low inventory in November, we saw an uptick in the number of homes going into contract. In fact, for King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties combined, accepted offers increased 9.2% over November 2018. (And in just King County, that increase was about 12%.)

Median sales prices increased as well. In King County the median sales price for a single family home was $650,000, up about 1.6% from November of last year.

What this tells us is that buyers are out there – that is demand is high. Record low interest rates are partially driving this demand. And inventory of homes for sale typically drops in November and December, so there’s a shortage of homes to meet demand. The housing market is virtually sold out in the more affordable and mid-price ranges where 75 percent of sales activity occurs in each market area.

If you’re a current homeowner on the fence about selling, now is a great time to get in the market. The buyers out in December and January are serious buyers who want to get into a home soon.

Contact me today at (206) 790-0081 or Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com to discuss your home selling or buying needs.

November Median Sales Prices

Comparing year over year sales prices for the month of November, you’ll see that prices have stayed relatively static in Seattle and King County and are increasing in Snohomish and Pierce Counties. This is because many buyers are being priced out of Seattle and King County, and are moving further out where they can find greater affordability.

November median sales price

I’d love to talk with you about the real estate market and your goals. Please give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email me so that we can chat.

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving week is always one of reflection for me. I am thankful for so much – my family, my friends, my dog and cats, and for those who have placed their trust in me with their real estate transactions.

What are you thankful for? While this is a great week for reflection, every day we should take a few moments to reflect on the bounty before us – that we’re alive and breathing, that we have the freedom to do what we want and to be who we want to be, and of course, for those special loved ones in our life. As part of my morning routine, I am trying to incorporate 5 minutes to focus on my daily gratitudes.

Happy Thanksgiving! Whether you’re spending it with family or having a Friendsgiving, be grateful for all that you have.

Shoreline Mid-Century Sells Above List

30 days ago the owners of my Shoreline mid-century listing drove away from their house to their new lives in South California. Today their home sale closed, and they area moving forward with the next phase of their life.

Let me share their story. Pat & Charlie approached me last spring as they were considering a move. Pat was about to become a grandmother and she wanted to be closer to her daughter and future granddaughter. But Charlie had a good job in Seattle, they had lived in their Shoreline home for many years, and she was overwhelmed about the prospect of packing up and moving. We talked, I provided a complimentary market analysis of the home, and it was left that they needed to figure out what they wanted to do.

Fast forward to September and I get an urgent message from Pat – “need to talk with you today.” Charlie had received a job offer in Southern California, it was a great fit, but he’d need to start in 2 weeks, and they had no idea how they’d have the house ready.

Now it was my turn to show them what I do as a full-service real estate broker. Within days, we had a plan. I referred them to the service providers they needed: power washing/yard work; housecleaning; movers who could help with packing as well; and stagers. Charlie got some updates done in the house – among them new flooring and radiant heat – before he had to hit the road for his new job. Pat handled the rest, called me when she needed help or support, and 2 weeks later, the movers arrived. In the days that followed, I oversaw the listing preparation – house cleaning, yard clean-up, staging, photography, and home video. The result was that on October 24th, I brought their beautiful home on the market for $590,000.

Within hours of coming on the market, there was a handful of showings including I received phone calls from brokers with clients wanting to submit offers. Pat and Charlie wanted to wait and see what the weekend open houses looked like before accepting an offer – good move on their part – more than 70 groups of buyers toured the house during 2 open houses that weekend. And Monday morning we had multiple offers and they accepted one.

The final price was substantially higher than the list price – $650,000. It sold in 4 days on the market and closed 3 weeks later. This wouldn’t have happened if Pat and Charlie had not worked hard on their home preparation, and more importantly, had not trusted me with the sale of their home. Thank you for believing in me and on moving forward with your lives. (And welcome to your very beautiful granddaughter.)

For more information on buying or selling a home, including a complimentary market analysis, please give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Market Update

Our region’s real estate market picked up in October. Northwest Multiple Listing Service figures show system-wide gains in October’s pending sales (up nearly 5.6%), closed sales (up 4.1%) and prices (up nearly 7.7%) compared to a year ago. At the same time, compared to the same month a year ago, October’s supply of active listings declined by double-digits in 18 of the 23 counties in the NWMLS report. This means that less homes are coming on the market.

In Seattle, October prices rose 3.3% from a year ago, to $775,000 — the largest percentage increase in 12 months. In King County, there were 25.7% fewer homes on the market in October than a year previously. Snohomish and Pierce Counties saw similar dips, of 23.5% and 30.0%. However, pending sales are up, signaling that buyers haven’t given up on housing market after the slowdown at the end of 2018. That could be helped going forward by mortgage rates that continue to hover around historic lows.

Condo inventory is expected to increase in the coming year, as projects currently in the pipeline come online. Year-over-year, condominium prices in King County were down 3.75% overall, to $385,000, and nearly 7% in Seattle, to $460,000. That’s still the most condos have cost in Seattle since June, signaling strong demand for housing priced under the area median.

Why You Should List Your House in the Winter

Many prospective sellers feel they should wait for spring to sell their home. They feel this way because of the seasonal downturn in the market and because homes don’t look as good without exterior flowers and plants and the general grayness of our part of the country.

However, there are several good reasons to list your home during the winter. The most serious buyers will still be out there – those that need to buy because of job relocation or need different space. And inventory is at it’s lowest, giving buyers fewer choices, so your home will stand out more.

To sell your home in the winter, there are some key things to do. Keep your home warm and cozy – buyers need to be comfortable when they come in the house and the warmer it is, the more likely they’ll stay longer. Leave lights on and shades open to keep the home bright. Make sure the yard stays neat and the roof is clean. Stage the home and have professional photographs that show off the home at its best.

If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com so we can discuss the best time to list your house.

Please Vote

Yes, election day is next Tuesday and I want to remind you to complete your ballot and mail it in or drop it in a drop box. But that’s not the focus of this post.

Please vote for Coldwell Banker Bain’s Edmonds office scarecrow in the Edmonds Scarecrow Festival. Anyone can vote, from Edmonds to Paris to Cape Town. Voting ends November 2nd so please VOTE TODAY!

Government secrets. Fearless kids. And a dark force that turns a small town upside down. Coldwell Banker Bain’s scarecrow represents the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things,” with Mind Flayer and Eleven on display.

Thank you for Voting!

Live in a Treehouse in the Woods in Shoreline

My latest listing, a midcentury home in Shoreline, gives you the experience of living in a treehouse in the woods but yet you’re so close to the city.

This 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,830 square foot home was built in 1969. It offers beautiful wood ceilings and and paneled walls, on a large lot full of trees, greenery, and privacy, creating the experience of being in the woods, yet close to future light rail, Seattle, and I-5.

The 3 bedrooms are all on the main floor. One is a master suite that includes a huge walk-in closet, a half-bath, and brand new flooring with radiant heat. One of the additional main floor bedrooms also have floor heat.

The lower level is a guest room or rec room. There is a half-bath downstairs as well as a large laundry room. Just add a shower and closet and you’ve got a master suite or potential MIL unit. The downstairs room opens to the large backyard, including a basketball court.

While you have the sense of living in the woods, you’re so close to the city – whether that city is Shoreline, Seattle, Lake Forest Park, or even Edmonds.

You’ll be just about a mile from the future light rail station at I-5 and N 185th St. Hop on the train and you’ll quickly be at the University of Washington, downtown Seattle, or even the airport. There’s also a Metro bus stop at the top of the street.

Lots of grocery stores and restaurants are nearby. Lake Forest Park Town Center and the King County Library are close-by, as is the Shoreline Library, the community center and pool, parks, and off-leash dog park. You’re in the Shoreline School District, with it’s highly regarded schools.

There are 3 upcoming open houses where you can tour the home or please contact me for a private tour:

  • Saturday, October 26, 1:00-4:00pm
  • Sunday, October 27, 1:00-4:00pm
  • Tuesday, October 29, 11:30am-1:30pm

Links:

Market Update

September was an active month in the Western Washington real estate market, with year-over-year gains in pending sales, closed sales and prices, but it also showed an 18% drop in inventory compared to a year ago.

September’s activity had some areas up and others down. Pierce County prices rose more than 10% thanks to high demand and low inventory. Buyers being pushed out of the Seattle market are heading south. In Pierce County, the median sales price was $379,950, compared to $593,750 in King County. Snohomish County had a median sales price of $470,498.

King County prices were down slightly, 2.7%, while pending sales rose nearly 10%. This tells us that there is no shortage of buyers in the Seattle area. Home prices typically start to drop a little in the fall, so this isn’t a cause for concern.

In Pierce and Snohomish Counties in September, we saw inventory levels for single-family homes at 1.4 and 1.7 months, respectively. King County had 2.2 months. Historically, under 4 months of inventory is a seller’s market.

Overall, home prices have stabilized, creating great opportunities for buyers getting into the market. New jobs, lifestyle changes, and very low interest rates are driving the market and keeping our economy strong. My colleagues and I are seeing an increase in buyers at open houses, signifying that demand is still high.

For more information on buying or selling, please reach out to me at (206) 790-0081 orJamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Things are Changing – Real Estate Taxes

The Washington State Legislature is changing the way real estate excise taxes (REET) are calculated. This change may affect the amount of excise tax you pay depending on the sale price of your property. For sellers whose homes sell for less than $1.5 million, you will see a slight decrease in the amount of tax paid. For homes over $1.5 million or more, you will see an increase in taxes paid, and this may be a substantial increase.

Currently, the state excise tax is 1.28 percent. Local municipalities add their excise tax on top of the state tax, with most cities in our area adding 0.50 percent, to total 1.78 percent. Effective January 1, 2020, Washington state will begin calculating real estate excise taxes based on a tiered system:

  • Sales under $500,000: 1.1% tax rate (down from 1.28%)
  • Sales from $500,000 to $1.5 million: 1.28% tax rate (unchanged and 1.1% marginal rate on first $500k)
  • Sales from $1.5 million to $3 million: 2.75% tax rate (115% increase, but marginal rate increase means first $500k @1.1%, then $500k to $1.5M @ 1.28%)
  • Sales over $3 million: 3.0% tax rate (134% increase, marginal rates in effect)

If you are thinking of buying or selling soon, now would be a great time to contact us and find out how this new legislation will affect your transaction. Whether buying or selling, knowing the effect of this excise tax could save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The following graph shows you a comparison of taxes in 2019 (the gray) and after January 1st (the blue).

For more information on the real estate excise tax or on selling your home, please call me at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.