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.
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.
Several things stand out when looking at market statistics for the 2nd quarter of 2019.
There are a lot more condos and single family homes for sale.
For both condos and single family homes, prices are still down from the peak of 2018.
Days on Market is down for condos and relatively stable for single family homes.
It is important to note that we hit the peak of the market in May/June 2018. We have had a market adjustment since then, primarily driven by increased inventory. However, for single family homes, we have around 2 months of inventory, meaning we are still in a market that favors the seller.
This increased inventory is great news for buyers who have more choice in finding a home. We have seen some return to multiple offers but not at the pace we saw over the past few years.
With condos, in June we had just over 3 months inventory. The condo market is being driven by more condo projects under construction and being announced, meaning that the inventory level for condos should continue to rise. The increase in the number of available condos is great for buyers and home affordability—condos usually allow for buyers to get into the market at a lower price than for single family homes. In fact, my first purchase of a residential property to live in was a condo as that was what I could afford back in 1995.
The best news for both buyers and sellers is that we’re at a 12 month low for interest rates which are under 4%.
For more information on buying or selling, please reach out to me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com or (206) 790-0081.
The May housing market was hot. Not as hot as a year ago, but still at it’s strongest for 2019. In fact, in King County 70% of single-family homes sold in 15 days or less and 55% of single-family homes sold at or above list price.
With interest rates at the lowest they’ve been in over a year, at just under 4%, buyers are seeing that this is a great time to be in the market. One lender told me recently that she locked a client into a 30-year fixed loan at 3.75%.
You might have seen a news story recently that Tacoma is the hottest housing market in the Country. It’s not surprising that buyers are going further to find affordable properties – an analysis of NWMLS inventory at the end of May shows only 13.8% of the listings of single-family homes in King County had asking prices under $600,000. That compares to 25.6% in Snohomish County, 31.2% in Pierce County and 35.3% in Kitsap County.
King County prices for single-family homes show a 3.6% decline from a year ago, but are at the highest level ($699,998) since June 2018 when the median price was $715,000. Snohomish nearly matched last year, the highest for the year as well.
For more information on the market or your particular city or neighborhood, please reach out to me at (206) 790-0081 or Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.
One clue to understanding what type of real estate market we’re in is “Days on Market.” When homes are selling quickly, it tends to be a sellers’ market, and when slowing, a buyers’ market. But when we look at the numbers, it sometimes can be a confusing story.
Most of the time when we look at Days on Market, we’re using Average Days on Market. And when we do this, we see this number has increased substantially from the past few years.
This increase reflects the fact that homes that were not priced properly stayed on the market for a substantial amount of time.
However, if we look at Median Days on Market, it’s a different story. Looking for this perspective, we see that half of homes sold in a very short period whereas half sold in many more days.
What this tells us is that pricing your home properly is a critical step in getting the home sold quickly. It is imperative that you do not overprice your home, as it will sit on the market. Your real estate professional will advice you on a pricing strategy and I highly recommend that you follow that person’s advice.
For more information including a complimentary pricing analysis for your home, please reach out to me at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.
Seattle prices continue to decline slightly for single-family homes, with a 4.6% decrease from the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019. However, it’s important to note that we hit the peak of our market in spring 2018, so prices were near their highest point last March. Condos are where we’re seeing the biggest changes, with a significant amount of inventory on the market and a 9.6% decrease in prices. With our increased inventory we’re seeing that the number of days it’s taking a property to sell has increased substantially. But for properties priced properly, they are selling quickly, often on the first day it comes on the market and often with multiple offers. Yes, multiple offers are back, and not just 2 or 3 offers, but more than 10 on many properties.
What does this mean for you? If you’re a homeowner considering selling your property, do NOT overprice. Price is the number one determinant of buyers coming to see your home and placing offers. Overpriced homes will sit on the market. And as we’re now in spring, the busiest time of the year for our real estate market, do not wait to list your home.
Buyers, this is a great time for you. With the increase in inventory, you have many more choices. Interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in the past 12 months, so your money will go further right now. It’s definitely the time to buy.
Let’s talk about your real estate needs. Give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email me.
There were three themes that drove the real estate market in 2018—Supply, Demand, and Affordability. Although these are always at play, the increased pressure from all three were intense in 2018 and will continue throughout 2019. Let’s look at what makes up each of these areas and how they will impact the market in 2019. Our market did cool down in 2018, but not to the extreme that you may have heard in the media. In fact, as we look at year over year statistics from 2017 to 2018, prices were up 8.1% in King County and 10.1% in Snohomish County.
The big change we saw was an increase in inventory, yet we are still solidly in a sellers’ market with inventory at 1.7 months in King County and 1.5 months in Snohomish. A sellers’ market has less than 4-6 month in inventory.
As we look at Supply, Demand, and Affordability with these statistics in mind, we see that affordability is the most significant factor at play.
Supply – There are only three ways we get new inventory – existing resale homes, new homes, and foreclosures. The number of years we are staying in our homes has reached an all-time high of 10 years which is one of the main contributors to the inventory shortage (plugging up the resale pipeline). However, another contributor – and this is a big one – is the continued lack of new construction. We also don’t have many foreclosures to add to our inventory levels. Therefore, all three inventory supply sources are drying up instead of flowing.
Demand – Our economy is humming along. Unemployment is at almost historic lows, GDP is up, Consumer Confidence is up and Millennials are ready to buy. Therefore, demand has been high and will continue to be so. If it wasn’t for the affordability issues we are experiencing, Millennials would be buying up a storm.
Affordability – High demand for housing is causing prices to soar out of a comfortable price range for buyers. The cost for builders to build (land, labor, materials, and regulatory demands) are all rising at a pace that makes new construction less affordable. Interest rates are on the rise. All of these factors affect affordability and home sales.
These three factors are in a push-pull relationship which was very evident this past year when home prices peaked in May. The market then quickly reacted with an adjustment in inventory. There was an initial surge of new listings concurrent with a moment in which buyers had had enough and affordability reached a tipping point. That surge caused buyers to step back and assess the situation instead of moving forward, which caused another moment in which sellers were ready to sell but buyers were no longer willing to pay the inflated prices. Buyers figured out quickly that the market had hit its peak and they did not want to buy at the peak of the market. This led to even more inventory coming on the market with demand pausing as supply surged. Now that surge is receding – sellers who couldn’t get the price they wanted are taking their properties off the market and savvy buyers are working with sellers, allowing both parties to make their next move.
What can we expect in 2019?:
Housing Inventory – I believe the inventory surge that we will begin the year with will be absorbed as sellers get realistic about their prices or take their homes off the market. We will then see the spring and summer return to a more reduced inventory market. I expect buyers to also hop back into the market, trying to capitalize on interest rates that are expected to rise throughout 2019.
Housing Starts/New Construction – Our builders have not been able to keep up with the demand for new construction. Historically, we have needed 1.5 million units each year. That has recently increased to 1.62 million units. However, we are only on target to build 1.25 million units this year and next which means we are continuing to add to our deficit. Local issues in many areas such as zoning and water rights are also capping new construction opportunity. The cost of building supplies, labor, land, and regulation are causing problems for our builders and I expect these problems to worsen in 2019.
Home Price Growth – In Western Washington, we saw year-over-year median sales price grow 9.1% to $409,752, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), and you can see from the charts on page 1 and this page how prices changed in King and Snohomish Counties as well as Seattle and Edmonds. Since I expect the pace of our market to downshift after the spring (with more balanced inventory than last year), I predict that median sales prices will continue to grow but at a smaller pace.
Interest Rates – The Federal Reserve has been trying to return the country to neutral for interest rates. The Fed raised interest rates in December but said they are not sure what they will do in 2019. I do expect that rates may rise as high as 5.75% by year-end. Rates had been as high as 4.94% last November for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, but the rate slid back and as of December it was at 4.63%.
There are several “wild card” issues in 2019 which could affect the real estate market in a way that cannot be foreseen. Issues such as immigration reform, political uncertainty, the national debt, global issues such as Brexit, possible trade wars, and even the true impact of the tax reform changes may cause shifts in the real estate market that are unpredictable. That being said, I am excited for what 2019 has in store!
For additional information and how these issues may affect you, please call or text: (206) 790-0081 or send an email to Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.
The Puget Sound area real estate market has shown a shift over the past few months, and we’re moving toward what is considered a balanced market. A balanced market is one that does not favor the buyer or the seller and is the healthiest possible situation. Typically, a balanced market is considered one with 4 to 6 months of inventory; less than that favors the seller, more than that favors the buyer. Here are some selected inventory levels for September:
Inventory in Months
Single Family Homes
Moving toward a balanced market is a good trend. It puts both buyers and sellers on equal footing. Mike Grady, COO of Coldwell Banker Bain, states “buyers are at long last now seeing properties that stay on the market longer. Listings that are priced appropriately, and not based on the feverish market we saw just a few months ago are still selling quickly, and home prices are still showing 8 percent appreciation year-over-year, more than double the rate of inflation.”
What does this mean to you if you’re considering selling your home? Homes are selling if they are priced properly. More than ever it means you need an experienced REALTOR who will provide you with a detailed pricing analysis based on what is happening in today’s market, not on sales from even 3 or 6 months ago. And automated values are even less reliable than they have been because they may not reflect what is happening today. When I work with a seller, I give you a detailed report and recommendation and update this report frequently to adjust for market change.
If you’re a buyer, this is a fabulous time to get in the market. With prices stabilizing and interest rates increasing, waiting might be not be a good idea. What you can afford today might be less than what you can afford next year. I can provide you with recommendations of lenders who can help you determine what your buying power is. Additionally, with the market becoming more balanced, the need for pre-inspections and waiving of contingencies is passing.
I’d love to talk with you about the market in your neighborhood and why now might be the time for you to buy or sell. Give me a call/text at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com to set up a time to chat.
Home shoppers in Western Washington can choose from the largest supply of homes in three years and they are facing fewer bidding wars. August statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service show prices appear to be moderating (up about 6.7 percent overall), but brokers say they are not bracing for a bubble, or even anticipating a quick shift to a buyers’ market. “There have been incremental increases in listing inventory the past few months,” noted Gary O’Leyar, the designated broker/owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, but, he added, “By no means have inventory levels reached a point that is deemed to be a balanced market.” Prices were down in August but are still up from 2017.
If you’re thinking of buying, this is the time to get pre-approved and start your buying process. If you’re a seller, I’d be moving quickly to get your home on the market while prices are still at the peak. Please call me at 206-790-0081 or email me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com to discuss your real estate needs.
The media has been saying “the market is slowing down.” So have my colleagues. I even said a few weeks ago that we’re seeing a market adjustment. But this is not what I’m seeing right now.
I had 2 open houses this weekend on my new Ravenna listing and both were packed. I expect we may see multiple offers or even take an offer early.
Buyer clients of mine went to an open house yesterday in Bothell. They said it was busy. When I spoke with the broker for that listing last night, he said he had 90 people through on Saturday and around 50 on Sunday. And that’s in Bothell.
Buyers are out there for your home. There’s no need to wait until after Labor Day. Usually the last 2 weeks of August are slow in Seattle, but not this year. Maybe because of the smoke and weather change people are coming out. Maybe because interest rates dropped a tiny bit last week. I don’t know why but the market is very active right now.
I expect we’ll see an influx of listings after Labor Day. Talk to me soon if you’re interested in buying or selling a property.