Our Eastside Market Review is now available for the fourth quarter of 2016.
You can read the full report online by clicking the image below.
Last week, over 500 brokers from offices across the Eastside (and even Chelan!) gathered at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue for the annual Windermere Eastside Kick-off event to prepare and get motivated for the 2017 housing market. Speakers shared their insights and predictions for the year ahead so our brokers can be better prepared to serve their clients.
Kicking off the event was Matt Deasy, owner of Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc., to share three takeaway values and reminders as we prepare to take on the red-hot Seattle real estate market.
Windermere brokers provide value to our clients in three different ways: opportunity, synergy, and endurance. In the greater Seattle area, we are uniquely poised to take advantage of the strong economy and educate our customers on our housing market.
Next up was a broker panel with some of the Eastside’s top producing brokers moderated by Mike Connolly, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Central, Inc. The broker panel included Nicole Mangina (Bellevue Commons), Jay Agoado (Mercer Island), Ruth Harle (East, Inc.), Clive Egdes (Kirkland – Central), and Tony Butz (East, Inc.). These brokers shared tips, ideas, and personal anecdotes about what has improved and made a positive impact on their businesses.
Shawn Prutsman, Vice President of Technology with Windermere Services, also spoke on some of the technological updates we can expect this year.
Windermere’s leading tech services help our brokers and customers. Through our innovative tools, we are able to provide outstanding marketing and technological support to help our clients sell their homes quicker, and to help buyers with the selling process.
Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, attended to share his forecast for the 2017 housing market. While he has shared some general reports with predictions, Gardner provided our brokers with an in depth analysis of the economy and the local real estate market. We always appreciate his insight and statistics as we educate our clients on the financial choices they make in the purchase or sale of their homes.
In a special panel moderated by Peter Hickey, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Northeast, Inc., architecture and design specialists described Northwest home design trends we might be seeing more of this year. This panel featured Sheri Olson of Sheri Olson Architecture, Susan Marinello of Susan Marinello Interiors, Inc., and Brenda Gage with JayMarc Homes.
With a large influx of newcomers to the area, home buyer design interests and trends are shifting. Outgoing trends like microwaves over ranges, and incoming trends like designed mudrooms were hot topics. The three discussed how we will probably see a resurgence in architecture to reflect the environment.
Then it was time to wrap up the event and get everyone in the right mindset for the new year. Dan Givens with Windermere Professional Development shared his three main ways to help positively approach the new year. The bonus with these steps is they can be used every day and will benefit everyone regardless of where they work in the real estate industry. If you tell yourself you will have fun, meet nice people, and set a goal to help someone solve a problem each day, you will have no choice but to have a positive and successful year.
The Windermere Eastside Kick-off was an inspiring event with useful information to help our brokers prepare for and embrace for the year ahead. We are excited to put this knowledge to good use as we help you navigate the listing or sale of your home in 2017!
A record low number of houses for sale in December indicates that 2017 will continue to be a very competitive market for buyers. The good news: those who decide to take the plunge and list their home can count on getting a premium price for their property. Brokers reported that about three-fourths of the homes sold in December involved bidding wars.
Strong demand driven by a booming tech economy and great schools continue to strain the already low inventory on the Eastside. It’s not unusual for a well-priced new listing to receive dozens of offers and to sell for well over asking price. With supply failing to meet demand, the median price for homes sold in December soared 19 percent to a new record high of $803,500.
King County had only about 1,600 single-family homes on the market in December, an all-time low. With the healthy regional economy, demand remains very strong. Prices, however, appear to be moderating somewhat. The median price for a single-family home sold in December was $550,000, up 8 percent over a year ago, but unchanged from October and November. A traditional uptick in inventory this spring may help keep price increases more modest this year compared to the double-digit increases seen in 2015.
According to the Case-Shiller home price index, home prices are rising faster in the Seattle metro area than in any other major region in the country. One issue is space. The city’s existing density means that virtually no new single-family homes are being built in Seattle. As new residents flood in, more people are competing for the already tight inventory. As a result, home prices are up. The median cost of a single-family home rose 6 percent from a year ago to $635,000.
While home prices in Snohomish County are well below those of King County, the gap is closing as prices here are increasing at a faster pace than neighboring counties. The median price of a single-family home in Snohomish County rose 12 percent as compared to a year ago to $400,000. Like King County, inventory is very slim, indicating a market heavily favoring sellers.
Buyers spooked by a spike in mortgage interest rates gave rise to the busiest November for homes sales in over a decade. Prices rose accordingly. Case-Shiller ranked the area as the housing market with the fastest rising prices in the country. Sellers can expect to get a premium for their homes as we move into 2017, but they need to consider how an expected further increase in interest rates may impact the market.
There hasn’t been a stronger seller’s market on the Eastside in recent memory. Record-setting home sales, combined with record-low inventory, has resulted in a significant imbalance of supply and demand. It’s no surprise that home prices surged upward. The median price of a single-family home sold on the Eastside was $759,400, an increase of 13 percent over last November.
Home sales in King County soared nearly 30 percent over a year ago. With frenzied demand gobbling up inventory, most homes received multiple offers. Median home prices here were up 10 percent over the same time last year to $550,000. Brokers expect the market will continue to be extremely active through the winter.
A severe inventory shortage continues to make multiple offers the norm in Seattle. Even the uptick in mortgage interest rates has done little to moderate demand. The median home price here increased to $615,000 in November. If it’s any consolation for buyers facing sticker shock, that was just a 3 percent increase over the same time last year.
Snohomish County experienced the same boost in buying and bust in inventory as the rest of the region. Prices climbed at an even faster rate than in King County. Compared to a year ago, the median price of a single-family home was up over 14 percent to $400,000.
Well, it’s December; the time of year when we look to our crystal ball and offer our housing market predictions for the coming year. And by crystal ball we mean Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, who has been travelling up and down the West Coast giving his annual forecast to a variety of real estate and financial organizations. Last month’s surprising election results have created some unknowns, but based on what we do know today, here are some thoughts on the current market and what you can expect to see in 2017.
HOUSING SUPPLY: In 2016 the laws of supply and demand were turned upside down in a majority of markets along the West Coast. Home sales and prices rose while listings remained anemic. In the coming year, there should be a modest increase in the number of homes for sale in most major West Coast markets, which should relieve some of the pressure.
FIRST-TIME BUYERS: We’re calling 2017 the year of the return of the first-time buyer. These buyers are crucial to achieving a more balanced housing market. While rising home prices and competition will act as a headwind to some first timers, the aforementioned modest uptick in housing inventory should help alleviate some of those challenges.
INTEREST RATES: Although interest rates remain remarkably low, they will likely rise as we move through 2017. Matthew Gardner tells us that he expects the 30-year fixed rate to increase to about 4.5 percent by year’s end. Yes, this is well above where interest rates are currently, but it’s still very low.
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY: This remains one of the biggest concerns for many West Coast cities. Some markets continue to see home prices escalating well above income growth. This is unsustainable over the long term, so we’re happy to report that the rate of home price appreciation will soften in some areas. This doesn’t mean prices will drop, but rather, the rate of growth will begin to slow.
Last but not least, we continue to hear concerns about an impending housing bubble. We sincerely believe these fears to be unfounded. While we expect price growth to slow in certain areas, anyone waiting for the floor to fall on housing prices is in for a long wait. Everything we’re seeing points towards a modest shift towards a more balanced market in the year ahead.
This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.