Seattle Area Popular With Residents & Outsiders

It seems like a tale as old as time. Many people are wanting to move to Seattle, but no one else really wants to leave. This leads to our favorite real estate headline for the last several years: inventory is low, prices are rising.

Seattle-based Zillow recently analyzed searches on their website and compared the location of its users with the cities in which they are searching. They used this information to create a chart of the most desirable cities based on their popularity with outsiders and current residents.

Image via Zillow

Unsurprisingly, Seattle ranked high in the category “Residents Want To Stay, Outsiders Want In” with about 70 percent of current residents continuing to search here.

What does this mean for the Eastside?

It isn’t just our breathtaking scenery and active lifestyles making the Seattle area’s population grow by nearly 1,000 residents per week over the last several years. Our strong economy and plentiful technology jobs are enticing newcomers. Some areas on the Eastside even have higher home prices and carry some pretty stiff competition.

If you are ready to buy or sell your home, make sure you get in touch with a Windermere Real Estate broker on the Eastside. Our expertise can help you purchase your dream home, or sell your current home at top dollar.

View the full study from Zillow or read the report from the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The Perfect Storm for Home Sellers

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Thinking of listing your home? Sellers today stand to benefit from a perfect storm of market conditions that are delivering the greatest possible return on investment.

  • Record-Low Inventory: Fewer than 1,600 single-family homes were on the market in King County last month, an all-time low.
  • Record High Prices: Prices are at historic highs, and are rising faster than anywhere else in the country.


So, why not just wait and see if prices go even higher?

Just like with the stock market, it’s impossible to time the housing market. However, experts have predicted price increases to slow this year, and prices here are already showing signs of moderating.

In addition, interest rates are expected to go up this year. A majority of the members of the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting board predict there will be three more increases coming in 2017. These increases will cause mortgage rates to rise, which means buyers will only qualify for less expensive homes. This reduced purchasing power starts slowing buyer demand.

It’s the perfect time to list your home. Are ready to get started?

A Windermere Real Estate broker can prepare a valuation of your home based on current market conditions, walk you through the process, and answer any questions you may have. Contact your broker today to get started.

Perspectives: 2017 Forecast

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.

The Trump effect. How will it impact the US economy and housing?

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The American people have spoken and they have elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Change was clearly demanded, and change is what we will have.

The election was a shock for many, especially on the West Coast where we have not been overly affected by the long-term loss in US manufacturing or stagnant wage growth of the past decade. But the votes are in and a new era is ahead of us. So, what does this mean for the housing market?

First and foremost I would say that we should all take a deep breath. In a similar fashion to the UK’s “Brexit”, there will be a “whiplash” effect, as was seen in overnight trading across the globe. However, at least in the US, equity markets have calmed as they start to take a closer look at what a Trump presidency will mean.

On a macro level, I would start by stating that political rhetoric and hyperbole do not necessarily translate into policy. That is the most important message that I want to get across. I consider it highly unlikely that many of the statements regarding trade protectionism will actually go into effect. It will be very important for President Trump to tone down his platform on renegotiating trade agreements and imposing tariffs on China. I also deem it highly unlikely that a 1,000-mile wall will actually get built.

It is crucial that some of the more inflammatory statements that President-Elect Trump has made be toned down or markets will react negatively. However, what is of greater concern to me is that neither candidate really approached questions regarding housing with any granularity. There was little-to-no-discussion regarding housing finance reform, so I will be watching this topic very closely over the coming months.

As far as the housing market is concerned, it is really too early to make any definitive comment. That said, Trump ran on a platform of deregulation and this could actually bode well for real estate. It might allow banks the freedom to lend more, which in turn, could further energize the market as more buyers may qualify for home loans.

Concerns over rising interest rates may also be overstated. As history tells us, during times of uncertainty we tend to put more money into bonds. If this holds true, then we may see a longer-than-expected period of below-average rates. Today’s uptick in bond yields is likely just temporary.

Proposed infrastructure spending could boost employment and wages, which again, would be a positive for housing markets. Furthermore, easing land use regulations has the potential to begin addressing the problem of housing affordability across many of our nation’s housing markets – specifically on the West Coast.

Economies do not like uncertainty. In the near-term we may see a temporary lull in the US economy, as well as the housing market, as we analyze what a Trump presidency really means. But at the present time, I do not see any substantive cause for panic in the housing sector.

We are a resilient nation, and as long as we continue to have checks-and balances, I have confidence that we will endure any period of uncertainty and come out stronger.

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

Seattle’s Red Hot Housing Market and Its First-Time Homebuyers

dreamstime_s_8927135The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index was just released earlier this week ranking the major metropolitan areas across the U.S. by the fastest-rising home prices. While we have not muscled out Portland for the No. 1 spot on the list, we came in a close second having narrowed the gap significantly.

According to an analysis by The Seattle Times, Seattle-area home prices are now rising at their swiftest pace in 2.5 years. While we missed out on taking over Portland for the top spot on the Case-Shiller index, Seattle did increase its lead over third-place Denver where prices only rose 8.8 percent over last year.

Portland, having led the Case-Shiller index all year, had the fastest-rising home prices up 11.7 percent over a year ago. In Seattle, home prices were up 11.4 percent over 2015. Both Pacific Northwest cities saw home costs increase at more than twice the national rate of 5.3 percent. By this point, the “record-high home price” headlines are trite. So what makes this time so important?

Well, for starters, this is the eighth straight month of double-digit growth. That in itself is something fairly noteworthy. Additionally, as The Seattle Times states, homes across all price levels are getting more expensive, but “the biggest increase was in the cheapest set of homes” which were up 12.4 percent. The smallest jump was for luxury homes, up 10.9 percent.

Home prices have been soaring consistently for more than four years having jumped 59 percent since 2012. Starter homes have seen prices jump 75 percent in that time frame. Our local millennials are ready to take advantage of the low mortgage rates, but the starter home just is not what it used to be.

What does this mean for the Eastside?

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We want to take a look at Windermere Real Estate’s latest housing market update where we reported the median home sale price at $750,000. That is a solid 10 percent increase over the home prices we saw last year. By comparison, the median sale price of a single-family home was $630,000 last month.

First-time buyers are faced with these skyrocketing home prices, and even though other housing market factors are playing in their favor, it can be an intimidating time to jump into the real estate world. Make sure you team up with a Windermere broker who can help you navigate the real estate market and can turn your homeownership dreams into a reality.

Read more from our source, The Seattle Times.