Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Buy a Home

If you’ve been looking to buy a house, it’s easy to get discouraged. With our local real estate market still the hottest in the country, a lot of buyers have become frustrated after losing out to multiple offers and all-cash sales. While some buyers are considering waiting out the market, here is why that’s not a wise move.

1. Historically, this time of the year is the best time to buy a home.

The fourth quarter of the year has always seen the lowest demand for home sales. Kids are back in school. The holiday season is gearing up. It’s just not the time of year when people want to uproot their lives and move into a new home. That all changes in a few months. The market traditionally experiences the highest demand and the lowest inventory of the year between January and May. Your best bet is to make an offer now.

2. Home prices are expected to increase next year.

A booming economy, rising population, and an influx of highly-paid workers are all expected to sustain the strong demand for housing through 2018. While the sharp home price increases of the past few years are expected to moderate, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner predicts that home prices will increase by 9 percent next year.

3. Interest rates are predicted to rise.

Waiting means you’ll get less house for your money. It’s all about the One in Ten Rule. As Matthew Gardner explains, for every 1 percent increase in mortgage rates your buying power decreases by 10 percent. Even if home prices are flat a year from now (which is not expected), an increase in interest rates means you’ll have to borrow more money to buy the same house.

With home valuations at high levels today, buyers should consider three things before they purchase a home: Can I afford the monthly payments, do I like the location, and am I planning to live in the home for at least five years?

If you decide to move forward, your real estate agent can make the difference between winning the deal or not.

Here’s what sets Windermere Real Estate brokers apart:

  • They can position your offer to have the greatest appeal to the seller (and sometimes that’s not just a higher price).
  • Our brokers receive extensive training on how to create the most competitive offer and negotiate successfully in a multiple-offer situation.
  • Other agents are more confident in completing a transaction with an agent from Windermere than they are with any other real estate company.

Contact your Eastside Windermere Real Estate broker today.

It’s Time for the Bellevue Farmers Market!

Opening day for the Bellevue Farmers Market is nearly here! Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 18th in the parking lot of Bellevue Presbyterian Church.

The Bellevue Farmers Market has been a staple on the Eastside for nearly 13 years, and Windermere Real Estate has proudly sponsored since it began in 2004. This farmers market was created as a way to support the farmers who work hard to provide us with food.

The market’s mission is to fully support the farmers and the hard work they do every year and each season. It also gives the growing, urban Bellevue a chance to break away from the fast-paced city life. The food is so fresh and wonderful, usually harvested or made that morning or the day before. You can’t always get food that fresh from the grocery stores!

Starting this year the Bellevue Farmers Market will be accepting Fresh Bucks. Fresh Bucks is a program that matches EBT/SNAP benefits (food stamps) dollar for dollar up to $10 every market day and can be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. More information can be found on the market website here and on the Fresh Bucks website.

A returning favorite this year is the Power of Produce Club. Also known as POP Club, this fun and educational club will run at the market every week from June 8th-August 24th, and each week a new activity is offered for kids to playfully learn more about nutrition, agriculture, and healthy living. You can sign up and find out more about POP Club online.

Plan your trip to the Bellevue Farmers Market and make sure you’re following them on Facebook and Instagram!

Local Market Update – May 2017

The local real estate market—already the hottest in the country—set yet another price record in April. The number of homes for sale dropped 27 percent compared to a year ago, the lowest amount of inventory ever recorded for a spring month. The historically low supply of homes is making competition among buyers fierce. Sellers are in the enviable position of being able to structure sales agreements to include concessions such as rent-backs and longer closing time so they can take the time to find their next home.

Eastside

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The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside reached an all-time high of $880,000 in April, a 21 percent jump over last April. That represents an increase of $150,000 over a year ago, the largest dollar increase on record. With our strong economy and growing population, brokers are not predicting a slowdown any time soon.

King County

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Inventory in King County just keeps getting tighter. There are just 1,900 homes on the market here. That compares to nearly 8,000 in April 2011. As buyers bid up existing homes, prices have escalated sharply. The median price of a single-family home jumped 16 percent from the same time last year to $625,000.

Seattle

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Seattle set a record for home prices for the third straight month. The median price of a single-family home rose 13 percent over the same time last year to $722,250. Like the rest of King County, lack of inventory was the driver. In one of the city’s hottest markets, Ballard, there are just 19 single-family homes on the market.

Snohomish County

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Home prices in Snohomish County are rising at their fastest pace in four years. The median price of a single-family home soared 17 percent from a year ago to $440,000. While that increase is substantial, prices here are still 30 percent less than in King County.

2016 Windermere Foundation Recipients

Every year, the Eastside Windermere Foundation, with representatives from each of the 12 Windermere Real Estate offices on the Eastside, comes together to select the grant recipients of the Eastside Windermere Foundation.

In 2016, we chose a record number of 19 organizations to receive grants created from the support of every Windermere Real Estate transaction from the Eastside. These grants will provide services and support for the community.

Below is a full list of the local organizations the Eastside Windermere Foundation was able to support this year.

Acres of Diamonds

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This grant provides women and children transitional housing and support programs to rebuild lives from domestic abuse and/or substance abuse.

Assistant League

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This grant goes to the Operation School Bell program that provides basic items of clothing to low-income students, grades K-12.

Attain Housing

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This grant provides affordable housing to homeless families with children as well as case management for setting financial and social goals.

Backpack Meals

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This grant provides weekend meals to Bellevue School District students who are homeless and would otherwise go hungry.

Bellevue LifeSpring

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This grant supports the Breaktime-Mealtime Program which provides 80,000 meals to children during school breaks.

Birthday Dreams

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This grant provides birthday celebrations for homeless youth, specifically through their Birthday-in-a-Box Program.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue

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This grant supports Project Learn after school and summer camp programs at three low-income housing Clubhouses.

Congregation for the Homeless/Valley Renewal Center

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This is a first-time grant recipient. This grant provides food, toiletries, clothing, blankets, etc. to homeless families.

Eastside Academy

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This grant pays for food expenses for homeless and poverty-level students while they attend this alternative school.

Eastside Baby Corner

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This grant provides essentials like diapers and formula to economically disadvantaged children from birth to 12 years.

Hopelink

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This is a first-time grant recipient. This grant supports the Pantry Pack Program which provides lunches to poverty-level children in the 36 Lake Washington School District schools.

Imagine Housing

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This is a first-time grant recipient. This grant will target under 18-year-olds in their Support Services Program that provides affordable housing and life skill case management in East King County.

Issaquah Community Services

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This grant will provide emergency aid in the form of utility payments to low-income families in the Issaquah School District.

Kindering

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This grant provides developmental support, screening, and early intervention therapies to very young children of homeless families.

Lifewire

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This grant supports the Hotel-Motel Voucher Program which provides emergency short-term stays in hotels and motels for victims of domestic violence.

Mamma’s Hands

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This grant supports three Houses of Hope that house mothers and children from abuse and homelessness and helps them develop individual plans to bring changes to their lives.

Royal Family Kids Camp

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This grant supports summer camp for abused, neglected, and abandoned foster children age seven to 11.

Treehouse

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This grant supports the Little Wishes Program which allows foster care youth to participate in extracurricular arts, athletics, and other educational experiences.

Youth Eastside Services

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This is a first-time grant recipient. This grant supports YES Lifeline, a service that provides free mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment to low-income East King County youth and families.

Local Market Update – January 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.

Eastside

Click image to view full report.
Click image to view full report.

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

Click image to view full report.
Click image to view full report.

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.

Seattle

Click image to view full report.
Click image to view full report.

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.

Snohomish County

Click image to view full report.
Click image to view full report.

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.