Local Market Update – April 2018

Despite the typical seasonal surge in new listings, supply in our area continued to fall far short of demand in March. With just two weeks of available inventory in every market, competition for homes is intense. The result was another month of double-digit price increases as compared to a year ago. The region has now led the country in home price increases for 17 months in a row. The prediction for the spring market: HOT with no signs of cooling.

Eastside

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The median price of a single-family home was up 6 percent over last March to $926,000, down slightly from the record-setting price last month. Sales were brisk at every price, including the luxury market. Sales of homes priced at $2 million or more were up 23 percent in the first quarter of 2018 as compared to the previous year.

King County

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A booming economy combined with insufficient inventory propelled prices to an all-time high in March. The median price of a single-family home in King County jumped 15 percent to $689,950. Multiple offers remain the norm. Buyers here need to plan on moving very quickly and working with their agent on strategies to navigate bidding wars.

Seattle

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The median home price in Seattle set a new record of $819,500 in March, up a whopping 17 percent from a year ago. Homes are selling within days of being listed. Only 19 single-family homes are currently on the market in Ballard and just 24 in Queen Anne. South Seattle, traditionally the most affordable part of the city, has seen the greatest increase in prices.  Home values in these neighborhoods have nearly tripled since the recession ended, while home values in the rest of the city have doubled.

Snohomish County

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Once a less competitive market than King County, Snohomish County now has the lower amount of inventory of the two. The median price of a single-family home grew 12 percent over a year ago to $475,000. Prices here remain significantly lower than in King County and many buyers priced out of that market are trading a longer commute time for the opportunity of ownership.

Local Market Update – March 2018

The local real estate market set new home price records in many parts of the region in February. Prices here have grown faster than anywhere else in the country for the last 16 months in a row. Demand remains high and inventory very low. Brokers are hoping the normal seasonal increase in listings this spring will help give buyers some relief.

Eastside

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With home prices soaring on the Eastside, it’s not a matter of whether the median price will exceed a million dollar, but when. February brought the market very close to that milestone. The median price of a single-family home increased 14 percent to a record $950,000 on the Eastside, surpassing the previous peak recorded in December.

King County

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The red-hot job market in King County continues to outpace nearly every area in the nation. Well-paid workers looking to buy close to city centers have fueled a growing competition for a shrinking number of homes. That demand boosted the median price of a single-family home up 16 percent over a year ago to $649,950.

Seattle

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The median price of a single-family home in Seattle hit a new high of $777,000 in February, $20,000 more than the previous record set in January and up 14 percent from the same time last year. Despite the sharp increase in prices, multiple offers have become the norm for most properties. It remains to be seen if recent interest rate hikes will have a moderating effect on home values.

Snohomish County

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After several months of moderating growth, Snohomish County set a new record for home prices in February. The median price of a single-family homes jumped 18 percent to an all-time high of $485,000. Inventory is down from a year ago, with less than a month’s supply of homes available for sale.

If you are considering buying a home in today’s market, here are three things to consider:

  1. Make sure you can afford the payments.
  2. Choose a location that will appeal to you long-term.
  3. Be committed to living there for a minimum of five to seven years.

Local Market Update – February 2018

With competition for homes growing and inventory shrinking, the real estate market in January was as hot as ever.  Home prices were up by double digits as buyers chased severely limited inventory. The number of homes for sale hit a record low for the month of January, which should strongly favor sellers as we move into the prime spring selling season.  The average home seller in our area now makes a 64 percent profit, the fourth-highest rate of any region in the country, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Eastside

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Home prices on the Eastside continue to climb. The median price of a single-family home was up 18 percent over last January to $938,000 —­ virtually unchanged from the record high set a month ago. West Bellevue, King County’s most expensive area,  saw the median home price surge to a record high of $2.72 million. With less than a month of available inventory, prices aren’t expected to cool any time soon.

King County

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Single-family home prices in King County soared 20 percent over a year ago to $628,388, with double-digit increases recorded in every area of the county.  Lack of inventory continues to fuel the market.  There were 21 percent fewer homes for sale here as compared to a year ago, with inventory hitting a record low for the month of January. The region has now been the hottest housing market in the country for 15 months in a row.

Seattle

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An ongoing shortage of inventory combined with an economy that continues to add jobs has kept the Seattle housing market very competitive and increasingly expensive. Seattle’s median price hit a new record in January jumping 19 percent to $757,000.  Despite the increase in prices, brokers are reporting open house traffic that can number in the hundreds of interested buyers.

Snohomish County

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Home price increases in Snohomish County were more moderate than those in King County. The median price of a single-family home grew 10 percent over a year ago to $450,000. That number is down from the high of last year, and reflects a more common seasonal slowdown.

 

2018 Windermere Eastside Kick-off

Every year over 500 brokers from Windermere offices across the Eastside gather to prepare for the new year at the annual Windermere Eastside Kick-Off Event at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. Last week, several speakers shared their insights and advice to prepare our agents to better serve their clients for the 2018 housing market.

Looking Ahead: What to Expect From the 2018 Housing Market

Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, shared his forecast for the 2018 housing market. Low inventory seems to be a problem stretching all the way to Ohio with many people living in their homes twice as long as past generations. Lack of skilled labor, available land and high material costs continue to make new construction an expensive option. Read more about his forecast.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Breaking Through The Noise

Micheal Fanning Kick Off 2018Senior Vice President Windermere Services and Ninja Instructor, Michael Fanning, brought his insights on breaking thought the mediocrity of the market place. Finding ways to bring those extra touches and using technology to your advantage can set you apart in a sea of daily distraction. Employing techniques from the Ninja Installation Train Program, Michael reminds agents that the hard things never get easier, you just get better and an average mindset will always result in a missed opportunity.

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.” – Robby Novak

Understanding Your Client’s Story

Tori Dabasinskas Eastside Kick Off

Licensed marriage and family therapist, Tori Dabasinskas, shared her communication strategies to help our agents better connect with their clients. Addressing techniques for authentic listening, creating more meaningful connections and responding with emotion as well as logic, Tori emphasized taking time to truly understand the “story” of each individual client. With personal empathy and active appreciation, our agents can better anticipate the needs of their clients and what can be done to better serve them.

“The truth is, rarely can a response make something better — what makes something better is connection.” – Dr. Brené Brown

Law Of Attraction

Richard Bennion Kick OFF 2018

Executive Vice President of HomeStreet Bank, Richard Bennion, reminded our agents that every client has a story. Their hopes, dreams and challenges are opportunities to listen, be attentive and show those clients their importance. Becoming an expert who is professional, authentic, self-aware and highly competent will attract people and help build your business’ sphere of influence. Taking a long-term approach in building client relationships will result in a strong business over time.

“Always take your job seriously, never yourself.” ― David Brooks

Growth, Support and The Power of Windermere

Brooks Burton Kick Off 2018

Brooks Burton, Chief Operating Officer for Windermere Services Company, opened the Kick-Off by sharing some exciting changes agents can look forward to in 2018. They included refreshed branding, offering more social media resources, improving technology and more resources based on agent feedback. Brooks also touched on the success of the Windermere Foundation which has raised over $35 million for local organizations since its inception in 1989 as well as how funds are allocated among those organizations.

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

Strategy and Determination

David Wasielewski Kick Off 2018

David Wasielewski, the Managing Partner of Northwest Din Tai Fung Partners, spoke about bringing the popular Chinese restaurant brand to the Seattle area. David shared that as a previous marketing veteran at Intel Corporation he had no restaurant experience prior to starting his own business. David’s approach to success? Strategy, action, and pacing himself.  He flew to California for many weekends to work at another Chinese restaurant owned by Din Tai Fung’s owners without pay to prove his interest and dedication to his mission. Fast forward to today and he owns four restaurants in the Seattle region and his first Bellevue Square location has won the highest gross sales award from Kemper Development Company in each of the five years he has operated.

“Strategy is pattern is a stream of decisions” – Henry Mintzberg

Getting in the Right Mindset: Pursuing Excellence

Tracie Ruiz Conforto Kick OFF

Tracie Ruiz Conforto, Olympic Medalist and Synchronized Swimmer of the Century, inspired us to find and pursue our passions, just as she did with swimming at the age of nine. She advised agents on three ways to achieve excellence – find your passion, use your competition to improve your skills, and surround yourself with a team who will support you. Tracie showed us that anything is possible when you combine passion, discipline, competition, and teamwork.

“Pursuing excellence means investing more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.” – Winston Churchill

The Windermere Eastside Kick-off was an inspiring and motivational event. Our brokers are more prepared than ever to provide valuable service for their clients and face the year ahead. We are excited to put this knowledge to good use as we help you navigate your real estate journey in 2018!

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The Gardner Report – Fourth Quarter 2017

Economic Overview

The Washington State economy added 104,600 new jobs over the past 12 months. This impressive growth rate of 3.1% is well above the national rate of 1.4%. Interestingly, the slowdown we saw through most of the second half of the year reversed in the fall, and we actually saw more robust employment growth.

Growth continues to be broad-based, with expansion in all major job sectors other than aerospace due to a slowdown at Boeing.

With job creation, the state unemployment rate stands at 4.5%, essentially indicating that the state is close to full employment. Additionally, all counties contained within this report show unemployment rates below where they were a year ago.

I expect continued economic expansion in Washington State in 2018; however, we are likely to see a modest slowdown, which is to be expected at this stage in the business cycle.

Home Sales Activity

  • There were 22,325 home sales during the final quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 3.7% over the same period in 2016.
  • Jefferson County saw sales rise the fastest relative to fourth quarter of 2016, with an impressive increase of 22.8%. Six other counties saw double-digit gains in sales. A lack of listings impacted King and Skagit Counties, where sales fell.
  • Housing inventory was down by 16.2% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, and down by 17.3% from last quarter. This isn’t terribly surprising since we typically see a slowdown as we enter the winter months. Pending home sales rose by 4.1% over the third quarter of 2017, suggesting that closings in the first quarter of 2018 should be robust.
  • The takeaway from this data is that listings remain at very low levels and, unfortunately, I don’t expect to see substantial increases in 2018. The region is likely to remain somewhat starved for inventory for the foreseeable future.

Annual change in home sales

Home Prices

  • Because of low inventory in the fall of 2017, price growth was well above long-term averages across Western Washington. Year-over-year, average prices rose 12% to $466,726.
  • Economic vitality in the region is leading to a demand for housing that far exceeds supply. Given the relative lack of newly constructed homes—something that is unlikely to change any time soon—there will continue to be pressure on the resale market. This means home prices will rise at above-average rates in 2018.
  • Compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in Lewis County, where home prices were 18.8% higher than a year ago. Eleven additional counties experienced double-digit price growth as well.
  • Mortgage rates in the fourth quarter rose very modestly, but remained below the four percent barrier. Although I anticipate rates will rise in 2018, the pace will be modest. My current forecast predicts an average 30-year rate of 4.4% in 2018—still remarkably low when compared to historic averages.

Days on Market

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the fourth quarter dropped by eight days, compared to the same quarter of 2016.
  • King County continues to be the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of 21 days to sell. Every county in the region saw the length of time it took to sell a home either drop or remain static relative to the same period a year ago.
  • Last quarter, it took an average of 50 days to sell a home. This is down from 58 days in the fourth quarter of 2016, but up by 7 days from the third quarter of 2017.
  • As mentioned earlier in this report, I expect inventory levels to rise modestly, which should lead to an increase in the average time it takes to sell a house. That said, with homes selling in less than two months on average, the market is nowhere near balanced.

Average Days On Market

Conclusions

Market SpeedometerThis speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the fourth quarter of 2017, I have left the needle at the same point as third quarter. Price growth remains robust even as sales activity slowed. 2018 is setting itself up to be another very good year for housing.

 

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 more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

 

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.