For the first time in years, the real estate market is finally starting to deliver good news for buyers. The region experienced its third straight month of significant growth in inventory. Homes are sitting on the market longer, prices are moderating, and multiple offers are becoming more rare. Despite the surge in homes for sale, it is still a seller’s market. Inventory would need to triple to reach what is considered a balanced market.
Inventory on the Eastside soared 47 percent over the same time last year. There was a slight increase in new listings, but the jump was mostly due to homes staying on the market longer. Price drops have become more common. With buyers having more choices, sellers need to work with their broker to make sure they price their home correctly the first time. After setting a new high of $977,759 in June, the median price of a single-family home dropped to $947,500 in July. While offering some hope that prices may have started to moderate, the median is still 10 percent higher than it was the same time a year ago.
King County saw the biggest increase in inventory in a decade, with the number of homes for sale jumping 48 percent over a year ago. However, at 1.5 months of supply that’s still well below the 4-6 months of inventory that is considered balanced. The median price of a single-family sold in July was $699,000. That represents an increase of 6 percent from a year ago, but is down 4 percent from the record high of $725,000 set in April. Perceptions that the market is cooling needs to be kept in perspective. Homes here took an average of 15 days to sell.
Seattle saw inventory shoot up 60 percent over a year ago, bringing the supply to its highest level in over three years. Even with the sharp increase, much more inventory is needed to meet the demand for homes in the city and sellers may well decide to jump into the market. According to a Zillow study, more than 97 percent of homes in Seattle are worth more now than the peak level before the housing market crashed. Median home prices are 29 percent above the bubble peak level with the median price in July landing at $805,000; up 7 percent from last July and down from the record $830,000 reached in May.
Snohomish County also had double-digit increases in inventory, though not nearly as great as King County. The number of homes for sale in July increased nearly 16 percent over the same time a year ago, but inventory continues to be very tight. The median price of a single-family home rose 9 percent year-to-year to $495,000. That figure is down from the record high of $511,500 set in June. A move towards a more moderated market is encouraging for buyers and an incentive for sellers to list their homes soon.
This post originally appeared on the WindermereEastside.com Blog.
Chinese buyers continue to strongly influence our local market.
According to a report by Chinese website Juwai, the Seattle/Eastside area is the #3 most popular choice in the U.S. for Chinese buyers behind Los Angeles and New York City.
Windermere specifically targets this lucrative market.
Windermere properties are listed on the Chinese real estate website, Juwai, which has 2.6 million unique views per month from Chinese consumers who are searching purely for western properties.
- Windermere properties are listed with Luxury Portfolio International, a prestigious real estate site with a fully-translated Mandarin language portal.
- Windermere has strong ties with the China Alliance of Real Estate Agencies, which represents over 60 percent of all real estate sales in China.
- Windermere will have a prominent presence at the Luxury Property Show in Beijing, an invitation-only event hosting over 6,000 highly-targeted luxury home buyers in China.
- Windermere targets local Chinese nationals and their families and colleagues through marketing in the Seattle Chinese Times. \
Windermere agents sell more luxury homes to Chinese buyers.
This post originally appeared on the Windermere Eastside blog.
Our Eastside Market Review is now available for the third quarter of 2017.
You can read the full report online by clicking the image below.
We’re more than halfway through 2017! That means it’s time to reflect on national housing market predictions from the beginning of the year and look ahead to what we can expect for the remainder of the year. As a reminder, in early 2017 experts anticipated price growth would slow, inventory would bottom, and mortgage rates would climb.
According to Forbes, here are five things we can look out for:
1. Continued low inventory. Low inventory has been synonymous with our local market for a while, so this quote from one expert probably hits close to home for many people in the Seattle area: “I think we are OK calling it a straight up inventory crisis at this point.” According to an analysis, the current number of homes for sale is about equal to the housing supply in 1994 even though the U.S. population has grown by 63 million people since then.
2. More demand and higher prices. To follow the last point, since supply cannot fulfill demand, national home prices were up 5.58 percent through May. The current administration’s policies that could boost demand and millennial home buyers mean demand is not expected to dissipate anytime soon.
3. Lack of affordable housing. While the median value of homes in the U.S. is a relatively affordable $200,000, the median home sold for $263,800 in June. These prices are different (i.e. significantly lower) than what we typically see in our local market, but it is also common for us to see homes sell way over list price.
4. Homes will move fast. This is the effect of low inventory and high demand. The good news is there are still homes for sale. The not so good news is they go quickly. Nationally, the share of homes still on the market two months after listing is 47 percent. Again, these numbers are different for our region but the phenomenon of homes being snatched up quickly is the same.
5. Low mortgage rates. Here’s some good news! The average rate of the 30-year fixed mortgage is below the roughly 4 percent rate seen at the start of the year and at the low end of the range of economists’ forecast for the end of the year. We owe this to investor confidence in the U.S. government.
Contact me with questions about how I can help you better understand and navigate our ever-changing housing market!
The Seattle area continues to be an outlier in the national housing market. In May the price of single-family homes in the area increased by 13.3 percent year-over-year, more than double the national average. That marked the ninth month in a row in which Seattle experienced the biggest year-over-year increase in home prices. According to Curbed, there is a definite link between our hot housing market and the other defining feature of our region – the tech industry.
Reports about significant price growth in other tech hubs such as Portland, Denver, and of course San Francisco help confirm the correlation. This is because the tech industry has brought people to these cities in massive numbers – in Seattle’s case 1,000+ people per week – and they are all looking for homes in competition with locals.
Finance expert David Blitzer sums it up saying, “A larger population combined with more people working leads to higher home prices.” He goes on to say that even though U.S. home prices continue to climb and are outpacing both inflation and wages, we are not headed towards a bubble.
Suffice it to say, the tech industry is probably here to stay and people will continue flocking to our area for jobs and housing. Your best option for success in our frenzied market is working with a real estate professional. Reach out to me to talk about how I can put my expertise and the power of Windermere to work for you.
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.
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.
This blog originally appeared on the Windermere Eastside blog.
When you hear of a city that is “something between an urban jungle and the classic picture of suburbia,” Bellevue may not be the first place that comes to mind. However, that’s exactly how one young couple describes downtown Bellevue in a recent article from The Seattle Times – and they aren’t the only ones.
When and how did downtown Bellevue transform into a dense, urban, mini-Seattle?
According to the article, downtown Bellevue is the fastest-growing neighborhood in the city, so much like the growth in Seattle it happened fairly quickly. Most of it has occurred over the past four years as developers have built more than a dozen new apartment projects in the neighborhood – and more are in the works. Permit data from the city shows that since the latest development cycle began in 2013, downtown has seen $800 million worth of new projects come up and $100 million more about to begin.
The current wave of projects is a little different than the last. This time the surge is mostly apartments, which are seen as a safer investment, but at least two companies are planning the city’s first new condos in a decade. Additionally, office construction in this current development cycle has added 1.5 million square feet of office space to downtown, most of which has already been leased.
Residents of downtown have been experiencing the effects of this growth and they are welcoming some changes more than others. Millennials are starting to think of downtown Bellevue as a lively, energetic, interesting neighborhood and residents and visitors have given the area high marks for safety and cleanliness. Less welcome changes include added gridlock on the roads and an increase in housing costs.
Luckily, our region is no stranger to adjusting to expansion so the future of Bellevue looks bright.
Read the full article from The Seattle Times.
Tangible signs of growth in and around downtown Seattle are everywhere, from worsening traffic and commute times to the record number of cranes dotting the skyline. So it is not surprising The Seattle Times reported there were 68 major buildings under construction at the end of 2016, which is a new high since the Downtown Seattle Association started counting in 2005. This is 17 more than the number of buildings that were underway at the peak of the previous building cycle before the recession hit.
The semiannual report spans from Sodo to South Lake Union and from Lower Queen Anne to Capitol Hill. Most projects are packed into the South Lake Union neighborhood, which may lead people to believe that the majority are offices for a certain local retail giant, but in fact about two-thirds of the buildings under construction are residential. Some are condos for purchase, but most will be rentals. In fact, according to the article “Seattle is expecting nearly twice as many apartments to open this year than in any year in the city’s history.”
Most of the other big buildings are offices (mostly for Amazon) and some are hotels, which are making a comeback downtown according to the article.
How do locals feel about these projects?
Residents are divided in their sentiments about this surge in new projects. While plenty of people support them because they are creating more apartments that could lower rent costs, others do not like how they represent a rapidly changing Seattle or the feeling that developers are getting rich at the expense of neighborhood character.
Read the full article from The Seattle Times.
All of the statistics and speculation surrounding our local housing market could be summarized by one basic economic principle – supply and demand. We simply have not had enough homes, among other resources, to accommodate the rapid growth in our region. However, Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) recently reported there is hope ahead in the form of several big condo projects in Bellevue and Seattle.
At the beginning of December Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner offered some predictions for the 2017 housing forecast. According to his outlook, “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.”
These five – possibly six – developments will certainly help support his prediction. According to PSBJ buildings will range in size and unit prices will vary; however, all but one have at least one thing in common – developers from China or Canada. This could indicate that foreign investors that became ubiquitous in 2016 will maintain a strong presence in our real estate market in 2017.
How many units will these projects bring to Bellevue and Seattle?
The PSBJ is reporting these projects will add somewhere between 1,400 and 1,680 units. Keep in mind this number of new units to our region does not include other mixed-use developments that are underway, such as the Totem Lake redevelopment and Kirkland Urban.
The last cycle of additions was nine years ago when there were 3,765 condo units under construction in the greater downtown Seattle area alone. Since then only two major projects have been built in Seattle.
This resurgence of projects is a sign of how quickly local real estate is adapting to keep up with continued growth in our area. I am always working to ensure I stay up-to-date on the most relevant news to help you navigate the market, so reach out to me so I can put my knowledge to work for you!
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.