Economy June 29, 2021

Matthew Gardner on Post-Pandemic Recovery

The “demise of downtown” has been greatly exaggerated, according to Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. That’s one assessment Gardner made recently, along with other observations about the current housing and job markets in the Seattle area.

According to Gardner, those who keep tabs on the real estate market should be careful about reading too much into year-over-year price changes in the housing market. While King County is up 23.5% and Snohomish County is up by almost 33%, Gardner reminds us that the housing market was in a very different place a year ago than it is today. The early days of pandemic shutdowns basically put last spring’s real estate market on hold. So while this year’s price increases certainly indicate a level of economic recovery has taken place, the data needs to be viewed in context for it to be truly useful.

Overall, Gardner advises a cautious optimism regarding the regional economy. He observes that things are improving, but he says it’s important not to get carried away. While Gardner predicts a period of aggressive growth for the next year, he reminds us that many people were spending their money very cautiously this time last year, so naturally as the economy opens back up there will be built-in growth ahead.

On the subject of inflation, many economists caution about rates akin to those of the 1970s and 80s. Gardner, however, predicts a more moderate outcome. Although he thinks it’s likely we’ll have higher interest rates than we’ve seen in the last 30 years, he doesn’t believe we’ll see the same growth in the inflation rate. Gardner predicts that by 2022 things are likely to have settled down into a more typical pattern.

Finally, Gardner addresses the current levels of job loss caused by the pandemic. In total, the Puget Sound region lost about 216,000 jobs during the initial stages of the pandemic, but has since recovered about 103,000 of these. However, that recovery is not evenly distributed across industries. According to Gardner, construction has seen a full recovery of its jobs, and tech and information jobs were minimally impacted by the pandemic. On the other hand, the leisure and hospitality sectors have experienced much slower recovery, having lost about 79,000 jobs but adding back only about 29,000 of those.

As the leisure and hospitality sectors slowly recover from the pandemic, Gardner points out that there is another sign that the local economy is heading in the right direction: the growing demand for in-person entertainment and events. Though many large-scale events like conventions and concerts are still being planned out years in advance, the enthusiastic demand for these events and the easing of government restrictions preventing them is reason for optimism indeed.

 


This article was originally posted on MyNorthwest and GettheWReport.com

The Gardner Report May 8, 2021

The Gardner Report – Q1 2021 Western Washington

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

In the summer and fall of 2020, Western Washington regained some of the jobs lost due to COVID-19, but employment levels in the region have been in a holding pattern ever since. As of February, the region had recovered 132,000 of the 297,000 jobs that were lost, but that still leaves the area down by 165,000 positions. Given the announcement that several counties may have to roll back to phase 2 of reopening, I would not be surprised to see businesses hold off on plans to add to their payrolls until the picture becomes clearer. Even with this “pause” in the job recovery, the region’s unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1% from the December rate of 6.4% (re-benchmarking in 2020 showed the December rate was higher than the originally reported 5.5%). The lowest rate was in King County (5.3%) and the highest rate was in Grays Harbor County, which registered at 9.2%. Despite the adjustment to the 2020 numbers, my forecast still calls for employment levels to increase as we move through the year, though the recovery will be slower in areas where COVID-19 infection rates remain elevated.

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME SALES

❱ Sales in the first quarter were impressive, with 15,893 home sales. This is an increase of 17.5% from the same period in 2020, but 32% lower than in the final quarter of last year—a function of low levels of inventory.

❱ Listing activity continues to be well below normal levels, with total available inventory 40.7% lower than a year ago, and 35.5% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2020.

❱ Sales rose in all counties other than Jefferson, though the drop there was only one unit. There were significant increases in almost every other county, but sales growth was more muted in Cowlitz and Thurston counties. San Juan County again led the way, likely due to ongoing interest from second-home buyers.

❱ The ratio of pending sales (demand) to active listings (supply) shows how competitive the market is. Western Washington is showing pendings outpacing new listings by a factor of almost six to one. The housing market is as tight now as I have ever seen it.

A bar graph showing the annual change in home sales for various counties in Western Washington

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME PRICES

A map showing the real estate market percentage changes in various Western Washington counties

❱ Home price growth in Western Washington continues to trend well above the long-term average, with prices 21.3% higher than a year ago. The average home sale price was $635,079.

❱ Compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Grays Harbor and Mason counties, but all markets saw double-digit price growth compared to a year ago.

❱ Home prices were also 2.9% higher than in the final quarter of 2020, which was good to see given that 30-year mortgage rates rose .4% in the quarter.

❱ I expect to see mortgage rates continue to trend higher as we move through the year, but they will remain significantly lower than the long-term average. Any increase in rates can act as a headwind to home-price growth, but excessive demand will likely cause prices to continue to rise.

A bar graph showing the annual change in home sale prices for various counties in Western Washington

DAYS ON MARKET

❱ The market in early 2021 continued to show far more demand than supply, which pushed the average time it took to sell a home down 25 days compared to a year ago. It took 2 fewer days to sell a home than it did in the final quarter of 2020.

❱ Snohomish and Thurston counties were the tightest markets in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 15 days to sell. The greatest drop in market time was in San Juan County, where it took 52 fewer days to sell a home than it did a year ago.

❱ Across the region, it took an average of only 29 days to sell a home in the quarter. All counties saw market time decrease from the first quarter of 2020.

❱ Very significant demand, in concert with woefully low levels of supply, continues to make the region’s housing market very competitive. This will continue to be a frustration for buyers.

A bar graph showing the average days on market for homes in various counties in Western Washington

CONCLUSIONS

A speedometer graph indicating a seller's market in Western Washington

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

Demand is very strong and, even in the face of rising mortgage rates, buyers are still out in force. With supply still lagging significantly, it staunchly remains a seller’s market. As such, I am moving the needle even further in their favor.

As I mentioned in last quarter’s Gardner Report, 2021 will likely see more homeowners make the choice to sell and move if they’re allowed to continue working remotely. On the one hand, this is good for buyers because it means more listings to choose from. However, if those sellers move away from the more expensive core markets into areas where housing is cheaper, it could lead to increased competition and affordability issues for the local buyers in those markets.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

Matthew Gardner - Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog

Local Market NewsLocal Market Updates April 14, 2021

Local Market Update – April 2020

 

Despite a bump in new listings the supply of homes still can’t keep up with the demand. The result? Multiple offers, escalation clauses, and record-breaking prices. If you’re considering selling your home, you’d be hard pressed to find a more lucrative market than what we have today.

March marked the first post-COVID/pre-COVID comparison, and the results were dramatic.

The drop in the number of listings was profound. In King County there were 54% fewer single-family homes on the market at the end of March than the same time a year ago. The Eastside had 68% fewer listings. There were just 216 homes for sale on the Eastside, which stretches from Issaquah to Woodinville. Extensive new investments there, including Amazon’s plan to add 25,000 jobs in Bellevue, will only increase demand for housing. North King County, which includes Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park had just 26 homes for sale. In Seattle, the 498 listings there represents a drop of 18% from a year ago. Despite the comparatively greater number of listings, Seattle still has only two weeks of available inventory. The situation was even more dire in Snohomish County. With the number of homes for sale down 68%, the county has just one week of inventory.

So why is inventory so low? The pandemic certainly has played a part. People now working from home have bought up properties with more space in more desirable locations. Nervousness and uncertainty about COVID compelled many would-be sellers to postpone putting their home on the market. Downsizers who may have moved into assisted living or nursing homes are staying in place instead. But there are other factors as well.

For more than a decade, less new construction has been built relative to historical averages, particularly in the suburbs. Interest rates have also been a factor. Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner noted, “I think a lot of the urgency from buyers is due to rising mortgage rates and the fear that rates are very unlikely to drop again as we move through the year, which is a safe assumption to make.” Homeowners who refinanced when rates were at record lows are staying in their homes longer, keeping more inventory off the market. And those same low interest rates have compelled many homeowners who bought a new home not to sell their previous one, but to keep it as a rental property.

While the number of listings tanked, the number of sales skyrocketed. That’s the recipe for soaring home prices. Housing prices here have been growing at the second-fastest rate in the nation for a full year. Nearly every area of King County saw double-digit price increases, with the exception of Seattle. In King County the median price for a single-family home in March was a record-high $825,000, up 15% from a year ago and an increase of 10% from February. The median home price topped $1 million for every city on the Eastside, where the overall median price surged 30% to $1,350,000, the highest median price ever recorded for the area. Seattle homes prices were also record-breaking, rising 4% to $825,000. Snohomish County prices set yet another all-time high as the median home price jumped 22% to $640,000.

The appeal of our area just keeps growing. For the second time, Washington took the No. 1 spot in the U.S. News Best States ranking – the first state to earn the top ranking twice in a row. The bottom line: the local real estate market is extremely competitive, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Successfully navigating today’s market takes a strong plan. Your broker can work with you to determine the best strategies for your individual situation.

The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.

EASTSIDE

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com

Local Market Updates February 10, 2021

Local Market Update – February 2021

This winter’s real estate market is looking more like a typical spring market. Sales were up, competition was fierce and prices continued to rise.

Lack of inventory still presents a huge issue. At the end of January there were only 1,055 single-family homes on the market in all of King County, 33% fewer than a year ago. If that wasn’t tight enough, Snohomish County had only 298 single-family homes for sale, 63% fewer than a year ago. Condos remain a bright spot for buyers frustrated by the frenzied market. January saw a nearly 50% increase in the number of condos for sale in King County. However, the increase in inventory didn’t translate into a drop in price. The median condo price was flat for the county, up 10% in Seattle and up 7% on the Eastside. Those looking for a relative bargain should consider Southwest and Southeast King County where the median condo prices were $254,275 and $269,900 respectively.

The large imbalance between supply and demand sent prices higher. Home prices here are climbing at the second-fastest rate in the nation. The median price of a single-family home in King County was $725,000, a 15% jump from a year ago. Seattle home prices increased 10% to $791,471. Inventory on the Eastside was down 58%, sending the median home price soaring 29% to $1.15 million. Snohomish County saw prices rise 18% to $599,990, well surpassing its previous high of $575,000.

While low interest rates take some of the sting out of rising prices, multiple offers over asking price have become the norm and are expected to continue. The easing of COVID restrictions may add yet more competition. Both King and Snohomish counties have moved into Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington plan, which allows open houses to resume with up to 10 people socially distanced.

All signs point to this strong seller’s market continuing for some time. The person who represents you as a buyer can make the difference in owning a home or not. Brokers are advising buyers to create a plan that prioritizes their wish list and sets realistic expectations in this hyper-competitive market.

The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.

EASTSIDE

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Home Improvements February 2, 2021

Modern Design Trends

Modern design can tie your home together while making a statement. Getting to know the modern farmhouse, mid-century modern, and industrial design trends will help to determine which is best for your home.

Modern Farmhouse 

Bringing country living to wherever you call home, modern farmhouse is a style marked by sleek lines, vintage touches, and natural textures that still delivers a comfortable feel. Widespread use of the term “modern farmhouse” did not pick up steam until the mid-2010s, only gaining in popularity since.

In your home: 
  • Color: A defining characteristic of the modern farmhouse is a whitewashed palette, which offers a satisfying contrast to the use of natural wood. Cream is also a popular choice. Floral accents are typically used to add depth to the whitewashed backdrop.
  • Features: Exposed beams, antique items, and rustic décor form the makeup of a modern farmhouse-inspired dwelling. Barn lighting and gooseneck lamps are the most fitting lighting choices. Round out your modern farmhouse look with shiplap wherever you see fit, board-and-batten siding, and Shaker cabinets for your kitchen.

 

Mid-Century Modern 

A movement begun in—you guessed it—the middle of the twentieth century, mid-century modern (MCM) took shape in a post-war America that saw a migration to urban areas, thus influencing design of the era to be more mindful of smaller living spaces.

In your home: 
  • Philosophy: Mid-century modern is as much an artistic movement as a design trend. MCM designs are simple in form, emphasizing function and organic influences, and are meant for everyone to use. Consider these characteristics when planning your décor.
  • Color: The color palette most commonly associate with MCM is earthy tones. If you’re looking to add more pop but want to stay true to the earthy palette, experiment with pastels.
  • Furniture: Typical MCM design features in furniture include juxtaposing larger pieces with skinny legs, peg legs, the use of lighter-colored woods such as teak, and fun geometric shapes. Beloved favorites include credenzas, dressers, and egg chairs.

 

Industrial 

Inspired by warehouses, factories and unexpected materials such as shipping containers, Industrial design brings home the raw, hardwearing aesthetic typically associated with spaces like reclaimed yards, hangars, and ports. Customization is popular in Industrial design, and like mid-century modern, simplicity is emphasized.

In your home:
  • Color: The Industrial color palette is predominantly neutral. Texture is a more defining feature than color, which gives you flexibility when it comes to decorating. With neutral colors, it is easier to keep your home’s color palette aligned and complimentary.
  • Materials: How do you make your home feel like a warehouse? Materials go a long way in accomplishing this. Industrial go-to materials for furniture and beyond include wood, aluminum, copper, steel, stone, and tin. Avoid soft materials like plush that would take away from the hardworking feel inherent in Industrial.
  • A touch of nature: Due to its emphasis on recycled and reused materials, plant life and nature-centric accents are fitting compliments to Industrial design. Indoor plants, cactus, and flowers are popular items for sprucing up an Industrial space while adding an appropriately placed touch of color.

 

Although these trends vary in style and application, they all share a statement-making capability. When incorporating them into your home, know that any of these features will definitively shape the look and feel of your home.


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

Local Market News February 2, 2021

Which Local Neighborhoods Closed Strongest in 2020?

It’s no question that 2020 was an unprecedented year in just about every way possible — including real estate. Low inventory and high demand sent home prices skyrocketing, ratcheting up the competition in King County’s already hot market. This competition didn’t slow down in the winter months either, as neighborhoods continued to see a rise in prices and home sales through the end of December.

But among the region’s most competitive neighborhoods, which ones fared the best at the end of 2020? Recent data from the NWMLS gives us some insight into King County’s strongest neighborhood markets.

Ballard/Greenlake and North Seattle both saw a marked increase in closings. Compared to December 2019, the neighborhoods both saw a 44% increase in closings. Ballard/Greenlake also had a significant price increase, from an average of $705,000 in December 2019 to $776,500 this year.

In terms of Seattle price increases, Southeast Seattle saw the greatest gains, coming in with an average increase of 16.4% in the neighborhood.

Last month, Queen Anne/Magnolia saw the number of houses under contract in their neighborhood more than double from December 2019, also indicating a strong interest in the area.

King County at large also performed well at the end of the year, with closed sales rising over 28% from December 2019, and the median price increasing almost 10%. In Seattle specifically, the number of closed sales rose 30.7% and the median price increased 5.8% year-over-year. On the Eastside, Kirkland/Bridle Hills saw the largest price increases in the county.

Despite the challenges 2020 brought, the housing market has remained strong, with increased sales throughout King County and Seattle. No matter which neighborhoods buyers are interested in, the price increases and number of closed sales indicate that buyers are ready to move forward with their lives and commit to homeownership.

 


This article was originally posted on Seattle Met by Benjamin Cassidy, and GettheWReport.com.

The Gardner Report January 27, 2021

Q4 2020 Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

After the COVID-19-induced declines, employment levels in Western Washington continue to rebuild. Interestingly, the state re-benchmarked employment numbers, which showed that the region lost fewer jobs than originally reported. That said, regional employment is still 133,000 jobs lower than during the 2020 peak in February. The return of jobs will continue, but much depends on new COVID-19 infection rates and when the Governor can reopen sections of the economy that are still shut down. Unemployment levels also continue to improve. At the end of the quarter, the unemployment rate was a very respectable 5.5%, down from the peak rate of 16.6% in April. The rate varies across Western Washington, with a low of 4.3% in King County and a high of 9.6% in Grays Harbor County. My current forecast calls for employment levels to continue to improve as we move through the spring. More robust growth won’t happen until a vaccine becomes widely distributed, which is unlikely to happen before the summer.

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME SALES

❱ Sales continued to impress, with 23,357 transactions in the quarter. This was an increase of 26.6% from the same period in 2019, but 8.3% lower than in the third quarter of last year, likely due to seasonality.

❱ Listing activity remained very low, even given seasonality. Total available inventory was 37.3% lower than a year ago and 31.2% lower than in the third quarter of 2020.

❱ Sales rose in all counties, with San Juan County seeing the greatest increase. This makes me wonder if buyers are actively looking in more remote markets given ongoing COVID-19 related concerns.

❱ Pending sales—a good gauge of future closings—were 25% higher than a year ago but down 31% compared to the third quarter of 2020. This is unsurprising, given limited inventory and seasonal factors.

 

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME PRICES

❱ Home price growth in Western Washington continued the trend of above-average appreciation. Prices were up 17.4% compared to a year ago, with an average sale price of $617,475.

❱ Year-over year price growth was strongest in Lewis and Grays Harbor counties. Home prices declined in San Juan County which is notoriously volatile because of its small size.

❱ It is interesting to note that home prices were only 1% higher than third quarter of 2020. Even as mortgage rates continued to drop during the quarter, price growth slowed, and we may well be hitting an affordability ceiling in some markets.

❱ Mortgage rates will stay competitive as we move through 2021, but I expect to see price growth moderate as we run into affordability issues, especially in the more expensive counties.

 

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

❱ 2020 ended with a flourish as the average number of days it took to sell a home in the final quarter dropped by a very significant 16 days compared to a year ago.

❱ Snohomish County was again the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 15 days to sell. The only county that saw the length of time it took to sell a home rise compared to the same period a year ago was small Jefferson County, but it was only an increase of four days.

❱ Across the region, it took an average of 31 days to sell a home in the quarter. It is also worth noting that, even as we entered the winter months, it took an average of five fewer days to sell a home than in the third quarter of last year.

❱ The takeaway here is that demand clearly remains strong, and competition for the few homes available to buy continues to push days on market lower.

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

Demand has clearly not been impacted by COVID-19, mortgage rates are still very favorable, and limited supply is causing the region’s housing market to remain incredibly active. Because of these conditions, I am moving the needle even further in favor of sellers.

2021 is likely to lead more homeowners to choose to move if they can work from home, which will continue to drive sales growth and should also lead to more inventory. That said, affordability concerns in markets close to Western Washington’s job centers, in combination with modestly rising mortgage rates, should slow the rapid home price appreciation we have seen for several years. I, for one, think that is a good thing.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog by Matthew Gardner

Local Market Updates January 14, 2021

Local Market Update – January 2021

 

The end of 2020 marked a most unusual year, and the real estate market was no exception. While homes sales usually take a holiday during December, this year saw the continuation of an exceptionally strong and competitive market. New listings, closed sales and home prices all went up. With supply nowhere close to meeting demand, the strong market is expected to extend into 2021.

Inventory continues to be the biggest challenge for buyers. While King County had a 62% increase in new listings compared to a year ago, homes were snapped up quickly, leaving the county with just over two weeks of available inventory at the end of the month. The supply of single-family homes was down 35% year-over-year. Buyers considering a condo had far more choices. Inventory was up 45%, but at about five weeks of available units the condo market is still significantly short of the four month supply that is considered balanced. Inventory in Snohomish County was even more strained, with the month end showing only a one-week supply of homes. At the end of December there were only 373 homes on the market in all of Snohomish County, a 63% drop from a year ago. With inventory this tight, it’s more important than ever for buyers to work with their agent on a strategic plan for getting the home they want.

Low inventory and high demand continued to push prices upward. The median single-family home price in King County was up 10% over a year ago to $740,000. Price increases varied significantly by area. Seattle home prices were up 10%. The traditionally more affordable area of Southwest King County, which includes Federal Way and Burien, saw prices jump 15%. And on the Eastside, the most expensive market in King County, home prices soared 17% — the largest increase of any area in the county. Home prices in Snohomish County rose 12% to $573,495, just shy of its all-time high of $575,000.

With 2021 ushering in a new record low for interest rates, and inventory at its tightest in recent memory, 2021 is expected to remain a very competitive market.

Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner’s prediction: “As we move into 2021, I expect continued strong demand from buyers, but unfortunately, the likelihood that there will be any significant increase in inventory is slim. As a result, I believe prices will continue to rise, which is good news for sellers, but raises concerns about affordability. This, combined with modestly rising mortgage rates, could end up taking some steam out of the market but overall, I expect housing to continue being a very bright spot in the Puget Sound economy.”

The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.

EASTSIDE

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Buying a HomeHome Improvements December 24, 2020

Turning a House into a Happy Home

Turning a House into a Happy Home | MyKCM

We talk a lot about why it makes financial sense to buy a home, but more often than not, we’re drawn to the emotional reasons for homeownership.

No matter the living space, the feeling of a home means different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the feel-good connections to our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Owning your home is an accomplishment worth celebrating

You’ve likely worked very hard to achieve this dream, and whether it’s your first home or your fifth, congratulations are in order for this milestone. You’ve earned it.

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security but also a comfortable place where you can simply relax and kick-back after a long day. Sometimes, that’s just what we need to feel recharged and truly content.

3. You can find more space to meet your needs

Whether you want more room in your home for your changing lifestyle (think: working from home, virtual school, or a personal gym), or you simply prefer to have a large backyard for socially-distant entertaining, you can invest in a location that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and your style

Looking to try one of those complicated wall treatments you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Maybe you want to finally adopt that fur-baby puppy or kitten you’ve been hoping for. You can do all of these things in your own home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that turn a house into a happy home.

Local Market Updates December 11, 2020

Local Market Update – December 2020

Nothing about 2020 is normal, and that includes real estate trends. The housing market typically slows significantly during the holiday season, but that is not the case this year. Buyer interest is strong, sales are up, and prices have followed suit.

A recent report ranked our area as the most competitive real estate market in the country, with 71% of homes selling within two weeks. While the number of new listings in November were up compared to a year ago, there just wasn’t enough inventory to meet the current surge in demand.

In King County there were 37% fewer single-family homes on the market – 1,621 homes this November vs. 2,592 a year ago. Inventory in Snohomish County is even more strained. At the end of the month there were just 416 homes for sale as compared to 1,204 a year ago, a 65% drop. Both counties had about a two week supply of homes at the end of November. A four month supply of inventory is considered balanced. Buyers in the market for a condominium in King County had much more options. Condo inventory was up 39% over last year.

The inventory-starved market sent home prices higher. The median single-family home price in King County was up 10% over a year ago to $730,500. Home prices in Snohomish County rose 14% to $566,000. In a survey of homebuyers looking for a home during Covid-19, 82% said they would go over budget to get their ideal home. Record-low interest rates have helped soften the blow of soaring prices a bit. According to Freddie Mac, rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to their lowest level, at 2.71%, for the 14th time this year.

With low inventory and high demand, buyers need to be ready to compete. That means being pre-approved or willing to offer cash, and working with an agent on a plan that includes counter-offers, escalation clauses and other strategies to help win the sale. As many consider working remotely long-term, our home has become more important to us than ever.

The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.

EASTSIDE

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com