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Local Market Update – April 2021

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE ·3 min read 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 […]

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Give Blood to Give Back

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  All in, for community.   This month, Windermere and I are doing our part to give back to our communities. We’re partnering with Bloodworks Northwest for an important blood drive and are encouraging clients and friends like you to take part. Recent heavy demand in local hospitals has drawn down our region’s life-saving supply of blood. That’s where you and I come in. The Bloodworks-Windermere drive runs April 1 – 30. To donate blood at any Bloodworks center or pop-up location, please sign up here or call 800.398.7888. Please make sure to use sponsor code WRE when you arrive at your donation appointment. Be assured that Bloodworks Northwest is taking every precaution to make the donation process as safe and simple as possible. Measures such as increased social distancing in their centers, donations by appointment and only allowing donors over the age of 16 ensure that we can all stay safe while we do our part to give back to our communities. Please join Windermere and me as we give blood to give back. schedule.bloodworksnw.org

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Getting Through an Unforgettable Year: Windermere Eastside Foundation Donates $265,000 to Local Nonprofits

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WINDERMERE NEWS ·13 min read Windermere has always put our communities first, and after a year like 2020, more families and charity organizations are in need of support than ever before. Every year, ten Eastside Windermere offices join together to distribute funds from the Windermere Foundation to assist local families and organizations in need. In 2020, the Eastside Windermere Foundation was able to donate $265,000 to 26 local charitable organizations. Funds for the Windermere Foundation come from a portion of the proceeds of every home sale a Windermere broker completes, as well as additional donations raised by brokers and employees. Read on below to find out more about each of the organizations the Eastside Windermere Foundation helped support this year. Acres of Diamonds This nonprofit seeks to provide shelter, safety and an opportunity for women to break out of cycles of poverty and abuse. Not only does Acres of Diamonds provide women and their children a safe place to stay, it also provides counseling services to help children heal from trauma and help their mothers rewrite their own stories. A donation of $35 provides a night of safety for a mother and her children. With the Windermere Foundation’s grant, Acres of Diamonds can continue to provide support for women seeking transitional housing, overcoming substance abuse and rebuilding their lives. Learn more at: https://www.acresofdiamonds.org/ Assistance League of the Eastside The Assistance League of the Eastside is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that puts caring and commitment into action. Their community-based, philanthropic programs make a positive difference in the lives of children and adults touched by hardship or violence. The Windermere Foundation’s grant will help support some the Assistance League’s programs, such as Operation School Bell, which provides new school clothes to students in need. Learn more at: https://www.aleastside.org/ Attain Housing Since 1989, Attain Housing has provided transitional housing, case management, and support services to help families with children move forward from homelessness to stability. This organization focuses on providing families in need with rental assistance and transitional housing, as well as practical case management. The Windermere Foundation’s grant will help Attain Housing provide stable housing for families, support community supper services and offer hope to those in need. Learn more at: https://www.attainhousing.org/ Backpack Meals For Kids Many students depend on free or reduced meals through their schools to avoid going hungry during the week. Backpack Meals for Kids is a completely volunteer-run organization that provides free, easy-to-make […]

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Local Market Update – March 2021

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE ·2 min read Local Market Update – March 2021 Neither the snowstorm nor the increase in mortgage rates dampened buyer demand in February. Lack of inventory continues to be a frustration as there are way more prospective buyers than there are homes for them to buy. As a result, prices continued their upward climb. While the number of homes for sale edged up, it was still far shy of demand. This is especially true of single-family homes. There were 41% fewer homes on the market in King County in February than the same time last year. In an indication of just how competitive the current market is, the entire Eastside ended the month with just 224 homes for sale.  Inventory was even more scarce in Snohomish County where the entire county had just 283 homes for sale, a drop of 58% from a year ago.  Condo shoppers have more options as the number of units on the market in King County increased 56% from last February. With inventory so slim, competition is fierce. 57% of King County properties that sold in February sold over the list price. The median sale price paid was 9% over list price. Both are record highs. Competition doesn’t show signs of easing any time soon. A hike in interest rates is expected to only increase buyer urgency. An average rate of 3.02% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the week ending March 4 is the first time since July that the benchmark mortgage rate climbed above 3%. The enormous imbalance between supply and demand sent single-family homes prices soaring throughout the region. In King County, the median home sold for $750,000, 11% higher than a year ago. Most areas in the county saw double-digit increases. Home prices on the Eastside jumped a whopping 28%. Seattle home prices were up 9%.  In Snohomish County, the February $624,075 median price was up 21% from a year earlier and far surpassed the previous all-time high of $599,990 set in January. With seller review dates, escalation clauses and multiple offers now the norm it’s more important than ever for buyers to work with their broker to create a strategy that balances their wants and needs with their budget. 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 […]

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Local Market Update – February 2021

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE 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. […]

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Western Washington Real Estate Market Update ~ FOURTH QUARTER 2020 

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  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 your Windermere agent. 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. […]

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – JANUARY 2021

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  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 […]

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – DECEMBER 2020

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[THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATE [THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATELOCAL ECONOMY 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. KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY  

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2020

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  ·NOVEMBER 9, 2020 The number of people who can work remotely may be changing the way we view our homes, but one trend has not changed. The local housing market in October remained unseasonably hot. And that doesn’t show signs of changing any time soon. October saw continued low inventory and record-level sales, with the number of sales exceeding that of 2019 year-to-date. While new listings are on the rise, they are being snapped up quickly and many homes are selling in a matter of days. In King County there were 38% fewer single-family homes on the market as compared to a year ago. Snohomish County had 59% fewer listings.  A four-month supply of homes for sale is considered a balanced market, but King and Snohomish counties currently have less than one month of supply. With supply unable to keep up with demand, home prices are escalating at double-digit rates. The median single-family home price in King County rose 14% over a year ago to $745,000. Prices in Snohomish County jumped 17% year-over-year to a record high of $579,972. About half the homes that closed in October sold for over the asking price as compared to about a quarter of the homes the same time last year. The real estate market here is uncommonly resilient. Growing employment in major tech industries and an enviable quality of life have made our region one of the fastest growing areas in the country. With interest rates remaining at record lows, we may well skip the traditional slowing in the winter market altogether. 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 KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

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Western Washington Real Estate Market Update – Third Quarter

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  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 your Windermere agent.   REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Employment numbers in Western Washington continue to improve following the massive decline caused by COVID-19. For perspective, the area shed more than 373,000 jobs between February and April. However, the recovery has been fairly robust: almost 210,000 of those jobs have returned. Unemployment levels remain elevated; the current rate is 8.2%. That said, it is down from 16.6% in April. The rate, of course, varies across Western Washington counties, with a current low of 7.2% in King County and a high of 11.2% in Grays Harbor County. The economy is healing, but the pace of improvement has slowed somewhat, which is to be expected. That said, I anticipate that jobs will continue to return as long as we do not see another spike in new infections. HOME SALES Sales continued to improve following the COVID-19-related drop in the first quarter of the year. There were 25,477 transactions in the quarter, an increase of 11.6% from the same period in 2019, and 45.9% higher than in the second quarter of this year. Listing activity remains woefully inadequate, with total available inventory 41.7% lower than a year ago, but 1.6% higher than in the second quarter of this year. Sales rose in all but two counties, though the declines were minimal. The greatest increase in sales was in San Juan County, which leads one to wonder if buyers are actively looking in more isolated markets given ongoing COVID-19-related concerns. Pending sales—a good gauge of future closings—rose 29% compared to the second quarter of the year, suggesting that fourth quarter closings will be positive.       HOME PRICES Home-price growth in Western Washington rose a remarkable 17.1% compared to a year ago. The average sale price was $611,793. When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Mason, Island, and San Juan counties. Only one county saw prices rise by less than ten percent. It was even more impressive to see the region’s home prices up by a very significant 9.4% compared to the second quarter of 2020. It is clear that […]

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