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Western Washington Quarter 4 Gardner Report

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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.   ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Employment in Washington State continues to soften; it is currently at an annual growth rate of 1.7%. I believe that is a temporary slowdown and we will see the pace of employment growth improve as we move further into the new year. It’s clear that businesses are continuing to feel the effects of the trade war with China and this is impacting hiring practices. This is, of course, in addition to the issues that Boeing currently faces regarding the 737 MAX. In the fourth quarter of 2019 the state unemployment rate was 4.4%, marginally lower than the 4.5% level of a year ago. My most recent economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2020 will rise 2.2%, with a total of 76,300 new jobs created.   HOME SALES There were 18,322 home sales registered during the final quarter of 2019, representing an impressive increase of 4.7% from the same period in 2018. Readers may remember that listing activity spiked in the summer of 2018 but could not be sustained, with the average number of listings continuing to fall. Year-over-year, the number of homes for sale in Western Washington dropped 31.7%. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, sales rose in nine counties and dropped in six. The greatest growth was in Whatcom County. San Juan County had significant declines, but this is a very small market which makes it prone to extreme swings. Pending home sales — a barometer for future closings — dropped 31% between the third and fourth quarters of 2019, suggesting that we may well see a dip in the number of closed sales in the first quarter of 2020.     HOME PRICES Home price growth in Western Washington spiked during fourth quarter, with average prices 8.3% higher than a year ago. The average sale price in Western Washington was $526,564, 0.7% higher than in the third quarter of 2019. It’s worth noting that above-average price growth is happening in markets some distance from the primary job centers. I strongly feel this is due to affordability issues, which are forcing buyers […]

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Local Market Update – January 2020

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[THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATELOCAL ECONOMY 2019 ended with too many buyers chasing too few homes. December marked the sixth straight month of declining supply. The severe shortage of homes, historically low interest rates, and strong job growth are predicted to keep the local housing market strong in 2020. In a region starved for inventory, sellers can expect significant interest in new listings. EASTSIDE KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY Homes sold briskly on the Eastside in December in all categories, including the luxury market. The number of listings were down nearly 50% from a year ago and the area had under a month of available inventory. That lack of inventory helped bump the median price of a single-family home up 4% from a year ago to $949,000, which is a $49,000 increase from November.  New large scale developments and a strong economic forecast indicate that the housing market will remain healthy.    

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The Windermere Eastside Foundation

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The Windermere Eastside Foundation is thrilled to provide over $235,000 in grants to 26 incredible non-profits this year. These grants will help sustain services and support for low-income and homeless families.  Check out our video below & learn more about these inspiring non-profits on the Windermere blog 👉 http://bit.ly/2020WindermereEastsideGrants Follow these amazing organizations: Acres of Diamonds Assistance League of the Eastside Attain Housing Backpack Meals for Kids Bellevue LifeSpring Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue Eastside Academy Eastside Baby Corner Farms for Life Financial Beginnings Washington Friends of Youth Hopelink Imagine Housing Issaquah Community Services Issaquah School District Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank Kindering LifeWire Mamma’s Hands Pantry Packs Royal Family KIDS The F-Factor Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services Treehouse Youth Eastside Services  

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Home Security for the Holidays

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Image Source: Canva The holiday season can bring joy and peace, but it can also bring package thieves and burglary. Stay safe this winter by taking a few precautions with your home security. From old-school security tricks to new digital home monitoring tools, there are many options when it comes to keeping our homes safe and preserving that sensibility.   Upgrade your locks: A poorly installed deadbolt can make it easy for an intruder to kick in your door. Start by making sure that your door frames are in good condition and then look into getting a higher quality deadbolt. You’ll find everything from classic models with keys, or digital options that require passcodes or a fingerprint. It’s also a good idea to check all the locks on your windows. Some older models are easy to jimmy open with a little wiggling. For ground floor windows, you may want to consider double locks. It goes without saying, leaving windows open during the summer is a bad idea – especially those that can be easily accessed.   Exterior and interior home lighting: Having your exterior lights on timers or motion sensors is a good way to deter nighttime snoopers.  Add sensor lights to key entry points on your home, including the front door, back door, and/or basement entries. If you have an unused side yard, consider lighting there too. Keeping your home lit makes unwanted visitors weary of being seen. If you will be gone from your home for an extended period, consider using timed lighting options in your home to make it appear someone is around. You can select timers for bedrooms or living areas. Also, you can program a radio to turn on and off for sound.   Alarm systems: If you are considering an alarm, you have an array of options that vary from self-install motion detection kits to full-service home security systems.  If you choose to do-it-yourself, you will want to install motion detectors on doors and windows – especially those that can be easily accessed on the ground floor. In most cases, these kits also offer a 24-hour call service for an extra fee. Full-service security systems can include everything from an alarm system and panic buttons to and integration with your smoke detectors/ fire prevention system. These services are expensive up front but usually have a reasonable monthly rate. And keep in mind, having a home security system installed […]

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GIVING GOOD CHEER: WINDERMERE FOR KIDS 2019

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On Saturday, December 7th, excitement filled the chilly early morning air as brokers and team members from six Eastside Windermere offices gathered at the Target at Factoria Square Mall. Their mission? To share the spirit of the holidays with 102 local school children and their families. Celebrating its 18th year, Windermere for Kids is one of the Eastside’s most cherished traditions. “This is the day of the year we all look forward to the most,” said Jenn Penn, a broker from the Bellevue South office. “In my 16 years at Windermere, I’ve never missed this and always want to be a shopper.” Every child was given a Target gift card and partnered with a broker to shop the store and purchase holiday presents for their families. Wrapping stations staffed by festively dressed brokers and team members were set up in the mall where all gifts were wrapped, tagged and packaged up for the kids to take home to their families. As an extra special surprise, brokers also secretly selected a gift for their little shopping partner which was also wrapped up to take home with the others. While waiting on gift wrapping, kids and their families were treated to crafts, snacks and pictures with Santa. “It was so nice to see the smile on the little girl’s face,” Jenn said of her Little Shopper. “It can be nerve-wracking at first because the kids are going shopping with strangers. But she had a great time and was laughing at me for being a goofball in the background during her photo with Santa.” Community, giving back and fostering relationships are core Windermere values. Supported by brokers and hosted in lieu of a large company party, the Windermere for Kids event has delivered the holiday spirit to local families since its inception in 1998. “My dad heard about this concept from a rotary group who hosted a similar event,” explained Matt Deasy, President of Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc. “The next year, Windermere took it over. It’s so much better to help 100 kids with their own giving instead of having a bunch of appetizers and loud music at a corporate holiday party. The event matches our giving philosophy and entirely matches the spirit of our agents.”

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Local Market Update – December 2019

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[THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATE      LOCAL ECONOMY Favorable interest rates and soaring rents boosted activity in the housing market in November. More buyers competing for less inventory kept home prices strong. With the supply of homes far short of demand, sellers can expect well-priced properties to sell quickly this winter. EASTSIDE KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY With just over a month of available inventory, demand on Eastside remains very strong. Sales are brisk, with 45% of single-family homes selling in 15 days or less and 20% of homes selling for over list price. The median single-family home price in November rose 2% from a year ago to $900,000 and was unchanged from October. VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

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Windermere’s Winter Drive Collects Nearly 6,000 Items for Mary’s Place

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  It’s another fall season and the fourth year of Windermere’s #TackleHomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks. As a part of this campaign, Windermere hosts an annual “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive. This year, 33 Windermere offices in in the greater Seattle area* participated in the drive, collecting new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, socks, and other warm winter items for Mary’s Place.   Mary’s Place is a non-profit that provides safe, inclusive shelter and services to support women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. Since 1999, Mary’s Place has helped hundreds of women and families move out of homelessness into more stable situations. But shelter capacity is limited and there are still hundreds of families sleeping outside in cars and tents each night, so Windermere collected items to help them stay warm this winter.   During the four-week drive, our offices collected donations from agents, staff, and the community, which included over 630 hats, 680 pairs of gloves, over 200 scarves, over 2,000 pairs of socks, and an assortment of coats, jackets, sweaters, blankets, toiletries and other items, bringing our grand total to nearly 6,000 items collected for Mary’s Place.   One office made the drive extra special by partnering with a local knitting group. The Windermere Mercer Island office partnered once again with the Mercer Island Tuesday Knitters, to make cozy hats and scarves. This year the knitting group contributed 67 hand-knitted hats and scarves to the winter drive.   The staff at the Mary’s Place donation center in South Seattle were grateful to receive the bins full of donated items that were delivered by Gentle Giant Moving Company. “We are so incredibly grateful to our Windermere family for all that they do for our families!” said Marty Hartman, Mary’s Place Executive Director. “These gifts of warm winter gear will keep our kids and families warm and loved this winter!”   Windermere is also grateful to partner with Gentle Giant Moving Company on our winter drive. For the past four years, they have generously given their time, muscle, and trucks to pick up and deliver all of the donations.   And this drive would not be possible each year without the support of the Seattle Seahawks, our offices, and all those who donated. From all of us at Windermere, thank you for making our fourth annual winter drive a success and for supporting families experiencing homelessness in the greater Seattle area! […]

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