A cool-down in prices and a surge in inventory spelled out good news for buyers in December. Median home prices throughout the region continued to moderate. The number of homes for sale more than doubled over a year ago. Condo inventory more than quadrupled. While we’re still far short of the four to six months that are considered a balanced market, December moved us closer in that direction. As winter months traditionally bring slower sales and lower prices, we’ll be able to determine a more solid trend when the peak real estate season comes this spring. Eastside >>>Click image to view full report. The number of single-family homes and condos on the market in December tripled as compared to a year ago on the Eastside. With an abundance of choices for buyers, homes here took longer to sell. However, well-priced homes still sold within weeks rather than days, which was the case earlier in the year. As with all of King County, home prices here continued to moderate. The median price of a single-family home was $909,000. That’s down 3 percent from a year ago, but up from November’s median price of $885,000. King County >>>Click image to view full report. In December, the median price of a single-family King County home was $639,000. That is 0.6 percent more than the same time last year and a welcome respite from the double-digit increases we saw for much of 2018. Inventory was up as well, soaring 143 percent from a year prior. The trend toward a more balanced market is good news for buyers. Instead of having to make a decision in a matter of hours, buyers now can take the time to consider their options and negotiate a price and terms that work best for them. Seattle >>>Click image to view full report. Last December there were only 299 homes on the market in Seattle. This December there were 1,111. Despite the sharp uptick, Seattle has the tightest inventory in King County with less than two months of supply. Demand is predicted to stay high in 2019. With an abundance of high-paying jobs and not enough people to fill them, Seattle’s population is expected to grow at twice the national rate this year. Prices have continued to moderate from the unsustainable increases of last year. The median price of a single-family home inched up 2 percent from the year prior to $739,000. Snohomish County […]
Warmer months are ahead, so now is the time to plan for spring cleaning and maintenance. A clean home offers a fresh start for the year, and a checklist of tasks guides your efforts towards efficiency. For many homeowners, spring cleaning can be a personal challenge. It can also be one accomplished with the help of the rest of the family or other residents. In some occasions, however, professional assistance may be advised, or even necessary. Regardless, regular home maintenance not only increases your home’s value, but it can also make your home more comfortable and enjoyable. Indoors Check Your Attic Once summer arrives, it can be too hot in many regions to comfortably perform an inspection. Use late winter and early spring to ensure the following: there’s ample insulation (10 to 14 inches), there are no signs of mice or rats (droppings, strong odor, nests), there are no bugs (flying, crawling, or otherwise), and there are no signs of roof leaks (water stains, etc.). Schedule HVAC Maintenance Annual tune-ups on your heating/cooling equipment will reduce your energy bill and help ensure you can maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Fix the Window Screens It won’t be long before you’ll want to throw open the windows for fresh air, or relief on a warm afternoon. Take time now to ensure your window screens are ready for the challenge. Many traditional neighborhood hardware stores still offer re-screening services. Contractors also specialize in this service and are available for house calls. Clean the Ceiling Fans During the warm weather and the cold, ceiling fans can help moderate the temperature and better distribute the air. But your fans will be far more efficient if you give them a good cleaning a couple times each year. For fans mounted up to 10 feet in the air, you can use a ladder to access the tops of the fan blades. For those mounted on vaulted ceilings, use a long-handled duster. Apply Weather Stripping Many homeowners think of weather stripping as a cold-weather commodity, but it’s just as important during summer. To keep the cool air in and the hot air out, use any of the many filler materials available to seal gaps around windows, doors, exhaust fans, and any other point where you can see light peeking through. Outdoors Look for Damaged Roof Shingles Use binoculars (with your feet safely planted on the ground) to scan for […]
As we step forward into 2019, eco-friendly “green homes” are more popular than ever. Upgrading your home’s sustainability improves quality of life for those residing in it, but it is also a savvy long-term investment. As green homes become more popular, properties boasting sustainable features have become increasingly desirable targets for homebuyers. Whether designing a new home from scratch or preparing your current home for sale, accentuating a house with environmentally-friendly features can pay big dividends for everyone. While the added value depends on the location of the home, its age, and whether it’s certified or not, three separate studies all found that newly constructed, Energy Star, or LEED-certified homes typically sell for about nine percent more than comparable, non-certified new homes. Plus, one of those studies discovered that existing homes retrofitted with green technologies, and certified as such, can command a whopping 30-percent sales-price boost. There are dozens of eco-friendly features that can provide extra value for you as a seller. To name a few: Cool roof Cool roofs keep the houses they’re covering as much as 50 to 60 degrees cooler by reflecting the heat of the sun away from the interior, allowing the occupants to stay cooler and save on air-conditioning costs. The most common form is metal roofing. Other options include roof membranes and reflective asphalt shingles. Fuel cells Fuel cells may soon offer an all-new source of electricity that would allow you to completely disconnect your home from all other sources of electricity. About the size of a dishwasher, a fuel cell connects to your home’s natural gas line and electrochemically converts methane to electricity. One unit would pack more than enough energy to power your whole home. For many years, fuel cells have been far too expensive or unreliable. But as technology has improved, so too has reliability. Companies like Home Power Solutions and Redbox Power Systems have increased the reliability of these fuel sources while reducing their size. Much like we’ve seen computers and cell phones shrink in size while improving reliability and power, fuel cells continue to be refined. Wind turbine A wind turbine (essentially a propeller spinning atop an 80- to 100-foot pole) collects kinetic energy from the wind and converts it to electricity for your home. And according to the Department of Energy, a small version can slash your electrical bill by 50 to 90 percent. But before you get […]
What a year it has been for both the U.S. economy and the national housing market. After several years of above-average economic and home price growth, 2018 marked the start of a slowdown in the residential real estate market. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for me to dust off my crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2019. The U.S. Economy Despite the turbulence that the ongoing trade wars with China are causing, I still expect the U.S. economy to have one more year of relatively solid growth before we likely enter a recession in 2020. Yes, it’s the dreaded “R” word, but before you panic, there are some things to bear in mind. Firstly, any cyclical downturn will not be driven by housing. Although it is almost impossible to predict exactly what will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”, I believe it will likely be caused by one of the following three things: an ongoing trade war, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That said, we still have another year of solid growth ahead of us, so I think it’s more important to focus on 2019 for now. The U.S. Housing Market Existing Home Sales This paper is being written well before the year-end numbers come out, but I expect 2018 home sales will be about 3.5% lower than the prior year. Sales started to slow last spring as we breached affordability limits and more homes came on the market. In 2019, I anticipate that home sales will rebound modestly and rise by 1.9% to a little over 5.4 million units. Existing Home Prices We will likely end 2018 with a median home price of about $260,000 – up 5.4% from 2017. In 2019 I expect prices to continue rising, but at a slower rate as we move toward a more balanced housing market. I’m forecasting the median home price to increase by 4.4% as rising mortgage rates continue to act as a headwind to home price growth. New Home Sales In a somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home sales started to slow in the spring of 2018, but the overall trend has been positive since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9% to 695,000 units – the highest level seen since 2007. That being said, the level […]
The real estate market continued to improve for buyers in November. Interest rates dropped slightly, price increases slowed and inventory soared. It’s important to note that inventory increases, while significant, are being compared to the record low supply of last year. We’re still far short of the inventory needed for a truly balanced market, however buyers have greater choice and less competition than they’ve had in years. Sellers who price their home according to current market conditions continue to see strong interest. Heading into the holiday season, there’s something for everyone to celebrate. Eastside >>>Click image to view full report. The Eastside economy continues to be very strong. Heavy investment in commercial construction from companies such as Vulcan boost expectations that the area will continue to thrive. The median price of a single-family home in November hit $885,000 on the Eastside. Although an increase of 4 percent from a year ago, home prices have remained steady since this fall. With continued demand and only 2.4 months of inventory, the market has a long way to go to becoming balanced. King County >>>Click image to view full report. Price increases continued to slow in King County. The median single-family home price was $643,913 in November, an increase of 2 percent over a year ago. South King County, where the most affordable homes in the county are located, saw significantly greater increases compared to a year ago. North King County also posted greater increases than the county overall. Inventory has skyrocketed as the number of homes for sale in King County more than doubled year-over-year. While that’s good news for buyers, there is only 2.1 months of available inventory in the county, slightly down from October and not nearly enough to meet demand. Seattle >>>Click image to view full report. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $760,000 in November. This is up 3 percent from a year ago and slightly up from October. Inventory jumped 177 percent year-over-year however, at just two months of supply, the Seattle area has the tightest inventory in King County. With the city’s strong economy and lifestyle appeal, that’s not expected to change any time soon. Forbes recently named Seattle as the best place for business and careers in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Washington among the top ten universities in the world with Money Magazine rating Seattle the #5 Best Big City to […]
The holiday season is here and for many of us, that means it’s time to deck the halls. If you’re looking for some inspiration and a place to start, here are some ideas that are certain to get everyone in the spirit. A Tree of a Different Color Photo Credit: Left – Lushome, Center – HGTV, Right – Christmas365 For many, there’s nothing more quintessential during the holidays than a Christmas tree decked out in ornaments. But acquiring a tree can be challenging and expensive. Moreover, housing a tree consumes time and space. That’s why we love the idea of an alternative tree. There are plenty of options you can buy online or create yourself using things you probably already have around the house. And if you miss the smell of a real tree, try a scented candle or essential oils. The Season of Lights Photo Credit: Amara There’s something perpetually charming about twinkling lights. Whether you’re wrapping them around your front porch or adorning your fireplace mantle, extra lights deliver a warm glow during the holiday season. Getting creative and adding light to otherwise unexpected places, including bookcases, around headboards, or even in glassware, is a great way to keep everything looking merry and bright. Act Natural Photo Credit: Better Homes & Gardens Not all holiday climates are built alike. If you’re expecting a white Christmas, you’re probably used to pine trees and winter brush, but for those of you located in regions where the mercury doesn’t drop, sprinkling in natural elements can transform your home into a wintery oasis. Holly and pine needles add a traditional touch, or consider a wreath of olive branches with some sleigh bells interspersed. Bring it All Home at Dinner Photo Credit: Amara When decorating for the holidays, don’t forget the table! A sprig of holly adds a festive touch to your place settings. And instead of the traditional centerpiece, try placing candles in glass vases or mason jars to give your tablescape that added touch of holiday pizzazz.
After six brutal years for buyers, everything is moving in their direction: prices are down, inventory is up, there’s less competition and even interest rates have started to tick back down again. The cool-down in King County’s real-estate market has now reached six months, and the drop in home prices over that span is among the largest on record. King County’s median single-family home price fell to $644,000 in November, all the way from $726,000 in the spring, according to new figures released Thursday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Prices have been falling faster here than anywhere else in the country. The price drop equals 11.3 percent over six months, more than any May-to-November stretch since such data has been tracked. The biggest six-month decline for any time of year happened after the housing bubble popped last decade and prices plunged 14 percent. Of course the difference is that home values continued to plummet for years in the last bubble, while there are few early signs of such a prolonged downturn this time. Regardless, the market continues to shift in buyers’ favor. Read to full article at the Seattle Times
Waking up early is easy when it’s for Windermere for Kids! This Saturday marked another year of this special event in which hundreds of Windermere brokers and staff gather at Target to help over 100 deserving kids in our community play Santa for their families. Each broker was paired with a “little shopper” and, powered by the holiday spirit and a $250 gift card, they shopped their way through the children’s Christmas gift lists. As an added treat, brokers surprised their little shoppers with gifts to keep. The festivities continued after shopping. Kids enjoyed breakfast, crafts, and pictures with Santa while they waited for their presents to be wrapped by Windermere brokers and staff, making it a full morning of joyful celebrations. We love this feel-good tradition. It’s a wonderful reminder of the warmth and generosity of our community, especially of our little shoppers. And we love seeing our Windermere family come together to make this time of year brighter for them. Thank you to everyone who participated – we’re already looking forward to next time! Find out about more ways we’re giving back with the Windermere Foundation and how you can help by donating here.
Home price increases in the Puget Sound area have started to moderate. While down from the unsustainable highs of this spring, prices continue to be up compared to a year ago. So, where are home prices headed next? The Home Price Expectation Survey checks in with over 100 national real estate experts every quarter, including Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. Here’s where they think prices will go: Gardner predicts our local market will fare better than the nation overall. “As I look to 2019, I believe home prices in King County will increase 7.8% over the current year.” – Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner “The local economy will continue to grow and that will drive demand for ownership housing,” according to Gardner. “Supply will slow during the holiday season before we see a new influx of listings in the spring. With more supply, I believe that home price growth will continue to slow, but values will still increase.”
The final count on donations are in, and WOW, you are all so incredible! During the four-week winter drive for YouthCare, our Eastside offices collected donations from agents, staff, and the community, which included over 524 hats, gloves, scarves, socks, and an assortment of other accessories and cash donations. A huge thank you to all who donated to the homeless youth in our community! With the onset of winter, Windermere offices throughout the greater Seattle area came together this month to host another “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive for YouthCare, a nonprofit that provides critical services to homeless youth. This drive is a part of Windermere’s #TackleHomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks which aims to raise money, donations, and awareness for the homeless youth crisis. This winter, YouthCare predicts that over 1,500 young people in Seattle will call the streets home during the coldest time of the year, challenging local businesses to help however they can. So, for the third year in a row, over 30 Windermere offices came together to answer the call by collecting new hats, scarves, gloves, and warm socks. The staff at YouthCare were grateful to receive the delivery of the bins full of donated items. According to Nicole Phaysith, Communications Specialist at YouthCare, “As the rain endures and the temperature drops, it becomes that much harder for young people to focus on the day ahead. We are so grateful for the generous donation of cold weather essentials from Windermere and the community. We’re able to offer young people respite from the cold—and one less thing to worry about on their road to stability and independence. Thank you for keeping homeless youth warm and dry so that they can plan for their future.” We are grateful to be able to partner with Gentle Giant Moving Company again this year, who generously donated their time, muscle, and trucks to pick up and deliver all of the donated items to YouthCare. This drive would not be possible 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 Winter Drive a success and helping to support homeless youth in the greater Seattle area! *Participating Windermere offices: Bellevue, Bellevue Commons, Bellevue South, Bellevue West, Burien, Kirkland, Kirkland Yarrow Bay, Lynnwood, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Mill Creek, Property Management – Bellevue, Property Management – Edmonds, Property Management – Seattle North, Property Management – South, Redmond, Seattle-Ballard, Seattle-Eastlake, Seattle-Greenwood, Seattle-Madison Park, Seattle-Magnolia, Seattle-Mount Baker, Seattle-Northgate, Seattle-Northwest, Seattle-Queen Anne, Seattle-Sand Point, Seattle-Wall Street, Seattle-Wedgwood, Seattle-West […]