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We’ve Got You Covered Winter Drive Wrap Up

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As part of Windermere’s #tacklehomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks, 38 Windermere offices* in King and Snohomish Counties collected new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, and warm socks for Windermere’s “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive. The recipient of these donations was YouthCare, a non-profit that provides support and services to homeless youth throughout the Puget Sound area. An estimated 3,500 items were collected during the four-week drive. We are thankful for the generosity and enthusiasm shown by the participating offices—there was even some competition among them to collect the most items. Taking that title for the most donations was the Windermere Shoreline office which alone collected 665 items! Some of the donations were even hand-made by members of the community, like the 10 sets of hats/scarves knitted and donated to Windermere’s Mercer Island office, and the homemade Seahawks scarves and hats that were donated to the Property Management – South office. These generous donations will go a long way towards helping to keep many homeless youth warmer this winter season. Jody Waits, Development and Communications Officer at YouthCare, was overwhelmed with excitement by all of the winter gear that was collected: “This is AMAZING! We received a truck – a literal truck – full of donations,” she said, adding, “Windermere’s amazing donations provide homeless youth with cold-weather items they would not be able to afford to purchase on their own. Helping a young person feel warm, dry, and safe, frees them up to focus on achieving other goals, and connecting to their future potential. We are very grateful for Windermere’s partnership with YouthCare.” We are also incredibly grateful to Gentle Giant Moving Company, who partnered with us for this drive, and generously donated their time and trucks to pick up all of the donated items from our offices and deliver them to YouthCare.   Thank you to our participating offices, and all those who donated, for making our winter drive a success!   *Participating Windermere offices Auburn-Lakeland Hills, Bellevue, Bellevue Commons, Bellevue South, Bellevue West, Burien, Enumclaw, Issaquah, Kirkland Central, Kirkland Yarrow Bay, Kirkland-Northeast, Lynnwood, Mercer Island, Mill Creek, Property Management – South, Redmond, Renton, Seattle-Ballard, Seattle-Capitol Hill, Seattle-Eastlake, Seattle-Green Lake, Seattle-Greenwood, Seattle-Lakeview, Seattle-Madison Park, Seattle-Magnolia, Seattle-Mount Baker, Seattle-Northlake, Seattle-Northgate, Seattle-Northwest, Seattle-Queen Anne, Seattle-Sand Point, Seattle-Wall Street, Seattle-Wedgwood, Seattle-West Seattle, Services-Marketing, Shoreline, Snohomish, Woodinville This blog post originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

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Local Market Update – November 2016

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Home sales outgained new listings again in October, further squeezing already tight inventory and pushing prices higher. Since new listings traditionally decrease in the fall, that inventory shortage is expected to last until spring. Sellers willing to put their home on the market now can expect plenty of interested buyers, and a highly favorable chance of getting the best possible price for their home. Eastside Home prices on the Eastside took a big leap in October, fueled by record low inventory. The median price of a single-family home sold that month was $768,000, a jump of 15 percent over the same time last year, and the fastest price growth in several months. With the market so strongly favoring sellers, brokers are hopeful more consumers will opt to list their homes. King County The amount of inventory in King County fell to levels not seen since the 1990s with just one month of available inventory. With supply falling well behind demand, prices jumped significantly. The median price of a single-family home sold in October jumped 15 percent over a year ago to $550,000. Seattle There is no place where the supply of homes is tighter than Seattle, particularly in areas close to the city center. Just three weeks of inventory has kept this market in solid multiple-offer territory. Prices in October increased accordingly. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle rose 13 percent to $625,000. Snohomish County Inventory in Snohomish County dropped more than 20 percent from a year ago. With just over a month of available inventory, prices climbed. The median price of a single-family home was up 6 percent over last year to $386,599. Even with that increase, buyers continue to be drawn to the area by home prices that average 30 percent less than King County.

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Seattle’s Red Hot Housing Market and Its First-Time Homebuyers

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The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index was just released earlier this week ranking the major metropolitan areas across the U.S. by the fastest-rising home prices. While we have not muscled out Portland for the No. 1 spot on the list, we came in a close second having narrowed the gap significantly. According to an analysis by The Seattle Times, Seattle-area home prices are now rising at their swiftest pace in 2.5 years. While we missed out on taking over Portland for the top spot on the Case-Shiller index, Seattle did increase its lead over third-place Denver where prices only rose 8.8 percent over last year. Portland, having led the Case-Shiller index all year, had the fastest-rising home prices up 11.7 percent over a year ago. In Seattle, home prices were up 11.4 percent over 2015. Both Pacific Northwest cities saw home costs increase at more than twice the national rate of 5.3 percent. By this point, the “record-high home price” headlines are trite. So what makes this time so important? Well, for starters, this is the eighth straight month of double-digit growth. That in itself is something fairly noteworthy. Additionally, as The Seattle Times states, homes across all price levels are getting more expensive, but “the biggest increase was in the cheapest set of homes” which were up 12.4 percent. The smallest jump was for luxury homes, up 10.9 percent. Home prices have been soaring consistently for more than four years having jumped 59 percent since 2012. Starter homes have seen prices jump 75 percent in that time frame. Our local millennials are ready to take advantage of the low mortgage rates, but the starter home just is not what it used to be. What does this mean for the Eastside? We want to take a look at Windermere Real Estate’s latest housing market update where we reported the median home sale price at $750,000. That is a solid 10 percent increase over the home prices we saw last year. By comparison, the median sale price of a single-family home was $630,000 last month. First-time buyers are faced with these skyrocketing home prices, and even though other housing market factors are playing in their favor, it can be an intimidating time to jump into the real estate world. Make sure you team up with a Windermere broker who can help you navigate the real estate market and can turn your […]

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Windermere Announces Ultra-Luxury W Collection

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Earlier this week, Windermere announced the launch of its new, ultra-luxury brand the W Collection. This is a great way to assist the growing needs of luxury buyers and sellers. Below is Windermere’s announcement on the brand and how it will benefit luxury buyers in our Western Washington region. Anyone who has spent time in the Seattle area in recent years has likely seen for themselves how much the city has changed. Thanks in large part to the booming economy, growing tech sector, and increasing international appeal, Seattle is no longer a sleepy little city tucked away in the far corner of the United States. With this changing landscape has come an infusion of wealth that has seen the area’s high-net-worth population explode. And with it, so too has the ultra-high-end real estate market. In order to meet the specialized needs of this burgeoning market, Windermere has launched W Collection, a new ultra-luxury brand specifically designed for homes priced at $3 million and above in Western Washington. OB Jacobi, President of Windermere Real Estate, says that Seattle’s population of “global affluent” is on the rise and they greatly value real estate. The proof is in the numbers. Over the past five years there has been a significant increase in the number of home sales in the $3 million+ market. In 2011 there were only 45 such sales in King County, while in 2015 there were 131. “Windermere agents represent anywhere from 40-60 percent of the $3 million+ sales in the Seattle area, so we felt we were in the ideal position to build a brand that could provide enhanced marketing support to the growing number of ultra-luxury homes,” said Jacobi. W Collection is its own standalone brand with a separate website, WByWindermere.com, signage, presentation materials, and specialized advertising opportunities. When developing W Collection, Jacobi said that the goal was to create a sophisticated, yet humble, brand that evokes the understated expression of wealth that is unique to the Pacific Northwest. “Our clients are not largely drawn to the shows of excessive wealth that you see at other companies and in other parts of the country. This is reflected in the W Collection brand,” said Jacobi. The development of W Collection began a little over a year ago, and according to Jacobi, was a highly collaborative process with Windermere agents playing an integral role in every step, “Over the past 44 […]

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Local Market Update – October 2016

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At a time of year when sales traditionally slow down, September saw particularly strong sales growth. Home prices rose yet again compared to the same time last year, but they remain below the peak of several months ago. And inventory, while still low, is at its highest level in two years. The local real estate market continues to be one of the hottest in the country, but there are signs that prices may be rising more slowly than they did in the first half of the year. Eastside Home prices on the Eastside remain very strong. The September median price of $750,000 was a healthy 10 percent increase over last September. Inventory remains very low with just over a month supply of homes. Demand in this sought-after market continues to overwhelm the number of properties available for sale. King County Home prices are typically lower in the fall, and that was the case in King County for September. The median price of homes sold in September was $538,000, down from the market peak earlier this summer. That number reflects a 10 percent increase over a year ago, which represents a significantly higher appreciation rate than the national average. Seattle Inventory in Seattle remains very tight, but is up slightly from a year ago. While multiple offers are still common – particularly for entry-priced homes — some agents are reporting fewer offers than in the past. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $630,000 in September, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year. Snohomish County Home prices in Snohomish County climbed 11 percent in September as compared to a year ago. The median price of a home was $395,000, just below the all-time high of $405,000 set in July. The area continues to see an influx of buyers trying to find a more cost-effective option to the comparatively high housing prices in King County.

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Will Seattle Be Part of the Next Big Tech Corridor?

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Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. are two nearly identical cities in the Pacific Northwest. We’re both eco-conscious, have similar weather patterns, and are creating exceptional technologically-based economies. Vancouver has more in common with Seattle than it does with any of its other Canadian cities even though they are separated by an international border and 140 miles of roads. Leaders on both sides of the Canadian-U.S. border are taking advantage of the connections. According to The New York Times, Microsoft – currently in need of global engineering talent – is expanding their Vancouver offices, “partly because of Canada’s smoother immigration process.” Alternatively, “Vancouver wants to bring more American technology companies to the city in hopes of spinning out future entrepreneurs” who could expand its smaller base of tech companies. At the Cascadia Conference in Vancouver last month, officials and executives from both cities discussed both future plans and those currently in place to deepen the technological ties between the two. There were conversations over more globalization and education, research collaboration between the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington, and even ways to maneuver and improve the traffic between Seattle and Vancouver. All of this technological innovation on our coast bodes well for housing in the Puget Sound region. Our area has so many strengths economically, geographically, and socially, so it is no wonder that our growing technological companies are ready to expand and add more. Some details of this growth are still being discussed and planned. However, it seems as though both Seattle and Vancouver are poised to take over as the leading tech center for the west coast in the near future. Find out more information on the growing tech corridor between Seattle and Vancouver in the original article from The New York Times.

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Millennials and the American Dream

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Contrary to some predictions, Millennials are making owning a home a priority. While they’re buying their first home a bit later than prior generations, they’re embracing the long-term value that home ownership brings. 1) Millennials are dominating the first-time homebuyer category today. The median age of first-time homebuyers is 31, according to a National Association of Realtors study. 2) The vast majority of Millennials think owning a home is important. According to a Merrill Lynch study, 81% of Millennials agree that “homeownership is an important part of the American Dream.” Percent who agree that “Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream” 3) Most Millennials consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons. In a survey by Fannie Mae, Millennials who own a home prefer owning over renting for these reasons: A strong local economy, rising rents and low interest rates have all helped Millennials reach the tipping point and take the plunge into the American Dream of home ownership. I can help first-time buyers find the best home for their needs. Reach out with any questions you have, or forward this to a first-time homebuyer you know!

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Local Market Update – September 2016

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While homes prices were up by double-digits compared to a year ago, the market frenzy that has affected most of this year is showing some signs of moderating. With the exception of the Eastside, prices for most of the region were down from their peak. Home sales generally outpaced the same period a year ago, but a shortage of inventory continues to tip the advantage in favor of sellers. Eastside Click image to view full report. Bucking the trend of moderating prices, the Eastside saw the median home price soar 14 percent over last year to a new record high of $769,000. That eclipses the previous peak of $760,000 in May of this year. Very tight inventory in this highly desirable market was reflected in flat sales growth compared to a year ago. King County Click image to view full report. King County saw home prices moderating for the second month in a row. The median price of homes sold in August was $550,000. That represents an increase of 10 percent over last year, but a drop from the high of $570,500 in June. Seattle Click image to view full report. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $625,000 in August. While down from the record high of $666,500 in June, that represents a healthy 9 percent increase over the same time last year. Demand continues to exceed the supply of inventory, particularly for entry-level homes. Snohomish County Click image to view full report. Snohomish County’s August median home price of $400,000 was just shy of the record-high of $405,000 set in July. The median price here is $150,000 less than King County, making Snohomish County a more affordable option for buyers willing to trade a longer commute time for lower housing costs.

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How the American Home has Evolved

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Owning a home has been an American tradition from the start. But the home itself has changed dramatically over the years. For example, you may be surprised to learn how much the size of the average American home has increased since the turn of the 20th century—especially when you compare it to the size of the average family during the same time period. In the year 1900, the average American family was relatively large with 4.6 members, but the average home featured just 1,000 square feet of usable floor space. By 1979, family size had shrunk to 3.11 members, but the floor space they shared had expanded to 1,660 square feet. And by 2007, the average family size was even smaller still—just 2.6 members—while the average home size had increased by the largest amount yet—this time to 2,521 square feet. To accommodate those larger homes, property lots have also had to expand in size. In the 1930s and ‘40s, Bungalow homes were usually built on lots measuring 60 by 100 feet (for a total of 6,000 square feet). However, by 1976, the average size of a single-family property lot had expanded to more than 10,000 square feet. In 1990, it expanded again (to 14,680 square feet). Today, the average property lot in America is a staggering 17,590 square feet. Exterior building materials Until the 1960s, the building materials used on the exterior of most homes were limited to brick, wood, or wood shingles. However, by the early 1960s, many Americans chose to cover their homes with a more affordable material that was also maintenance-free: aluminum and vinyl siding. Today, many homeowners are using low-maintenance siding materials made of cement fiber. Interior building materials The primary building material for interior ceilings and walls for much of the 20th century was plaster applied over wood lathe. Modern day sheetrock didn’t become popular until the 1950s. In the 1960s, wood paneling and textured walls became prevalent, largely for their quick and easy application. In the 1970s and ‘80s, “popcorn ceilings” became a common way to hide imperfections in ceilings. Today’s style again favors smooth walls and ceilings, which can result in a lot of work removing paneling and textures in older homes. Throughout the early 1900s, the floors throughout most homes were almost always bare wood. Linoleum tile became a popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms in the 1940s. However, by the 1960s […]

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