Buying a home in the Puget Sound area beats renting in less than two years, according to a new study. The “breakeven horizon” – the number of years after which buying is more financially advantageous than renting – is 1.9 years. Why the short timeframe? Interest rates are at historic lows. (But experts expect them to rise soon.) Rents are at record highs. If you paid the average cost of monthly rent towards a mortgage payment instead, here’s what you could buy: Based on principal & interest on a 30 year mortgage at 4% interest with 0% down. Bellevue Monthly mortgage: $2,666 Home value: $558,400 Seattle Monthly mortgage: $2,401 Home value: $502,900 Snohomish County Monthly mortgage: $1,884 Home value: $294,600 Are you ready to invest the money you spend on rent to buy a home? Get in touch with a Windermere broker on the Eastside so they can help you take advantage of the “breakeven horizon” and turn your monthly rent into a mortgage payment.
A severe lack of inventory has led home prices to reach an all-time high. With the supply of properties at its lowest level since 2003, the market is in dire need of more homes to meet buyer demand. That is excellent news for those thinking about selling their home. Sellers can expect a quick sale, favorable terms and a historically high sale price. Buyers will need patience and a strategy for competing with multiple offers. Snohomish County Click image to view full report. Snohomish County remains a haven of affordability for those sticker-shocked by King County prices. The median price for a single-family home sold in February was $359,000, a moderate increase of 9 percent over the same time last year. However, Snohomish County is struggling with the same historic shortage of homes as King County. With less than a month’s supply, experts expect home prices to continue to increase. King County Click image to view full report. The median price of a single-family home sold in February hit an all-time high of $514,975, a whopping 20 percent increase over the same time last year. The number of homes sold exceeded the number that were listed, depleting inventory at a rate that is unsustainable. For the market to remain healthy, more people need to make the decision to list their homes. Eastside Click image to view full report. The Eastside, already the most expensive area in King County, saw home prices set a new record in February. The median price soared 20 percent over last year to $739,975. Inventory here is particularly tight, and the area remains a very strong market for sellers. Homes are selling quickly, even at the higher end. A $3.2 million home in Yarrow Point sold last month in just 14 days.
The boom in luxury homes sales on Eastside continued in 2015 as technology executives and foreign buyers snapped up high-end homes. Windermere maintained its leadership in the luxury home segment with Windermere brokers representing clients in 60 of the 98 sales. Sellers who work with Windermere brokers receive unparalleled exposure through the Windermere Premier Properties program, along with extensive international marketing via Luxury Portfolio and Juwai, which specifically targets affluent Chinese buyers. In addition, Leigh Canlis has joined Windermere to develop a full-service luxury marketing division that will provide clientele with concierge services including financial services, landscaping and more. 2015 Luxury Home Sales Snapshot Sales continue to climb. The number of $3 million+ home sales on the Eastside increased 20% over the previous year. The majority of buyers paid cash. 53% of those buying high-end homes paid for the home in cash. Waterfront homes are becoming scarce. The value of waterfront homes continued to increase as buyers competed for a dwindling supply of these highly coveted properties. The Eastside is becoming more global. Whether they are buying a home to live in or as an investment, international buyers – particularly those from China – continue to favor the Eastside. According to the National Association of Realtors, 2015 was the first time that buyers from China edged out those from Canada as the largest group of foreign buyers of homes in the U.S. You can view the full report for more detailed information. Make sure you see the report of $5 million+ home sales in King County, too!
This article originally appeared in Times of San Diego The housing market on the West Coast is predominantly very strong and more and more people are becoming homeowners. While there are many intangible benefits to owning a home, such as pride of ownership and setting down roots in the neighborhood, the tangible benefits are just as great. In addition to benefitting from possible appreciation, there are many tax deductions available that help reduce your annual income taxes. Tax breaks are available for any type of home — single-family residence, town house, mobile home, or condominium. However, to take full tax advantage of owning a home, property owners need to understand the expenses they can deduct, and learn some tips to get the most tax advantages out of home ownership. Mortgage Interest A house payment is comprised of two parts: principal and interest. The principal goes toward reducing the amount you owe on your loan and is not deductible. However, the interest you pay is deductible as an itemized expense on your tax return. You can generally deduct interest on the first $1 million of your mortgage. You can also deduct interest on the first $100,000 of a home equity loan. Property Taxes Another big part of most monthly loan payments is taxes, which go into an escrow account for payment when the taxes are due. This amount should be included on the annual statement homeowners get from their lenders, along with their loan interest information. These taxes will be an annual deduction as long as the home is owned. Home Improvements If using a home equity loan or other loan secured by a home to finance home improvements, these loans will qualify for the same mortgage interest deductions as the main mortgage. Only the interest associated with the first $100,000 is deductible.Making improvements on a home can help you reduce your taxes in two possible ways: Tracking home improvements can help when the time comes to sell. If a home sells for more than it was purchased for, that extra money is considered taxable income. You are allowed to add capital improvements to the cost/tax basis of your home. If a home sells for more than it was purchased for plus any capital improvements, that extra money is considered taxable income. Keep in mind that most taxpayers are exempted from paying taxes on the first $250,000 (for single filers) and $500,000 […]
Record low inventory has placed the area in an extreme seller’s market. 70 percent of homes sell in the first 30 days. With 30 percent less inventory than a year ago, multiple offers are all but guaranteed. If you’re selling, you can name your terms. For those looking to buy, it’s critical to work with a broker to arrange for financing, and create a strategy for escalation clauses and back-up offers. Snohomish County Snohomish County outpaced King County for price growth. The sale price for a single family home soared 17 percent over last year to $378,950. Even with that increase, Snohomish County home prices seem reasonable when compared to King County, where the median price is about 30 percent higher. More homebuyers are realizing that a longer commute is an acceptable trade-off to get more home for their money. But with Snohomish County now suffering from the same shortage of inventory as the rest of the region, prices are expected to continue to climb. King County Strong population growth fueled by the area’s healthy job market continues to starve the region’s already limited inventory of homes. Depleted inventory resulted in sales that were down nearly 15 percent compared to last January. Not surprising, since inventory was down more than 31 percent. Limited supply pushed single family home prices up 11 percent over a year ago to $490,970. Those shopping for a relative bargain searched outside the city core. The median home price in Southwest King County was $304,103. The median price in Southeast King County was $350,000. Eastside The supply of homes on the Eastside has reached a critical point with just one month of available inventory. To put that in perspective, there are currently fewer than 100 single family homes on the market in the City of Bellevue. And 80 percent of those listings are priced above the Eastside median sale price of $697,500. With the median price of a single family home sold in January up 12 percent over a year ago, sellers can count on making excellent gains if they decide to list their home.
According to a recent REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report, 2016 is projected to be a very strong market for local area sellers. With inventory at historic lows, prices at or near record highs, and multiple offers the norm, it’s an exceptional time to get top dollar for your home. Washington is one of only three states in the country projecting a “very strong” market for single family home sales. The market for townhomes and condominiums here is also expected to be strong.
2015 closed out the year with home prices hitting new highs, and inventory hitting new lows. The market is tough for buyers who are competing for a dwindling number of homes, but it’s also the greatest seller’s market in recent memory. What’s in store for 2016? Here is what Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner forecasts. Snohomish County Snohomish County remains an affordable option when compared to the soaring cost of buying a home in King County. The median price of a single-family home sold in Snohomish County in December was $358,000. While that is an increase of 8 percent over a year ago, the price is about a third less than the median-priced home in King County. However, Snohomish County is facing the same shortage of inventory as the rest of the Puget Sound area, so home prices are expected to continue their rise. King County King County achieved two milestones in December. The number of homes on the market hit a historic low – the smallest number of active listings since at least 1993. And the median price for a single-family home hit an all-time high of $508,000, surpassing the previous high of $481,000 set in 2007. Those wanting to buy in King County can find more affordable options by heading south. The median home price in Southwest King County was $305,000. The median price in Southeast King County was $349,950. Eastside Home prices on the Eastside continued to climb. The Eastside extended its lead as the most expensive market in King County, posting a median home price of $675,000 in December. A strong technology sector here has helped boost demand for a very limited supply of properties. Competition among buyers is fierce at every price point, including luxury homes. Multiple offers are the norm, and cash sales are common. For buyers, a savvy broker can make the difference between an accepted offer or another disappointment.
Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner recently discussed the rise in interest rates. In the article below, he explains why homeowners and soon-to-be homeowners shouldn’t be worried. This article originally appeared on Windermere.com. After seven years of some of the lowest interest rates in recorded history, the Federal Reserve has decided to raise the key Fed Funds Rate by 0.25 percent, which is causing some to be concerned that it will lead to a jump in mortgage rates and negatively impact the US housing market. So, the question everyone wants to know is, do we need to worry about interest rates leaping? While I expect there to be some volatility in rates for a while, I don’t believe the real estate market will implode in a rapidly rising interest rate environment. So, yes, interest rates are going to rise modestly, but no, I don’t think we need to be overly worried about it. To qualify this statement, we need to understand that mortgage rates do not run in “lock-step” with the Fed Funds Rate. Although the Fed Funds Rate is a bellwether for the greater economic environment, there have been times when these two rates have moved in opposite directions, such as we saw in 2004/2005. It’s also important to understand that while interest rates for revolving credit, such as credit cards and home equity loans, are tied to the Fed Funds Rate, non-revolving loans – like mortgages – are not. Mortgage rates are tied to bond yields – specifically the 10-year treasury. So what do I think will happen? I believe interest rates will rise above 4 percent, but we will not see a sharp spike in rates. The Fed has stated that any upward movement in the Fed Funds Rate will be slow and steady, and will reflect the greater economy. And I believe that mortgage rates will follow suit. Additionally, mortgage rates have already moved higher in anticipation of an increase in the Fed Funds Rate. That said, it is worth noting that any weakness in the global economy can actually have a downward effect on interest rates. This is referred to a “flight to quality”. In essence, investors seek safe haven during times of economic uncertainty. If markets outside the U.S. continue to underperform, there will likely be increasing demand for bonds which will drive up their price and drive down interest rates. Between China, the […]
The traditional seasonal slowdown is taking a break this year. Activity in November was brisk, and home prices continued to climb. Driving the surge in prices is the lowest inventory of homes in more than a decade. The result is a holiday gift for sellers – with limited choices, multiple offers are common. Now is the ideal time to get top dollar for your home. Snohomish County The median price of single-family homes sold in Snohomish County was $350,000, up 6 percent over a year ago. As compared to the half-million dollar median in King County, Snohomish County is a relative bargain. Buyers are taking note. Brokers report that buyers – even those who work in King County – are increasingly willing to trade commute time for a more reasonably priced home here. King County New residents are flocking to King County – an average of about 6,000 people a month so far this year. The increased demand for housing has gobbled up inventory as soon as it hits the market. As a result, home prices continue to climb. The median price for single family homes sold in November was $499,950, a 13.6 percent increase over a year ago. Southwest King County had the lowest median price in the county at $305,970. However, that was 20 percent higher than last November. Eastside The Eastside continues to lead the market in home prices. The median price for homes sold in November jumped 10 percent to $674,000. Even as prices continue to increase, until supply improves, the Eastside remains a very strong housing market. Buyers can expect fierce competition for existing homes, and need to work strategically on presenting their offer. Sellers can expect multiple offers, and the ability to tailor terms to their advantage.
Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their home on the market for the first time. Others who already have their home on the market decide to take it off the market until after the holidays. Here are six great reasons not to wait: 1. Relocation buyers are out there. Companies are not concerned with holiday time and if the buyers have kids, they want them to get into school after the holidays. 2. Purchasers that are looking for a home during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy. 3. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control. 4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays. Read the full article from Keeping Current Matters.