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Local Market Update – May 2016

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The supply of homes for sale in April was up over March, indicating that more sellers are deciding to list their homes. But with less than a month of inventory available in the area, it’s still a seller’s market. While prices were up over last year, the increases aren’t as lofty as they were in the first quarter of this year. Buyers looking for affordable housing continue to push their search outside the more expensive urban cores. Eastside At $730,000, the median price of a home on the Eastside was up 11 percent over last year. That figure was down slightly from February and March, suggesting that prices may be moderating. Competition for homes has not moderated. Brokers continue to report homes on the Eastside selling very quickly and often for over asking price. King County After breaking records for home prices in February and March, King County reached a new record-high in April. The median price of a single-family home was $540,000, a 12 percent increase over the same time last year. The more affordable areas in the south and north ends of the county saw the greatest increases, with home prices climbing almost 20 percent in these outlying areas. Seattle Seattle continues to have the tightest inventory of homes in King County. An influx of young, well-paid technology workers has fueled demand for homes close to the city. The median price of a single-family home increased 15 percent over a year ago to $637,250. But like the Eastside, that number was down slightly from February and March. Snohomish County Snohomish County posted more moderate price gains than King County. The price of a single-family home increased just 4 percent over last year to $375,000, down from a median of $385,000 last month. With prices here a third less than in King County, some buyers are willing to trade a longer commute for a more affordable home.

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Buyers Benefit with Windermere Real Estate

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We’re in a seller’s market, no doubt. But I work hard to make sure that buyers see every benefit available to them. Before they help you buy your home, Windermere Real Estate brokers help you find the perfect home for you. They go the extra mile and scour the listings to find the home that best fits your needs and lifestyle. In our 2015 survey of Windermere customers, 44 percent of buyers said their broker introduced them to the property while 37 percent found it themselves online. Our brokers do more than help you with the paperwork. They help you navigate the housing market with ease. Windermere Real Estate brokers also hold the advantage in multiple offer situations when home sales often go over list price. With their expert knowledge and education, our brokers work hard to get you your new home and make your offer stand above the rest. Our brokers will get the job done quickly. We’re all too familiar with the cost of waiting to buy a home, so trust that your broker will help you get into your new home as quickly and stress-free as possible. If you’re ready to jump into our spring housing market, make sure you get in touch with me soon! I’ll help you buy the home of your dreams.

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Tips for Buyers in a Hot Seller’s Market

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There is no doubt that the local real estate market is hot. Last month in King County: 57% of homes sold in less than 15 days. 4 out of 10 homes sold for over list price. 25% of home sales were cash sales. With more people competing for fewer homes, it can be frustrating to be a home buyer. Here are some tips that can help you gain an advantage and get a home that you love. 1) Get ready to compromise. Separate your needs from your wants. In a competitive market, most buyers will have to compromise on location, amenities or condition of the home. Make a list of your must-haves and features you’d like (but can live without), and prepare to be flexible. 2) Get pre-approved for a mortgage. With many buyers now offering cash, it’s critical to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes. If financing is needed, sellers prefer conventional loans to FHA or VA loans. 3) Be ready to move fast. With homes selling within days – or even hours – you can’t afford to wait on a decision. If you see a house you like, be ready to act on it that day. 4) Work with an agent who is a great negotiator. Your agent needs to do much more than just write up an offer. A good negotiator can find out what terms are most important to the seller, and write an offer (and maybe additional counter-offers) that best meet their needs. 5) Find creative ways to make your offer more appealing. Every seller has their own wish list. It may be a large earnest money payment, or they may want to stay in the home a few months after the sale. A savvy agent can use that knowledge to sweeten your offer and give you an advantage over other potential buyers. You don’t want to navigate this frenzied market without the best possible representation. Contact a Windermere broker to help you get the home you want at a price you can afford. This post originally appeared on WindermereEastside.com.

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Local Market Update – April 2016

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The supply of available homes remains at critical levels, with both King and Snohomish counties showing less than a month’s supply of inventory. With demand far outstripping supply, home prices increased by double-digits over last year throughout the Puget Sound area. The red hot market allows sellers to call the shots. Since some sellers are hesitant to put their home on the market for fear they won’t be able to find their next home quickly enough, many are negotiating with buyers to stay in their house for several months after the sale to ease the transition. Eastside Eastside home prices were up 17 percent over last March to $739,440. That price was unchanged from February of this year. Inventory, which traditionally increases in the spring, continued to shrink. With under a month’s supply of properties on the market, homes at every price point are selling quickly and often with multiple offers. King County After breaking records in February, home prices hit a new high in March. The median price of a single-family home soared to $531,250, a 21 percent increase over the same time last year. Homes are selling within days, and the area has only several weeks of available inventory. Frustrated buyers are waiting for more sellers to take advantage of the jump in prices and put their home on the market. Seattle A booming economy has drawn many new residents to the Seattle area. The city has the lowest inventory in the region, and that is reflected in home prices. The median price of a single-family home was up 20 percent over last March to $640,000. That was down slightly from the high of $644,950 in February. Snohomish County After posting more moderate gains than King County so far this year, Snohomish County home prices jumped 13 percent over last March. The median price for a single-family home climbed to $385,000. With buyers increasingly looking to the area for more affordable home options, inventory has shrunk to historic lows. Multiple offers are now the norm.

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Congratulations – River Dance Ranch!

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Congratulations to David and Cathy Petrie on their purchase of my Green Valley Road listing in Auburn. It took 3 years to find the new destination for River Dance Ranch! Their focus will be twofold … 1. Being a recognized and refined breeder of KFPS registered Friesian sport horses with a focus on dressage suitability. 2. Developing the property to become a training facility with an emphasis in the disciplines of dressage under the expert training of Paige Ruhl. It was so wonderful to work with you and help find you the perfect home and equestrian property to fit your needs. Here’s to the success of your new ranch!

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4 Reasons to Sell Your House Now

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1) Sale prices are at all-time highs. Home prices in King County hit new highs last month. The median price of a single family home sold in King County in February was $514,975, a whopping 20% increase over a year ago. The median price in Seattle was up 24% to $644,950. The Eastside’s median price was up 20% to $739,975. You may be surprised at how much your home is worth today. 2) Competition among buyers is driving prices even higher. Despite increasing prices, there is intense competition among buyers because inventory is at all-time lows. That means multiple offer and bidding wars, increasing the likelihood that your home will sell above your asking price. 3) Homes are selling fast. With such limited inventory, homes in King County are selling rapidly – sometimes in days. If you list your house now, chances are you’ll get a buyer quickly. 4) You can make the sale work to your needs. With competition for homes so fierce, you have the freedom to make the deal that works best for you. Many buyers are paying cash. They’ll also make concessions. Do you want stay in the home a few months after the sale? Want a large earnest money payment? You’re in the driver’s seat, and many buyers are willing to do what it takes to get the home they want. It’s a seller’s market. Are you ready to take advantage of it?

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Why Buying Beats Renting Today

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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.

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Local Market Update – March 2016

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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.

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Windermere Leads in Luxury Home Sales

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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!

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The Tax Benefits Every Homeowner Should Know About

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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 […]

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