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Local Market Update – July 2016

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Despite an uptick in inventory, home prices hit new records in June yet again. A national study showed that home prices are rising faster in Washington than any other state. While lower interest rates provide some relief for buyers, sellers are the real winners. The increase in inventory indicates that more homeowners are starting to take advantage of this historic seller’s market. Eastside After setting a new record last month, the Eastside saw home prices drop slightly from the May peak of $760,000 to $746,500 in June. That number was an increase of 11 percent over a year ago. Despite the small price adjustment, the Eastside continues to have the highest median home prices in King County. King County This is the fifth month in a row that the price for a single-family home in King County has set a new record. This latest peak was $573,552, up 15 percent from last June. Inventory increased slightly, but homes were snapped up quickly. One analysis shows fewer multiple offers, but indicated that 80 percent of new listings were selling within the first 30 days. Seattle The median price of a single-family home in Seattle was a record $666,500 in June, up 16 percent over the past year and a jump of 74 percent in the last five years. Those hoping to save money by renting aren’t seeing much relief. A recent report ranked Seattle with the second highest rent growth in the country. Snohomish County Despite an increase in inventory, home prices in Snohomish County continued to rise. Buyers seeking an alternative to King County’s high prices are pushing their home search north resulting in increased completion for homes and adding to price escalation. The price here hit a new record of $395,000 in June, up 9.7 percent from a year ago.

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What We Know (and Don’t Know) About the Impact of Brexit

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This article from Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner discusses what Brexit means for the U.S. economy and housing market.  The decision of the British public to leave the European Union is a historic one for many reasons, not least of which was the almost uniform belief that there was absolutely no way that the public would vote to dissolve a partnership that had been in existence since the UK became a member nation back in 1973. However, rightly or not, the people decided that it was time to leave. As both an economist, and native of the UK, I’ve been bombarded with questions from people about what impact Brexit will have on the global economy and U.S. housing market. I’ll start with the economy. Since last Thursday’s announcement, there have been exceptional ripples around the global economy that were felt here in the U.S. too. This isn’t all that surprising given that the vast majority of us believed that the UK would vote to remain in the EU; however, I believe things will start to settle down as soon as the smoke clears. The only problem is that the smoke remains remarkably dense. The British government does not appear to be in any hurry to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which allows a member country to leave the conglomerate. Additionally, nobody appears able to provide any definitive data as to what the effect of the UK leaving will really have on the European or global economies. As a result, you have those who suggest that it will lead to a “modest” recession in the UK, as well as extremists who are forecasting a return of the 4-horsemen of the apocalypse. But in reality, no one really knows, and it is that type of uncertainty that feeds on itself and can cause wild fluctuations in the market. It’s important to understand that last Thursday’s vote does not confirm an actual exit from the European Union. There is a prolonged process of leaving that is set out in the EU Treaty which requires a “cooling off” period. And during this time, even confident political leaders, such as Boris Johnson who championed the exit campaign, might be tempted by reforms that would see Great Britain actually remaining in the EU. The EU itself has been shaken by the vote, and there are already signs that many of its leaders are talking about […]

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Homebuilder Sentiment Rises in June

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As Americans are starting to feel more optimistic about purchasing homes, homebuilders are feeling hopeful about their sales. This is a welcome relief after a weak start to the spring home-selling season. During that time both parties were concerned about their prospects in the housing market. A recent article from The Seattle Times discusses the causes and importance of this positive change in sentiment among both groups. How can we determine a rise in sentiment among home buyers and homebuilders? People have always understood the benefits of home ownership, so while the desire and demand have been constant, many factors deterred potential homeowners from investing in real estate. Lately we’ve seen that steady job gains and low mortgage rates are encouraging those people to buy new homes with less risk. That drives home construction and helps support the economy. This is where homebuilders come in (feeling optimistic). Though new homes represent a small fraction of the housing market, they have an outsized impact on the economy. According to data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue. While we could just assume that new, steady jobs boost morale, the NAHB/Wells Fargo have an index that actually quantifies builder sentiment. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. As of last Thursday, the reading was at 60, which is the highest it’s been since January. Although the housing market has yet to recover from the consequences of the downturn a decade ago, rising sentiments prove that we are making progress. According to Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist, the latest builder survey results indicate that the housing market “should continue to move forward in the second half of 2016.” That makes us feel pretty optimistic, too. Read the full article at The Seattle Times.

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Support Your Local Food Banks During the Summer

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Did you know that June is fresh fruits and vegetables month? That’s great if you can afford them. However, they are a luxury for people who struggle to provide even just the basic necessities for their families. Many families rely on their local food banks as a regular supplemental food source. And of those families, 84 percent of households with children report purchasing the cheapest food available, knowing it wasn’t the healthiest option, in order to provide enough food for their family. And summertime is probably when food banks need your help the most. That’s because children are on break from school and their families have to provide the meals that they normally would get through school meal programs. Six out of seven low-income kids who eat a free or reduced-price school lunch do not get free meals during the summer because they don’t participate in summer meal programs. So what can you do to help? Does this mean you should go out and buy a bunch of fruits and vegetables to donate to your local food bank? Or maybe donate some extra produce from your home garden? No. The best way that you can help families in need is to donate money to your local food banks. Food banks have agreements or partnerships with distributors/suppliers so that they are able to stretch your donation dollars to purchase more items, usually in bulk. For example, a one-dollar donation—to a food bank hub like Feeding America—can provide 11 meals to families in need. And 68 percent of the foods distributed are healthy foods that align with the USDA Dietary Guidelines. At Windermere Real Estate, our offices support local food banks through grants from the Windermere Foundation. Here are just a few of the food banks that we have supported over the past year: Idaho Foodbank,Columbia Pacific Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank, Marysville Community Food Bank, The People’s Pantry, Republic, and Maple Valley Food Bank & Emergency Services. If you’d like to help, consider making a donation to the Windermere Foundation or donating directly to your local food bank or food pantry. To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation. This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

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Local Market Update – June 2016

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House hunters looking for relief from soaring rents continued to snap up homes at a record pace in May. By one analysis, 80 percent of the homes coming on the market in King and Snohomish counties sold within the first 30 days – many within the first week. With a severe lack of inventory in prime buying season, sellers are getting record prices for homes. Eastside The Eastside, already the most expensive area in King County, saw home prices set a new record in May. Median home prices on the Eastside were up by over $100,000 compared to last year, reaching an all-time high of $760,000. With just a month of inventory available, most new listings here drew multiple offers. Even with soaring prices, buyers should plan to act quickly and count on navigating multiple offers. King County With 20 percent fewer homes on the market here than last year, competition among buyers remained fierce. Tight supply and high demand sent prices surging. For the fourth straight month, King County set a new record, with the median price of a single family home sold in May jumping 16 percent over last year to $560,000. The market is in dire need of new homes to ease the inventory crunch. Seattle Seattle has the 4th fastest growing population in the country. That growth has fueled demand. Seattle trails only Portland on the list of markets with the fastest-growing home prices. A single family home here cost $641,250 in May, an increase of 14 percent over the same time last year. While slightly higher than the median price last month, that figure is down from the peak in February. Snohomish County Since the close-in neighborhoods in Seattle and Bellevue have priced out most first-time buyers, they continued to look to Snohomish County as a more affordable option. The median price of a single-family home increased 11 percent over last year to $389,950. That price is slightly above the pre-recession peak in 2007. However, at 30 percent less than the median price in King County, it’s a relative bargain.

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What is the Case-Shiller Home Price Report?

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This post and video originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices is a monthly report that analyzes housing data in major metropolitan areas across the U.S. Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner explains what this report is and why we use it to assess the strength of the housing market.

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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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