January brought more good news for homebuyers. Prices were down, inventory was up and interest rates hovered near a nine-month low. Those factors drove more buyers into the market and resulted in an uptick in sales for the month. We’ll see how this transitioning market evolves as we head into the prime Spring home buying season.
The most expensive region in King County saw prices soften in January. The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside dropped 3 percent over last January to $910,000. It’s an excellent time for buyers to leverage the cooling market and negotiate terms that work best for their needs. Last January, 39 percent of the homes in this area sold for over asking price. This January, that figure dropped to 12 percent. With its favorable business climate and high rankings for both economic growth and technology capabilities, demand on the Eastside is projected to remain strong.
January marked the first time home prices in King County decreased year-over-year in seven years. The median price of a single-family home was $610,0000, a drop of 3 percent over the prior year. Inventory more than doubled. Unlike recent months, this was due primarily to more people putting their homes on the market, as opposed to homes taking longer to sell. Despite the surge in listings there is just two months of available inventory, far short of what is needed to meet demand.
The median price of a single-family home in the city was $711,500 in January, a decrease of 6 percent year-over-year. Despite a 107 percent increase in homes for sale compared to a year ago, Seattle continues to have the tightest inventory in King County with less than two months of supply. A booming economy that shows no signs of slowing continues to draw more people to the city. The area will have to significantly add more inventory to meet that growing demand.
The median price of a single-family home in January inched up 1 percent from last year to $455,000. That price is down from the median of $470,000 recorded in December. Snohomish County also saw a surge in inventory with the number of homes on the market double of what it was last year at this time.
This post originally appeared on the WindermereEastside.com Blog.
The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere Agent.
The Washington State economy continues to add jobs at an above-average rate, though the pace of growth is starting to slow as the business cycle matures. Over the past 12 months, the state added 96,600 new jobs, representing an annual growth rate of 2.9% — well above the national rate of 1.7%. Private sector employment gains continue to be quite strong, increasing at an annual rate of 3.6%. Public sector employment was down 0.3%. The strongest growth sectors were Real Estate Brokerage and Leasing (+11.4%), Employment Services (+10.3%), and Residential Construction (+10.2%). During fourth quarter, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.3%, down from 4.7% a year ago.
My latest economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will still be positive but is expected to slow. We should see an additional 83,480 new jobs, which would be a year-over-year increase of 2.4%.
Home Sales Activity
- There were 17,353 home sales during the fourth quarter of 2018. Year-over-year sales growth started to slow in the third quarter and this trend continued through the end of the year. Sales were down 16% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.
- The slowdown in home sales was mainly a function of increasing listing activity, which was up 38.8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 (continuing a trend that started earlier in the year). Almost all of the increases in listings were in King and Snohomish Counties. There were more modest increases in Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap, Skagit, and Island Counties. Listing activity was down across the balance of the region.
- Only two counties—Mason and Lewis—saw sales rise compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, with the balance of the region seeing lower levels of sales activity.
- We saw the traditional drop in listings in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter, but I fully anticipate that we will see another jump in listings when the spring market hits. The big question will be to what degree listings will rise.
With greater choice, home price growth in Western Washington continued to slow in fourth quarter, with a year-over-year increase of 5% to $486,667. Notably, prices were down 3.3% compared to the third quarter of 2018.
Home prices, although higher than a year ago, continue to slow. As mentioned earlier, we have seen significant increases in inventory and this will slow down price gains. I maintain my belief that this is a good thing, as the pace at which home prices were rising was unsustainable.
When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Skagit County, where home prices were up 13.7%. Three other counties experienced double-digit price increases.
Price growth has been moderating for the past two quarters and I believe that we have reached a price ceiling in many markets. I would not be surprised to see further drops in prices across the region in the first half of 2019, but they should start to resume their upward trend in the second half of the year.
Days on Market
The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped three days compared to the same quarter of 2017.
- Thurston County joined King County as the tightest markets in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of 35 days to sell. There were eight counties that saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in five counties and was unchanged in two.
Across the entire region, it took an average of 51 days to sell a home in the fourth quarter of 2018. This is down from 54 days in the fourth quarter of 2017 but up by 12 days when compared to the third quarter of 2018.
I suggested in the third quarter Gardner Report that we should be prepared for days on market to increase, and that has proven to be accurate. I expect this trend will continue, but this is typical of a regional market that is moving back to becoming balanced.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I am continuing to move the needle toward buyers as price growth moderates and listing inventory continues to rise.
2019 will be the year that we get closer to having a more balanced housing market. Buyer and seller psychology will continue to be significant factors as home sellers remain optimistic about the value of their home, while buyers feel significantly less pressure to buy. Look for the first half of 2019 to be fairly slow as buyers sit on the sidelines waiting for price stability, but then I do expect to see a more buoyant second half of the year.
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the Unversity of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog.
The real estate market continued to improve for buyers in King County and beyond 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.
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.
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.
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 Live In.
Inventory in Snohomish County continued to climb, surging 88 percent in November as compared to a year ago. That said, the area has fewer homes for sale than King County with just 1.8 months of inventory. This is still far short of the four to six months of supply that is considered a balanced market. The median price of a single-family home sold in November was up 6 percent from last year to $470,000, virtually unchanged from October.
This post originally appeared on the WindermereEastside.com blog.
Contact Kari Haas at 206-719-2224 to discuss your best strategy for buying and selling today!
In November I was invited to appear on The Money Hour hosted by Tina Mitchell on 1150 AM KKNW. The guest panel included:
- Randy Bannecker – President of Bannecker Public Affairs and founding partner of ClearPath Partners
- Kari Haas – Managing Real Estate Broker of Kari Haas Real Estate Team, associated with Windermere Real Estate / Bellevue Commons, Inc.
- Danielle Madrid – Founder and Executive Director of Haven Community Connections
Together we discussed population growth, strategies for success in today’s real estate market and domestic violence.
Thank you to Tina Mitchell and co-host Keelan Harvey for bringing us all together. Scroll to the bottom of the page for links to the whole show and to my segment!
Below I have elaborated on the topics and questions touched upon during my segment. Enjoy and please reach out to me at 206-719-2224 if you have questions or comments!
Strategies for Success in Today’s Market
Listeners want to know if they should be buying and selling homes now or wait until the spring.
At any time of year, the market has a different set of pros and cons. Statistics will tell you that June/July is the best time to sell. I believe every time of year is a good time to buy and sell. There is more competition in the spring time for both buyers and sellers. For sellers in the spring, they need a real estate broker who knows how to set their home apart from the rest and market it to get the maximum viewership and buyers in the door. For buyers in the spring, with so many people out looking at homes and putting down offers, the price of buying a home increases.
In the fall and winter months there is less inventory and less buyers. But the buyers who are out in the fall/winter are very serious about their mission. In springtime buyers might just be window shopping, but not in the winter. Winter is a great time to view homes because you will be able to tell if important items like the state of the heating system and which windows and doors have drafts. For sellers, have a broker who will stage your home creatively is an excellent way to impress buyers and get them in the door.
The time to go on market is extremely subjective. I work with my clients to understand their goals and help them make the right decision about when to go on market to exceed their goals and get the highest return on their investment.
What are the most important things for people to do to get their houses ready for sale in this tough market?
Selling your home is an emotional process. It represents one of, if not your biggest investment; it is the place where you raised your children; you’ve poured endless passion into personal touches from artwork and rugs to remodels. As difficult as it is, it is paramount to remove your self from the emotions attached to the home. The best thing you can do is hire a real estate broker who is deeply in touch with the buyer’s market and can advise you on renovations necessary. These often include dated wallpaper, old carpet and popcorn ceilings.
When selling, how can you differentiate your home from other homes on the market?
Marketing and presentation are the two biggest factors in differentiating your home from the competition. Your real estate broker needs to stage the home or hire a stager that will make the home feel clean and fresh. The staging should expertly balance the need for enough furniture so that the home is warm and welcoming, but not too much so that the buyer can imagine herself and her belongings in the home.
A strategic marketing plan ensures that your home will be seen and be seen by the right people. Your real estate broker must identify target audiences and develop a strategic marketing plan that will highlight the home, the property and the location in a way that maximizes viewership. These marketing plans differ from property to property and client to client. A strategic marketing plan might focus on catering to a foreign market, people moving up to the greater Seattle area from California, or a neighborhood campaign.
How do our listeners decide what needs to be remodeled and what is good as is?
Deciding what needs to be remodeled is tough. The right real estate broker will be able to advise you on what to prioritize. Your real estate broker will do this by understanding market standards, and then working with you to understand your budget for the projects identified as needs. When working with the Kari Haas Team, a project manager is provided in order to keep track of and complete these projects so you can have as stress-free an experience as possible and focus on preserving your cherished items.
What should you be looking for in a real estate broker?
A good real estate broker will demonstrate honesty, integrity and commitment as well as be knowledgeable and active in the market place. You will have the most positive experience possible if you choose somebody who you are confident has your best interests at heart. As in other industries, checking customer reviews is a great way to learn more about the real estate broker you are considering. I am incredibly proud of the customer-centric business model I have developed for my team. We treat each client like our favorite aunt or uncle, we engage in continued education to stay ahead of the game, and we do what we do because we love it.
What areas should people be investing in right now to get the best bang for their buck?
We have seen more and more businesses create branches outside of Seattle or move away from the big city all together. With that in mind, buyers are developing more of a taste for areas to the south between Seattle and Tacoma – Federal Way, Des Moines, Kent, Auburn – and areas north between Seattle and Bellingham – Mt. Vernon, Arlington, Stanwood. Another group moving north is our elderly population so they can easy go across the border for pharmaceutical care.
What are some options for baby boomers looking to down-size?
When you have lived in one place for so long you have collected so many things that you love, which makes downsizing painful. Our team provides you the support you need to sort through your belongings and determine your next steps. We are there for you every step of the way, including finding a suitable next or final residence.
What do millennials need to consider when buying their first home?
The first step for millennials interested in buying a home is to develop a five-year-plan. Buying a home is a huge long-term investment. These buyers should be considering their professional goals, when they might want to start a family and what kind of neighborhood they want to live in down the line. People stay in their houses for an average of 7 years. A good real estate broker will ask you about these kinds of plans to ensure the best service.
Tell me about your team. What makes it special?
I have a super exceptional team of high-quality individuals who all have different talents and make meaningful contributions to the success of our clients. Having a team allows me to better help my clients because I’m able to focus on the marketing and negotiations while my support staff takes care of inspections, appraisals, escrow and other aspects of buying and selling. I am so grateful for these awesome people. And so are my clients!
Click here to listen to Kari’s show segment.
Click here listen to the full episode.
Kari’s Top 5 Places to Give on #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday ushers in the charitable season, immediately following Thanksgiving and the popular shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are so many amazing organizations deserving donations on #GivingTuesday near and far. Here are my top 5 local organizations!
- Bellevue Youth Theatre
Mission Statement: BYT’s mission is to provide opportunities in the performing arts for all young people, regardless of income or ability, and allow them to perform before a live audience. At the same time, the theater provides the community with quality productions, which are both entertaining and socially relevant for the entire family.I am proud to have been a board member and and to have helped raise funds to build the new Bellevue Youth Theatre at Crossroads Park many years ago. I am also proud to still be a strong supporter today. Click here to be part of Bellevue Youth Theatre’s mission this #GivingTuesday!
- Camp Solomon Schechter
Mission Statement: Camp Solomon Schechter (CSS) has a 65-year tradition of fun, friendship, and Jewish education in the Pacific Northwest. CSS values each child as an individual and strives to support their social and spiritual growth. Campers have the opportunity to be independent in a safe and nurturing environment. CSS is a fully immersive, welcoming, and spiritual Jewish environment. CSS emphasizes the values of integrity, derech eretz (respect), and tikkun olam (repairing the world), all while fostering life-long friendships. At CSS, Judaism and Joy are truly one!Camp Solomon Schechter has been an integral part of my life and has helped shape the person I am today. I attended CSS as a camper and later worked there as a lifeguard. My children also attended (and one of them still attends!) CSS. Even my mother attended CSS! I am following my grandmother’s footsteps by being an active board member for CSS to ensure that future generations can benefit from this wonderful organization. I give to Camp Solomon Schechter on #GivingTuesday and every day! Join me by clicking here!
- Eastside Winter Shelter for Women and Children
Mission Statement: To help families and women experiencing homelessness on the Eastside.
Helping our community’s population of people in need is a huge passion of mine. I’ve been working with the Eastside Winter Shelter for a number of years now and it is incredibly rewarding. Though #GivingTueday is generally about giving donations, what they really need is food, paper goods and your time. We are in our 5th year sponsoring the paper goods drive and are still collecting! Call me at 206-719-2224 for more information or for a paper goods pick-up. Click here to get involved!
- Hebrew Free Loan Association
Mission Statement: To aid worthy Jewish people to be and remain self-supporting and self-respecting persons by aid of loans, grants, and such services as the individual may require. Such loans, grants, and services shall be rendered without interest or other charge.I cannot overstate how important this organization is. I was the recipient of one of these loans many years ago as a struggling single mother. This organization was there when I was in need. It lifted me up so that I could help myself. Now I am incredibly privileged to help support this organization and therefore many people who need a little extra help. If you need help, contact HFLA today to apply for a loan! And if you are planning your #GivingTuesday donations, please include HFLA and click here!
- Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center
Mission Statement: Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center is a community where horses transform the bodies, minds, and spirits of people with disabilities.Every year I volunteer at Little Bit with my office, Windermere Bellevue Commons. We’ve been doing this as a group for 17 years and I’m proud to support such a vital, caring and nurturing service to our community. It is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people doing incredibly meaningful work. Check it out today and give to Little Bit this #GivingTuesday by clicking here!
What’s New in the Eastside Real Estate Market
Increased inventory, slower sales and price reductions all point to a balancing market—welcome news for price-shocked buyers. Sales prices for the Eastside real estate market are up from last October and down from the all-time high reached this spring. Despite the slowdown, it’s important to point out that we’re only moving back toward a normal market. King and Snohomish counties each have over two months of available inventory. While that is double the inventory of last year , it’s short of the four to six months supply that is considered a balanced market. Sellers looking to list their Eastside real estate properties now can be sure there remains plenty of interest among home buyers.
The median home on the Eastside sold for $890,000 in October, up 5 percent from last year and unchanged from the previous month. While year-over-year price increases were in the single digits for the Eastside overall, several areas, including Kirkland, Woodinville and Mercer Island, experienced double-digit price gains. Buyers still have to pay a premium for desirable Eastside real estate properties. However, with more choices and less buyer urgency, sellers need to price their home correctly to maximize chances of getting the best possible return.
Inventory in King County for all homes, both single-family and condominium, soared 102 percent over last October. The increase was due to an influx of new listings and the fact that homes are now taking longer to sell than at the peak of the market this spring. While buyers now have more breathing room for decision making, the 2.4 months of inventory in King County is still far from a balanced market. The median price of a single-family home in October was $670,999, an increase of 7 percent from the same time last year, and virtually unchanged from August and September. South King County showed larger increases, with prices rising over 10 percent from a year ago in Auburn, Kent and Renton.
In October, the median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $750,000, up 2 percent from last October and down slightly from last month. While inventory doubled over a year ago, Seattle falls behind most areas of King County in supply with just under two months of inventory available. Demand is predicted to stay high, with Seattle’s population projected to grow at twice the national rate next year. That said, buyers are in the position to be able to negotiate. A recent analysis named Seattle as one of the top markets in the country where it makes the most sense to buy this winter.
Inventory in Snohomish County soared 65 percent in October compared to a year ago. The area now has 2.4 months of inventory, about the same supply as King County. As with most of the Puget Sound area, the increase in inventory was due to a higher number of sellers listing their homes and fewer sales. Year-over-year, the median price of a single-family home sold in October in Snohomish County grew 8 percent to $473,000. The median price in September was $485,000.
This post about the Greater Seattle and Eastside real estate markets originally appeared on the Windermere Eastside Blog.
If you are thinking of buying or selling, call me at 206-719-2224. I have a proven process in this tough market to achieve your goals. My clients buy for less and sell for more than the industry average. Let’s sell your house and find your home!
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