Buying a HomeLocal Real Estate News July 22, 2021

Local Listing Inventory is on the Upswing

It’s been a frenetic year-and-a-half for the real estate market, particularly in Seattle and on the Eastside. Even as the state fully reopens and the number of new listings increases, demand for housing across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties remains insatiable, continuing to drive up prices.

The most recent report from the NWMLS does offer some hope for buyers. While demand is still high, new listings for single-family homes and condos across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties increased 14.5% from May. Across all Washington counties, last month saw 6,358 new listings become available, the highest monthly increase in the last 17 months.

In King and Snohomish counties, this translated to an increase of 15% in total active listings, with an 11% increase in new listings since May.

Windermere’s chief economist, Matthew Gardner, cautions that while the new listings do offer more options and hope for buyers, the market is likely to stay this competitive for the foreseeable future.

And although there is slightly more inventory on the market, being able to afford it is another story. In basic terms of supply and demand, with so many eager buyers on the market and only two to three weeks of inventory in larger counties, prices are skyrocketing.

In King County, the median sale price for single-family homes was up nearly 19% to a whopping $860,000. Pierce County saw a 26% increase up to $516,000 and Snohomish County rose by 32% to a median sale price of $716,000. In Snohomish County, inventory is running particularly low, with a 44% decrease in the number of single-family homes and condos available compared to a year ago; this leaves the county with only a 10-day supply of inventory — the lowest of any county in the NWMLS.

Builders are responding to the continued high demand as well. Across Kitsap County and other areas, new apartment buildings and condo projects are being approved to try and meet the demand for housing.

Some real estate analysts predict that the increase in inventory may be short-lived, with closed sales up 43% in the four metro counties and listings surging due to the state’s lifted covid restrictions. For buyers looking to enter the market, the best approach might be to practice patience.

 


Information for this article was sourced from Puget Sound Business Journal and 425 Business, and GettheWReport.com

Local Real Estate NewsThe Gardner Report July 1, 2021

Matthew Gardner on Post-Pandemic Recovery

The “demise of downtown” has been greatly exaggerated, according to Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. That’s one assessment Gardner made recently, along with other observations about the current housing and job markets in the Seattle area.

According to Gardner, those who keep tabs on the real estate market should be careful about reading too much into year-over-year price changes in the housing market. While King County is up 23.5% and Snohomish County is up by almost 33%, Gardner reminds us that the housing market was in a very different place a year ago than it is today. The early days of pandemic shutdowns basically put last spring’s real estate market on hold. So while this year’s price increases certainly indicate a level of economic recovery has taken place, the data needs to be viewed in context for it to be truly useful.

Overall, Gardner advises a cautious optimism regarding the regional economy. He observes that things are improving, but he says it’s important not to get carried away. While Gardner predicts a period of aggressive growth for the next year, he reminds us that many people were spending their money very cautiously this time last year, so naturally as the economy opens back up there will be built-in growth ahead.

On the subject of inflation, many economists caution about rates akin to those of the 1970s and 80s. Gardner, however, predicts a more moderate outcome. Although he thinks it’s likely we’ll have higher interest rates than we’ve seen in the last 30 years, he doesn’t believe we’ll see the same growth in the inflation rate. Gardner predicts that by 2022 things are likely to have settled down into a more typical pattern.

Finally, Gardner addresses the current levels of job loss caused by the pandemic. In total, the Puget Sound region lost about 216,000 jobs during the initial stages of the pandemic, but has since recovered about 103,000 of these. However, that recovery is not evenly distributed across industries. According to Gardner, construction has seen a full recovery of its jobs, and tech and information jobs were minimally impacted by the pandemic. On the other hand, the leisure and hospitality sectors have experienced much slower recovery, having lost about 79,000 jobs but adding back only about 29,000 of those.

As the leisure and hospitality sectors slowly recover from the pandemic, Gardner points out that there is another sign that the local economy is heading in the right direction: the growing demand for in-person entertainment and events. Though many large-scale events like conventions and concerts are still being planned out years in advance, the enthusiastic demand for these events and the easing of government restrictions preventing them is reason for optimism indeed.

 


This article was originally posted on MyNorthwest and GettheWReport.com

Local Market Update May 19, 2021

Local Market Update – May 2021

A sizeable increase in new listings in April offered some good news for buyers, but it was matched by an even greater increase in sales. With supplies depleted, and homes being snapped up within days, nearly every area saw double-digit price gains. The current forecast as we head towards summer: the market remains as hot as ever.

Despite the influx of new listings, inventory in the region remains one of the tightest in the country. At the end of the month there were 43% fewer homes on the market in King County than there were a year ago. Snohomish County had 49% less inventory, and has just 519 single-family homes for sale in the entire county. There were only 309 homes for sale on the Eastside, which stretches from Renton to Woodinville. Demand is so outstripping supply that 95% of the homes that sold last month on the Eastside sold within two weeks. In Seattle that number was 84%.

Home prices hit record highs in April, with nearly every area seeing double-digit price increases. The median price of a single-family home in King County last month was $830,000. Snohomish County’s median price soared to $675,000. Seattle’s median home price hit $875,000. All were new records. At $1.3 million, the median price on the Eastside was down slightly from its all-time high in March, but up a whopping 39% from the same time last year. In another show of the strength of the market, 82% of homes on the Eastside sold for over the list price. That compares with 60% of homes in Seattle. The Seattle market remains strong, however price appreciation there has slowed relative to other areas of King County and inventory has crept up. Condos present one bright spot for buyers. Price growth has been slower and inventory has been higher than for single-family homes. The $460,000 median price for a condo in King County is 45% less than the median price of a single-family home there.

Needless to say, this is a challenging market for buyers. With multiple offers and escalation clauses the norm, it’s critical to work with your broker on a plan to consider all possible scenarios when looking to buy a home. If you’re thinking about selling, it’s an ideal time to get a maximum return on your property before the prospect of rising interest rates starts to moderate the market.

The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.

EASTSIDE

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com

Local Real Estate News May 8, 2021

How Architects are Designing Offices in the Pandemic

COVID-19 has changed just about every facet of life — and that includes the very architecture that surrounds us. As remote work and virtual gatherings have become the norm, architects and designers are reevaluating the ways in which they design communal spaces.

In particular, offices have proven challenging as architecture firms address questions like which employees will have a desk in the office, and what will the capacity of the office be?

For some firms, the answer is not in reducing the number of desks in the office, but in making sure every employee has their own space to work from. Hot desking (the practice of having employees share workspaces with others and not assigning specific desks to employees) is unlikely to regain favor anytime soon, as workers are hyper-aware of contagions and the potential risk factors of sharing a space with others.

To minimize contact, offices and reception desks are now being designed with food delivery hubs. With the spike in food delivery services during the pandemic, creating designated spaces for drop-offs minimizes both the potential risks and the hassle of meeting a delivery driver.

Additionally, new offices are being designed with more flexible workspaces for employees to take advantage of, including phone booths, huddle and conference rooms and outdoor terraces with Wifi access.

The appeal of more outdoor space has also spilled over into the design of new apartment buildings, as units are being designed with more outdoor spaces for residents. Additionally, some design firms are working to design larger units for the benefit of residents, although this approach does cut into profits.

One thing both office and residential design have in common is their new source of inspiration — healthcare facilities. In the past, many design firms had turned to the hospitality industry for their inspiration, focusing on comfort and aesthetics. These days, it’s the opposite, as commercial and residential architects prioritize health and sanitation.

For many, this means increased investment in HVAC and air filtration devices. Though not the most exciting development, these fixtures are effective and increase peace of mind for those in the building. Additionally, antibacterial surfaces and easy-to-sanitize materials, like tile and porcelain have also seen an increase in popularity.

No matter how long the pandemic lasts, its impacts will be felt for some time. Among the long-term changes, the design of our homes and offices will also be impacted for the foreseeable future.

 


This article was originally posted on Bisnow by Jon Banister and GettheWReport

Local Real Estate News April 30, 2021

Google Continues to Invest in Kirkland

With the recent news that Seattle is the national leader in big tech office leases, it’s no wonder that Kirkland continues to be a prime spot for investment from Google.

Google recently announced that it plans to invest more than $7 billion in offices and data centers around the U.S., including the continuing construction of campuses in Kirkland and Seattle. The end result of these investments will be more than 10,000 new full-time Google jobs across the country.

Google has had a presence in Western Washington since 2011, and currently has about 6,300 employees in the region. The plan is for the tech company to continue the construction of two new campuses in Kirkland, in addition to its current 375,000-square-foot campus.

With the first new project in Kirkland, appropriately called the Kirkland Urban East campus, Google will add 760,000 square feet of office space, spread across four new buildings. This project is well underway, with the North building already completed and construction started on the South and Central buildings.

The company’s new project in the city is on the site of the former Lee Johnson Chevrolet dealership. Google finalized the purchase and sale agreement in November 2020, and the project is still in the early stages. The deal will likely close in stages over the next several years as Google finalizes its plans for the site.

Seattle is also benefitting from ongoing investment from Google. The company continues to work on Block 38, which is a 330,000-square-foot building located on the corner of Westlake Avenue and Mercer Street. This project is an extension of Google’s South Lake Union campus, which will span a total of five buildings and encompass 900,000 square feet of office space.

Among the news of Google’s upcoming projects, the company also released its 2020 Economic Impact Report. The report indicated that Google provided $17.3 billion in economic activity for 52,800 Washington businesses. Additionally, more than 398,000 Washington businesses connected with customers through Google searches last year.

 


This article was originally posted on 425Business by John Stearns and on GettheWReport.com

The Gardner Report April 27, 2021

Gardner Report – Q1 2021

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 me!

 

REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

In the summer and fall of 2020, Western Washington regained some of the jobs lost due to COVID-19, but employment levels in the region have been in a holding pattern ever since. As of February, the region had recovered 132,000 of the 297,000 jobs that were lost, but that still leaves the area down by 165,000 positions. Given the announcement that several counties may have to roll back to phase 2 of reopening, I would not be surprised to see businesses hold off on plans to add to their payrolls until the picture becomes clearer. Even with this “pause” in the job recovery, the region’s unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1% from the December rate of 6.4% (re-benchmarking in 2020 showed the December rate was higher than the originally reported 5.5%). The lowest rate was in King County (5.3%) and the highest rate was in Grays Harbor County, which registered at 9.2%. Despite the adjustment to the 2020 numbers, my forecast still calls for employment levels to increase as we move through the year, though the recovery will be slower in areas where COVID-19 infection rates remain elevated.

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME SALES

❱ Sales in the first quarter were impressive, with 15,893 home sales. This is an increase of 17.5% from the same period in 2020, but 32% lower than in the final quarter of last year—a function of low levels of inventory.

❱ Listing activity continues to be well below normal levels, with total available inventory 40.7% lower than a year ago, and 35.5% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2020.

❱ Sales rose in all counties other than Jefferson, though the drop there was only one unit. There were significant increases in almost every other county, but sales growth was more muted in Cowlitz and Thurston counties. San Juan County again led the way, likely due to ongoing interest from second-home buyers.

❱ The ratio of pending sales (demand) to active listings (supply) shows how competitive the market is. Western Washington is showing pendings outpacing new listings by a factor of almost six to one. The housing market is as tight now as I have ever seen it.

A bar graph showing the annual change in home sales for various counties in Western Washington

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME PRICES

A map showing the real estate market percentage changes in various Western Washington counties

❱ Home price growth in Western Washington continues to trend well above the long-term average, with prices 21.3% higher than a year ago. The average home sale price was $635,079.

❱ Compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Grays Harbor and Mason counties, but all markets saw double-digit price growth compared to a year ago.

❱ Home prices were also 2.9% higher than in the final quarter of 2020, which was good to see given that 30-year mortgage rates rose .4% in the quarter.

❱ I expect to see mortgage rates continue to trend higher as we move through the year, but they will remain significantly lower than the long-term average. Any increase in rates can act as a headwind to home-price growth, but excessive demand will likely cause prices to continue to rise.

A bar graph showing the annual change in home sale prices for various counties in Western Washington

DAYS ON MARKET

❱ The market in early 2021 continued to show far more demand than supply, which pushed the average time it took to sell a home down 25 days compared to a year ago. It took 2 fewer days to sell a home than it did in the final quarter of 2020.

❱ Snohomish and Thurston counties were the tightest markets in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 15 days to sell. The greatest drop in market time was in San Juan County, where it took 52 fewer days to sell a home than it did a year ago.

❱ Across the region, it took an average of only 29 days to sell a home in the quarter. All counties saw market time decrease from the first quarter of 2020.

❱ Very significant demand, in concert with woefully low levels of supply, continues to make the region’s housing market very competitive. This will continue to be a frustration for buyers.

A bar graph showing the average days on market for homes in various counties in Western Washington

CONCLUSIONS

A speedometer graph indicating a seller's market in Western Washington

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.

Demand is very strong and, even in the face of rising mortgage rates, buyers are still out in force. With supply still lagging significantly, it staunchly remains a seller’s market. As such, I am moving the needle even further in their favor.

As I mentioned in last quarter’s Gardner Report, 2021 will likely see more homeowners make the choice to sell and move if they’re allowed to continue working remotely. On the one hand, this is good for buyers because it means more listings to choose from. However, if those sellers move away from the more expensive core markets into areas where housing is cheaper, it could lead to increased competition and affordability issues for the local buyers in those markets.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

Matthew Gardner - Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate

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 University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog

Local Market Update April 14, 2021

Local Market Update – April 2021

 

Despite a bump in new listings the supply of homes still can’t keep up with the demand. The result? Multiple offers, escalation clauses, and record-breaking prices. If you’re considering selling your home, you’d be hard pressed to find a more lucrative market than what we have today.

March marked the first post-COVID/pre-COVID comparison, and the results were dramatic.

The drop in the number of listings was profound. In King County there were 54% fewer single-family homes on the market at the end of March than the same time a year ago. The Eastside had 68% fewer listings. There were just 216 homes for sale on the Eastside, which stretches from Issaquah to Woodinville. Extensive new investments there, including Amazon’s plan to add 25,000 jobs in Bellevue, will only increase demand for housing. North King County, which includes Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park had just 26 homes for sale. In Seattle, the 498 listings there represents a drop of 18% from a year ago. Despite the comparatively greater number of listings, Seattle still has only two weeks of available inventory. The situation was even more dire in Snohomish County. With the number of homes for sale down 68%, the county has just one week of inventory.

So why is inventory so low? The pandemic certainly has played a part. People now working from home have bought up properties with more space in more desirable locations. Nervousness and uncertainty about COVID compelled many would-be sellers to postpone putting their home on the market. Downsizers who may have moved into assisted living or nursing homes are staying in place instead. But there are other factors as well.

For more than a decade, less new construction has been built relative to historical averages, particularly in the suburbs. Interest rates have also been a factor. Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner noted, “I think a lot of the urgency from buyers is due to rising mortgage rates and the fear that rates are very unlikely to drop again as we move through the year, which is a safe assumption to make.” Homeowners who refinanced when rates were at record lows are staying in their homes longer, keeping more inventory off the market. And those same low interest rates have compelled many homeowners who bought a new home not to sell their previous one, but to keep it as a rental property.

While the number of listings tanked, the number of sales skyrocketed. That’s the recipe for soaring home prices. Housing prices here have been growing at the second-fastest rate in the nation for a full year. Nearly every area of King County saw double-digit price increases, with the exception of Seattle. In King County the median price for a single-family home in March was a record-high $825,000, up 15% from a year ago and an increase of 10% from February. The median home price topped $1 million for every city on the Eastside, where the overall median price surged 30% to $1,350,000, the highest median price ever recorded for the area. Seattle homes prices were also record-breaking, rising 4% to $825,000. Snohomish County prices set yet another all-time high as the median home price jumped 22% to $640,000.

The appeal of our area just keeps growing. For the second time, Washington took the No. 1 spot in the U.S. News Best States ranking – the first state to earn the top ranking twice in a row. The bottom line: the local real estate market is extremely competitive, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Successfully navigating today’s market takes a strong plan. Your broker can work with you to determine the best strategies for your individual situation.

The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.

EASTSIDE

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com

Local Real Estate News April 8, 2021

Seattle Experiences Second Highest Home Price Rise in the Nation

Across the nation, the coronavirus pandemic changed the way industries and individuals conducted their daily lives. In particular, the real estate market in Seattle overcame an initial slump at the onset of the pandemic, ultimately bouncing back to become one of the hottest markets in the nation.

Since 2019, home prices in our area have climbed 13.6% — the second-highest increase in the nation. Seattle wasn’t the only region to experience the surge, as new data indicates that home prices increased month-over-month by an average of 10.4% nationwide in December.

Th only city with a higher home price rise than Seattle in 2020 was Phoenix, which increased by 14.4%. San Diego was just behind Seattle, with an annual price rise of 13%. Even Chicago, which saw the slowest increase of the surveyed cities, had a gain of 7.7% over last year.

Many of these price increases have to do with incredibly low interest rates, which are encouraging more buyers to enter the market. Additionally, many companies are now offering remote work options, so buyers have a larger geographic radius in which to purchase a home.

Compounding the above is a general shortage of inventory in the region. This is causing buyers to compete with one another for the current available homes — further driving up prices and placing us firmly in a seller’s market.

This data comes after an unseasonably busy winter in which the housing market did not slow down at all. Real estate analysts and brokers are predicting continued high levels of activity in the market through spring.

 


This article was originally posted on KING 5 and GettheWReport.com

Local Real Estate News March 31, 2021

New Bellevue Projects Promise a Busy Future

It appears bustling Bellevue has an ever-busier future on the horizon. Already the site of a growing Amazon presence outside of Seattle, the city now has quite a few significant construction projects in the works, including new office space, residential towers and a huge mixed-use project.

Set among Amazon’s leased office buildings, a new luxury residential condo project promises to bring 274 new residences to the city. The 34-story tower, called ParqHouse, will significantly increase the number of condos available in both Bellevue and the Eastside at large. The project will include at least one penthouse, with other floorplans ranging from studios to 3-bedroom units. Asking prices for the condos have not been determined yet.

Downtown, a giant mixed-use project has been submitted for design review. The proposed project includes a total of 12 towers up to 25 stories tall, 7 of which would be residential.

Split between two lots, the project would include 60,000 square feet of office space, 300,000 feet of retail space and 1,940 residential units. The development also includes plans for a hotel, underground parking, anchor stores and an internal plaza.

Amazon is also expanding its presence in downtown Bellevue, having picked a development for its next major lease in the city. The new Amazon space will be a 25-story office tower called The Artise.

The Artise offers Amazon an additional 600,000 square feet of space, bringing the company’s total in Bellevue up to 6 million square feet either leased or in development. This lease is part of Amazon’s plan to add 25,000 jobs in Bellevue over the next few years.

The tower is scheduled to open in 2024, although the project has not broken ground yet.

 


This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com

Local Market Update March 10, 2021

Local Market Update – March 2021

Neither the snowstorm nor the increase in mortgage rates dampened buyer demand in February. Lack of inventory continues to be a frustration as there are way more prospective buyers than there are homes for them to buy. As a result, prices continued their upward climb.

While the number of homes for sale edged up, it was still far shy of demand. This is especially true of single-family homes. There were 41% fewer homes on the market in King County in February than the same time last year. In an indication of just how competitive the current market is, the entire Eastside ended the month with just 224 homes for sale. Inventory was even more scarce in Snohomish County where the entire county had just 283 homes for sale, a drop of 58% from a year ago. Condo shoppers have more options as the number of units on the market in King County increased 56% from last February.

With inventory so slim, competition is fierce. 57% of King County properties that sold in February sold over the list price. The median sale price paid was 9% over list price. Both are record highs. Competition doesn’t show signs of easing any time soon. A hike in interest rates is expected to only increase buyer urgency. An average rate of 3.02% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the week ending March 4 is the first time since July that the benchmark mortgage rate climbed above 3%.

The enormous imbalance between supply and demand sent single-family homes prices soaring throughout the region. In King County, the median home sold for $750,000, 11% higher than a year ago. Most areas in the county saw double-digit increases. Home prices on the Eastside jumped a whopping 28%. Seattle home prices were up 9%. In Snohomish County, the February $624,075 median price was up 21% from a year earlier and far surpassed the previous all-time high of $599,990 set in January.

With seller review dates, escalation clauses and multiple offers now the norm it’s more important than ever for buyers to work with their broker to create a strategy that balances their wants and needs with their budget.

The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.

EASTSIDE

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com