Local Market Update February 11, 2021

Local Market Update – February 2021

This winter’s real estate market is looking more like a typical spring market. Sales were up, competition was fierce and prices continued to rise.

Lack of inventory still presents a huge issue. At the end of January there were only 1,055 single-family homes on the market in all of King County, 33% fewer than a year ago. If that wasn’t tight enough, Snohomish County had only 298 single-family homes for sale, 63% fewer than a year ago. Condos remain a bright spot for buyers frustrated by the frenzied market. January saw a nearly 50% increase in the number of condos for sale in King County. However, the increase in inventory didn’t translate into a drop in price. The median condo price was flat for the county, up 10% in Seattle and up 7% on the Eastside. Those looking for a relative bargain should consider Southwest and Southeast King County where the median condo prices were $254,275 and $269,900 respectively.

The large imbalance between supply and demand sent prices higher. Home prices here are climbing at the second-fastest rate in the nation. The median price of a single-family home in King County was $725,000, a 15% jump from a year ago. Seattle home prices increased 10% to $791,471. Inventory on the Eastside was down 58%, sending the median home price soaring 29% to $1.15 million. Snohomish County saw prices rise 18% to $599,990, well surpassing its previous high of $575,000.

While low interest rates take some of the sting out of rising prices, multiple offers over asking price have become the norm and are expected to continue. The easing of COVID restrictions may add yet more competition. Both King and Snohomish counties have moved into Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington plan, which allows open houses to resume with up to 10 people socially distanced.

All signs point to this strong seller’s market continuing for some time. The person who represents you as a buyer can make the difference in owning a home or not. Brokers are advising buyers to create a plan that prioritizes their wish list and sets realistic expectations in this hyper-competitive 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 regarding the impact of COVID-19 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

For Your Home February 11, 2021

Modern Design Trends

Image source: Shutterstock

 

Modern design can tie your home together while making a statement. Getting to know the modern farmhouse, mid-century modern, and industrial design trends will help to determine which is best for your home.

Modern Farmhouse 

Bringing country living to wherever you call home, modern farmhouse is a style marked by sleek lines, vintage touches, and natural textures that still delivers a comfortable feel. Widespread use of the term “modern farmhouse” did not pick up steam until the mid-2010s, only gaining in popularity since.

In your home: 
  • Color: A defining characteristic of the modern farmhouse is a whitewashed palette, which offers a satisfying contrast to the use of natural wood. Cream is also a popular choice. Floral accents are typically used to add depth to the whitewashed backdrop.
  • Features: Exposed beams, antique items, and rustic décor form the makeup of a modern farmhouse-inspired dwelling. Barn lighting and gooseneck lamps are the most fitting lighting choices. Round out your modern farmhouse look with shiplap wherever you see fit, board-and-batten siding, and Shaker cabinets for your kitchen.

 

Mid-Century Modern 

A movement begun in—you guessed it—the middle of the twentieth century, mid-century modern (MCM) took shape in a post-war America that saw a migration to urban areas, thus influencing design of the era to be more mindful of smaller living spaces.

In your home: 
  • Philosophy: Mid-century modern is as much an artistic movement as a design trend. MCM designs are simple in form, emphasizing function and organic influences, and are meant for everyone to use. Consider these characteristics when planning your décor.
  • Color: The color palette most commonly associate with MCM is earthy tones. If you’re looking to add more pop but want to stay true to the earthy palette, experiment with pastels.
  • Furniture: Typical MCM design features in furniture include juxtaposing larger pieces with skinny legs, peg legs, the use of lighter-colored woods such as teak, and fun geometric shapes. Beloved favorites include credenzas, dressers, and egg chairs.

 

Industrial 

Inspired by warehouses, factories and unexpected materials such as shipping containers, Industrial design brings home the raw, hardwearing aesthetic typically associated with spaces like reclaimed yards, hangars, and ports. Customization is popular in Industrial design, and like mid-century modern, simplicity is emphasized.

In your home:
  • Color: The Industrial color palette is predominantly neutral. Texture is a more defining feature than color, which gives you flexibility when it comes to decorating. With neutral colors, it is easier to keep your home’s color palette aligned and complimentary.
  • Materials: How do you make your home feel like a warehouse? Materials go a long way in accomplishing this. Industrial go-to materials for furniture and beyond include wood, aluminum, copper, steel, stone, and tin. Avoid soft materials like plush that would take away from the hardworking feel inherent in Industrial.
  • A touch of nature: Due to its emphasis on recycled and reused materials, plant life and nature-centric accents are fitting compliments to Industrial design. Indoor plants, cactus, and flowers are popular items for sprucing up an Industrial space while adding an appropriately placed touch of color.

 

Although these trends vary in style and application, they all share a statement-making capability. When incorporating them into your home, know that any of these features will definitively shape the look and feel of your home.

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

For Your Home February 11, 2021

Your Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

Winter is a magical season to spend at home. We all want to be able to enjoy the shorter days and longer nights from the comfort of our homes while we watch the season change.

To truly enjoy this winter at home with peace of mind, you’ll want to complete a home maintenance checklist to prevent unexpected costs, ensure your family’s safety and warmth, and keep your home in the best shape for the winter season ahead.

 

1. Weatherproof Windows & Doors

 

One of the best preparatory measures you can take to keep the cold from infiltrating your home is to weatherproof your windows and doors. Any leaks or cracks could lead to a chilly household and increased heating costs. Either weatherstripping or caulking will do the trick for minor leakage issues, but for any severe problems you may want to consider a replacement.

 

2. Protect Your Pipes from Freezing

Burst pipes can be disastrous regardless of the season, but winter temperatures pose a greater risk than any other time of the year. Be sure to wrap interior pipes to provide them some insulation against the change in temperature. You’ll want to bring all hoses inside but remember to turn off your exterior water source before you do.

 

3. Prepare for a Winter Storm

Being fully prepared for the winter ahead includes completing both preventative home maintenance and disaster preparedness tasks. Keep a supply of flashlights and batteries handy in case a power outage should occur. If you have a fireplace, stock up on firewood so you’ll have plenty of fuel for your heat source. It’s best for your family to put together an emergency kit and evacuation plan so you’re prepared for any local weather emergencies.

 

4. Chimney Sweep and Fireplace Maintenance

 

We become more reliant on fireplaces, wood burning stoves, and chimneys to heat our homes during the winter. Accordingly, it’s crucial to prepare for the uptick in their usage. Clear out your air vents before your daily fires begin. When your fireplace is not in use, be sure to close the damper to save energy. Clogged chimneys can lead to house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Investing in a chimney sweep can save you money in the long run, while avoiding health scares.

 

5. Clean Out Your Gutters

 

After all the leaves, pinecones, pine needles, and other autumnal debris have fallen, it’s best to clean out your gutters in preparation for winter. By keeping your gutters clean you’ll avoid gutter damage from melted snow draining improperly. Make sure your downspouts are pointing away from your home’s foundation to prevent basement leaks and flooding.

 

6. Heating System Maintenance

Keeping up on your heating system’s efficiency is an integral part of winter home maintenance. If you use a furnace, be sure to clean out your air filters and ducts, making replacements as needed. Covering your HVAC system can help to prevent damage from any debris or moisture getting in. To protect against heat loss, seal your ducts with mastic tape or foil tape.

 

7. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

 

If you have ceilings fans in your home, there is a handy trick you can use to improve your home’s heating efficiency. By reversing the direction of your ceiling fan—running the blades in a clockwise direction—you’ll create a slight updraft, forcing warm air near the ceiling downward.

 

8. Bring Your Plants Inside

The winter season usually spells trouble for your potted plants. However, there are methods to keep them alive indoors through the winter months. You’ll want to provide continual air circulation, so keep a fan blowing in the direction of the plants. It’s best to mirror the conditions the plants will face outdoors, so you can afford to keep watering to a minimum. Since it is a harsher season, keep a close eye on your plants as the winter progresses.

 

After your checklist is completely crossed off, you’ll be able to kick back, relax, and enjoy your winter at home in comfort knowing your home is primed and ready for the winter season ahead.

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

The Gardner Report January 27, 2021

Q4 2020 Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

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

After the COVID-19-induced declines, employment levels in Western Washington continue to rebuild. Interestingly, the state re-benchmarked employment numbers, which showed that the region lost fewer jobs than originally reported. That said, regional employment is still 133,000 jobs lower than during the 2020 peak in February. The return of jobs will continue, but much depends on new COVID-19 infection rates and when the Governor can reopen sections of the economy that are still shut down. Unemployment levels also continue to improve. At the end of the quarter, the unemployment rate was a very respectable 5.5%, down from the peak rate of 16.6% in April. The rate varies across Western Washington, with a low of 4.3% in King County and a high of 9.6% in Grays Harbor County. My current forecast calls for employment levels to continue to improve as we move through the spring. More robust growth won’t happen until a vaccine becomes widely distributed, which is unlikely to happen before the summer.

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME SALES

❱ Sales continued to impress, with 23,357 transactions in the quarter. This was an increase of 26.6% from the same period in 2019, but 8.3% lower than in the third quarter of last year, likely due to seasonality.

❱ Listing activity remained very low, even given seasonality. Total available inventory was 37.3% lower than a year ago and 31.2% lower than in the third quarter of 2020.

❱ Sales rose in all counties, with San Juan County seeing the greatest increase. This makes me wonder if buyers are actively looking in more remote markets given ongoing COVID-19 related concerns.

❱ Pending sales—a good gauge of future closings—were 25% higher than a year ago but down 31% compared to the third quarter of 2020. This is unsurprising, given limited inventory and seasonal factors.

 

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME PRICES

❱ Home price growth in Western Washington continued the trend of above-average appreciation. Prices were up 17.4% compared to a year ago, with an average sale price of $617,475.

❱ Year-over year price growth was strongest in Lewis and Grays Harbor counties. Home prices declined in San Juan County which is notoriously volatile because of its small size.

❱ It is interesting to note that home prices were only 1% higher than third quarter of 2020. Even as mortgage rates continued to drop during the quarter, price growth slowed, and we may well be hitting an affordability ceiling in some markets.

❱ Mortgage rates will stay competitive as we move through 2021, but I expect to see price growth moderate as we run into affordability issues, especially in the more expensive counties.

 

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

❱ 2020 ended with a flourish as the average number of days it took to sell a home in the final quarter dropped by a very significant 16 days compared to a year ago.

❱ Snohomish County was again the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 15 days to sell. The only county that saw the length of time it took to sell a home rise compared to the same period a year ago was small Jefferson County, but it was only an increase of four days.

❱ Across the region, it took an average of 31 days to sell a home in the quarter. It is also worth noting that, even as we entered the winter months, it took an average of five fewer days to sell a home than in the third quarter of last year.

❱ The takeaway here is that demand clearly remains strong, and competition for the few homes available to buy continues to push days on market lower.

 

CONCLUSIONS

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 has clearly not been impacted by COVID-19, mortgage rates are still very favorable, and limited supply is causing the region’s housing market to remain incredibly active. Because of these conditions, I am moving the needle even further in favor of sellers.

2021 is likely to lead more homeowners to choose to move if they can work from home, which will continue to drive sales growth and should also lead to more inventory. That said, affordability concerns in markets close to Western Washington’s job centers, in combination with modestly rising mortgage rates, should slow the rapid home price appreciation we have seen for several years. I, for one, think that is a good thing.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

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

Give BackWindermere January 20, 2021

Windermere Offices Continue to Support Communities Through COVID-19 Pandemic

Windermere offices have continued to support their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, raising money for the Windermere Foundation, which has provided over $43 million in funding to support low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S. since 1989. Here are some highlights from the past holiday season.

 

Windermere Whatcom Donates 84 Thanksgiving Boxes

 

For over 20 years, Windermere Whatcom has donated Thanksgiving boxes to local school districts and organizations. These boxes contain all the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast, from sparkling cider and pumpkin pie to turkey roaster pans and a recipe book. The meals benefit families in need of a warm Thanksgiving meal. Agents at Whatcom’s five offices select the recipient organizations, then agents and staff are assigned items to fulfill depending on the number of meals needed. Keeping COVID-19 guidelines in mind, agents worked in small groups/shifts to pack the boxes of food and supplies on the day of delivery. In total, 84 Thanksgiving meals were donated on November 23 and 24, 2020.

 

Two men unpack a box of food donations for a Thanksgiving meal.

Picture L to R: Alex Stredicke & Ken Gustafson

 


 

Windermere Abode Supports Tacoma Rescue Mission

 

Every Friday since March of 2020, Windermere Abode in Tacoma, WA has helped the Tacoma Rescue Mission serve sandwiches and snacks. After speaking with Windermere agent Melo Hogan, Broker/Co-Owner of Windermere Abode Anne Jones learned that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization had been losing volunteers and needed to provide to-go meals for the community members they support. “The coolest thing about this program is we’ve invited our community to participate,” said Jones. “That’s how we’ve kept it going and literally have delivered thousands of sandwiches. We’ve had a few Fridays with two fully-loaded SUVs.”

 

A woman unpacks food donations from the back of a vehicle.

Pictured: Melo Hogan

 


 

Windermere Greenwood Donates $4,418 to WA-BLOC

 

In the summer of 2020, the agents and staff at Windermere Greenwood were looking for ways to support grassroots, Black-led organizations in underserved communities and youth. When they came across WA-BLOC (Building Leaders of Change), they jumped at the chance to support the organization. WA-BLOC works with students in South Seattle, igniting transformation and building leaders of change through revolutionary education and social justice leadership development. Understanding that the pandemic would impact students’ learning ability, the Greenwood office wanted to contribute to help make distanced learning more equitable. Totaling $4,418, their donations went towards purchasing laptops, wi-fi hotspots, school supplies, tutors, school lunches, and more.

 

A flyer showing Windermere Greenwood's $4,418 total raised for WA-BLOC.

Windermere Greenwood’s total amount raised in support of local organization WA-BLOC

 


 

Windermere Eastlake Gifts $5,000 to St. Francis House

 

Agents and staff at Windermere Eastlake in Seattle came together this holiday season to support low income and homeless families in their community through St. Francis House, an organization dedicated to serving the homeless population of King County. Eastlake donated $5,000 to the organization to distribute holiday gift packages to families including a new blanket, a new game, and a grocery gift card. Each child received a pair of socks, a new toy, and a book. So far, 375 families have received their gift.

 

 

A selection of toys distributed by St. Francis House through Windermere Eastlake’s donation

A selection of toys distributed by St. Francis House through Windermere Eastlake’s donation


To find out more about the Windermere Foundation or to make a donation, please visit the Foundation’s website here: Windermere Foundation

 

 


Local Market Update January 14, 2021

Local Market Update – January 2021

 

The end of 2020 marked a most unusual year, and the real estate market was no exception. While homes sales usually take a holiday during December, this year saw the continuation of an exceptionally strong and competitive market. New listings, closed sales and home prices all went up. With supply nowhere close to meeting demand, the strong market is expected to extend into 2021.

Inventory continues to be the biggest challenge for buyers. While King County had a 62% increase in new listings compared to a year ago, homes were snapped up quickly, leaving the county with just over two weeks of available inventory at the end of the month. The supply of single-family homes was down 35% year-over-year. Buyers considering a condo had far more choices. Inventory was up 45%, but at about five weeks of available units the condo market is still significantly short of the four month supply that is considered balanced. Inventory in Snohomish County was even more strained, with the month end showing only a one-week supply of homes. At the end of December there were only 373 homes on the market in all of Snohomish County, a 63% drop from a year ago. With inventory this tight, it’s more important than ever for buyers to work with their agent on a strategic plan for getting the home they want.

Low inventory and high demand continued to push prices upward. The median single-family home price in King County was up 10% over a year ago to $740,000. Price increases varied significantly by area. Seattle home prices were up 10%. The traditionally more affordable area of Southwest King County, which includes Federal Way and Burien, saw prices jump 15%. And on the Eastside, the most expensive market in King County, home prices soared 17% — the largest increase of any area in the county. Home prices in Snohomish County rose 12% to $573,495, just shy of its all-time high of $575,000.

With 2021 ushering in a new record low for interest rates, and inventory at its tightest in recent memory, 2021 is expected to remain a very competitive market.

Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner’s prediction: “As we move into 2021, I expect continued strong demand from buyers, but unfortunately, the likelihood that there will be any significant increase in inventory is slim. As a result, I believe prices will continue to rise, which is good news for sellers, but raises concerns about affordability. This, combined with modestly rising mortgage rates, could end up taking some steam out of the market but overall, I expect housing to continue being a very bright spot in the Puget Sound economy.”

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 regarding the impact of COVID-19 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 NewsThe Gardner Report December 24, 2020

Matthew Gardner’s 2021 Housing Forecast

 

Every Monday since the start of the pandemic, Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, has provided insights into the current state of the housing market through his video series “Mondays with Matthew.” Gardner’s latest release represents the last of his videos for 2020, while offering his 2021 forecast in the US housing market.

Throughout 2020, mortgage rates hit historic lows, largely due to the impact COVID-19 had on the housing market. These low rates drove already high demand for housing even higher, and Gardner does not predict mortgage rates will rise significantly in 2021.

His current forecast sees mortgage rates dropping to their lowest rate in the current quarter at 2.83%, and rising to about 3.08% by the fourth quarter of 2021.

As far as home sales for 2021, Gardner is predicting a large increase in home sales (he covers new construction separately). His forecast puts home sales up by 6.9%, a level that hasn’t been seen since 2006.

In conjunction with this, Gardner predicts a rise in housing inventory, as people who can work remotely move farther away from their offices, or those whose homes aren’t conducive to remote work seek out a better living arrangement.

But Gardner also pragmatically points out that a “mass exodus” completely away from urban centers is unlikely, as many workers may find themselves with a flexible blended arrangement of remote work and a few days in the office per week.

In terms of home prices, Gardner predicts they will continue to rise, but slowly. His 2021 prediction caps out at a 4.1% increase, partially because prices have already risen so dramatically this year that it may become an issue of affordability.

With the rising demand for housing inventory, Gardner predicts that new construction starts for single-family homes will rise by a sizeable 16.4%. This is great news for builders, and also for buyers, as increased inventory may help to alleviate the incredible demand the market has been experiencing.

Along with increased starts, Gardner is anticipating an increase of 18.7% in new home sales for 2021—again reaching a level the market hasn’t seen since 2006.

Finally, Gardner touched on the number of homes in forbearance. As of the end of November 2020, 2.76 million homeowners are in forbearance—but that number is down almost 2 million since May 2020, a drop of 42%.

Gardner does predict that foreclosures will rise in 2021, but he cautions that brokers shouldn’t panic. Though there is temptation to compare this situation with the housing bubble collapse of 2008, Gardner predicts that the actual number of foreclosures will be very mild in comparison.

When the pandemic began in March, the housing market overall was in a much healthier place than it was prior to 2008. Additionally, lenders now are more likely to cooperate with homeowners to help them stay in their homes, and homeowners also have the option to sell and get the equity out of their homes if necessary.

While no one can predict the future with complete accuracy, Gardner’s predictions give us a road map to work from as we approach the new year.

Read the full article on Windermere.com.

 


This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com

Local Market Update December 16, 2020

Local Market Update – December 2020

Nothing about 2020 is normal, and that includes real estate trends. The housing market typically slows significantly during the holiday season, but that is not the case this year. Buyer interest is strong, sales are up, and prices have followed suit.

A recent report ranked our area as the most competitive real estate market in the country, with 71% of homes selling within two weeks. While the number of new listings in November were up compared to a year ago, there just wasn’t enough inventory to meet the current surge in demand.

In King County there were 37% fewer single-family homes on the market – 1,621 homes this November vs. 2,592 a year ago. Inventory in Snohomish County is even more strained. At the end of the month there were just 416 homes for sale as compared to 1,204 a year ago, a 65% drop. Both counties had about a two week supply of homes at the end of November. A four month supply of inventory is considered balanced. Buyers in the market for a condominium in King County had much more options. Condo inventory was up 39% over last year.

The inventory-starved market sent home prices higher. The median single-family home price in King County was up 10% over a year ago to $730,500. Home prices in Snohomish County rose 14% to $566,000. In a survey of homebuyers looking for a home during Covid-19, 82% said they would go over budget to get their ideal home. Record-low interest rates have helped soften the blow of soaring prices a bit. According to Freddie Mac, rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to their lowest level, at 2.71%, for the 14th time this year.

With low inventory and high demand, buyers need to be ready to compete. That means being pre-approved or willing to offer cash, and working with an agent on a plan that includes counter-offers, escalation clauses and other strategies to help win the sale. As many consider working remotely long-term, our home has become more important to us than ever.

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 regarding the impact of COVID-19 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 Market Update November 12, 2020

Local Market Update – November 2020

The number of people who can work remotely may be changing the way we view our homes, but one trend has not changed. The local housing market in October remained unseasonably hot. And that doesn’t show signs of changing any time soon.

October saw continued low inventory and record-level sales, with the number of sales exceeding that of 2019 year-to-date.

While new listings are on the rise, they are being snapped up quickly and many homes are selling in a matter of days. In King County there were 38% fewer single-family homes on the market as compared to a year ago. Snohomish County had 59% fewer listings. A four-month supply of homes for sale is considered a balanced market, but King and Snohomish counties currently have less than one month of supply.

With supply unable to keep up with demand, home prices are escalating at double-digit rates. The median single-family home price in King County rose 14% over a year ago to $745,000. Prices in Snohomish County jumped 17% year-over-year to a record high of $579,972. About half the homes that closed in October sold for over the asking price as compared to about a quarter of the homes the same time last year.

The real estate market here is uncommonly resilient. Growing employment in major tech industries and an enviable quality of life have made our region one of the fastest growing areas in the country. With interest rates remaining at record lows, we may well skip the traditional slowing in the winter market altogether.

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 regarding the impact of COVID-19 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

The Gardner Report October 29, 2020

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update – Q3 2020

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.

 

REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Employment numbers in Western Washington continue to improve following the massive decline caused by COVID-19. For perspective, the area shed more than 373,000 jobs between February and April. However, the recovery has been fairly robust: almost 210,000 of those jobs have returned. Unemployment levels remain elevated; the current rate is 8.2%. That said, it is down from 16.6% in April. The rate, of course, varies across Western Washington counties, with a current low of 7.2% in King County and a high of 11.2% in Grays Harbor County. The economy is healing, but the pace of improvement has slowed somewhat, which is to be expected. That said, I anticipate that jobs will continue to return as long as we do not see another spike in new infections.

HOME SALES

  • Sales continued to improve following the COVID-19-related drop in the first quarter of the year. There were 25,477 transactions in the quarter, an increase of 11.6% from the same period in 2019, and 45.9% higher than in the second quarter of this year.
  • Listing activity remains woefully inadequate, with total available inventory 41.7% lower than a year ago, but 1.6% higher than in the second quarter of this year.
  • Sales rose in all but two counties, though the declines were minimal. The greatest increase in sales was in San Juan County, which leads one to wonder if buyers are actively looking in more isolated markets given ongoing COVID-19-related concerns.
  • Pending sales—a good gauge of future closings—rose 29% compared to the second quarter of the year, suggesting that fourth quarter closings will be positive.

 

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • Home-price growth in Western Washington rose a remarkable 17.1% compared to a year ago. The average sale price was $611,793.
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Mason, Island, and San Juan counties. Only one county saw prices rise by less than ten percent.
  • It was even more impressive to see the region’s home prices up by a very significant 9.4% compared to the second quarter of 2020. It is clear that low mortgage rates, combined with limited inventory, are pushing prices up.
  • As long as mortgage rates stay low, and there isn’t an excessive spike in supply (which is highly unlikely), prices will continue to rise at above-average rates. That said, if this continues for too long, we will start to face affordability issues in many markets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the third quarter of this year dropped two days compared to a year ago.
  • Snohomish County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 16 days to sell. All but two counties—Lewis and San Juan—saw the length of time it took to sell a home rise compared to the same period a year ago.
  • Across the region, it took an average of 36 days to sell a home in the quarter. It is also worth noting that it took an average of 4 fewer days to sell a home than in the second quarter of this year.
  • The takeaway here is that significant increases in demand, in concert with remarkably low levels of inventory, continue to drive market time lower.

 

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

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.

High demand, favorable interest rates, and low supply clearly point to a seller’s market in Western Washington. As such, I am moving the needle even more in favor of sellers.

As I suggested earlier in this report, although the market is remarkably buoyant, I am starting to see affordability issues increase in many areas—not just in the central Puget Sound region—and this is concerning. Perhaps the winter will act to cool the market, but something is telling me we shouldn’t count on it.

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

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