Local Market Update – April 2020

 

Windermere is focused on keeping our clients and our community safe and connected. We’re all in this together. Since the early days of COVID-19, our philosophy has been “Go slow and do no harm.” While real estate has been deemed an “essential” business, we have adopted guidelines that prioritize everyone’s safety and wellness.

Like everything else in our world, real estate is not business as usual. While market statistics certainly aren’t our focus at this time, we’ve opted to include our usual monthly report for those who may be interested. A few key points:

  • The monthly statistics are based on closed sales. Since closing generally takes 30 days, the statistics for March are mostly reflective of contracts signed in February, a time period largely untouched by COVID-19. The market is different today.
  • We expect that inventory and sales will decline in April and May as a result of the governor’s Stay Home order.
  • Despite the effects of COVID-19, the market in March was hot through mid-month. It remains to be seen if that indicates the strong market will return once the Stay Home order is lifted, or if economic changes will soften demand.

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.

Stay healthy and be safe. We’ll get through this together.

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

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Buying a Home, Local Market Update, Selling a Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Local Happenings: Social Distancing Edition (March & April)

With the cancellation of major local events and a statewide shelter in place order, now is a great time to find alternative ways to stay entertained and support the community while still keeping a safe distance.

Intentionalist recently shared a helpful roundup of 10 ways to support local small business owners and employees. Here are a few ways to stay productive while hunkering down.

Support Comic Con Creators

The postponement of Emerald City Comic Con left many artists, writers, cartoonists and creators who depend on income generated by convention sales in the lurch. To help mitigate the unexpected expense of covering travel costs, unsold merchandise, and lost sales, creators are holding flash sales and fundraisers. Local businesses have also put together pop-up shopping events and virtual shopping networks to help out. Check out this Geekwire roundup and pay a visit to some of the shops to support these independent artists, and considering supporting the Seattle arts community at large through donations or online shopping. This GoFundMe is a good place to start.

Order Takeout from Local Restaurants

Support the local food scene by ordering in. Delivery services like Postmates and Grubhub are elevating the experience with no-contact delivery options. While these apps are convenient, they can be an added expense for restaurants so, if you can, consider ordering takeout directly from the restaurant and picking it up yourself. (In light of the recent closure mandate, many restaurants are offering drive-thru or curbside pickup options, so you don’t even need to enter the restaurant.)

Donate to a Food Bank

Seattle-area food banks have been hit hard recently, particularly since many items commonly donated by local grocers have been consistently sold out. Food banks serve our most vulnerable populations, which is more important now with kids out of school and parents potentially out of work. You can donate food and bags as well as your time — volunteers are needed to help pack food bags and make home deliveries to those who can’t leave their homes. The South Seattle Emerald has published a list of ways to get involved HERE and you can use this MAP to find local food banks.

Donate Blood

Did you know it takes 1,000 donations per day to keep our blood supply stable? Bloodworks Northwest has declared a local blood supply emergency. Mobile blood drives make up almost 60% of our region’s supply, but many have been canceled due to the coronavirus. If you are healthy and able, you can donate blood directly at any of Bloodworks Northwest’s donor centers.

Join a Virtual Book Club

Connect with others and converse over a good book, all from the comfort of your home. The Stranger is hosting a coronavirus book club called The Quarantine Club. You can get all the details and read about the first book selection HERE. If this club isn’t the right fit, consider starting a book club of your own! Share your favorite selections with friends and foster conversation over social platforms.

Take a Hike

There’s no shortage of scenic hikes surrounding Seattle. From stunning parks with sweeping views right here in the city to breathtaking mountain peaks, there are plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Hiking is explicitly allowed with the new shelter in place order, as long as PROPER SOCIAL-DISTANCE is kept in the process. With that said, staying closer to home and going to urban parks on off hours to avoid crowds is advised. “Nature’s not closed, but staying closer to home is the best choice,” says Kindra Ramos, director of communications at the Washington Trails Association. Read more HERE

Catch a Concert Online

As the coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on the arts community, many venues are getting creative and streaming their services online. The Seattle Symphony is now streaming previous performances as well as new soloist performances on Facebook and YouTube. While many are turning to YouTube, there are other streaming services where you can catch a variety of live performances. Checkout The Verve for a handful of options. You can also take this opportunity to explore museums around the world from the comfort of your couch, thanks to these virtual tours.

 


This post is an edited version of the original that appears on GettheWReport.com

Posted on March 25, 2020 at 9:25 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Home Improvement Projects to Tackle if You’re Stuck at Home Social Distancing

Spring has sprung in Seattle — and so has the coronavirus (the cause of the illness called COVID-19). If working from home and practicing social distancing has left you feeling stuck and uninspired, consider rolling up your sleeves and tackling a home improvement project or two.

From the simplest updates to sensational additions, these projects can keep you busy, enhance your curb appeal, and give you more ways to enjoy your home when warmer weather arrives.

1. Install a new mailbox

The simplest and easiest update of all, installing a new (or updating an old) mailbox can add a pop of personality and amp up your curb appeal, where first impressions really count!

Consider painting your mailbox a new color, planting flowers around the base, or installing a smart mailbox to protect your deliveries.

2. Update your address display

Another quick and easy project, updating your address can add flair to your front door. This article from realtor.com offers plenty of crafty and creative ways to display your house numbers.

If you have an HOA, it’s a good idea to check with them first to know what (if any) limitations you might have.

3. Add a new railing to your porch

If your front porch is looking a little ho-hum or drab, a new railing can make a world of difference. For a natural feel, consider a classic wood-tone railing for a natural feel, or add a pop of visual interest with a colored railing. If you’re looking for more, check out the Chippendale railing (it’s currently a hot trend on HGTV).

4. Stain your deck

if your deck is looking a little shabby, one easy improvement is to stain it—to either change the color or just accentuate the wood grain. Staining is also good for your deck, and many builders recommend staining or sealing once a year.

If you don’t yet have a deck, building one could be a great new project to tackle before summer arrives. Plus, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, a new wooden deck will net you a 69% return on investment when you decide to sell.

5. Build a fire pit

Backyard fire pits are perfect for adding a cozy ambiance to your yard, and are certain to be a highlight of a weekend gathering (especially when you bust out those marshmallows).

This guide from realtor.com is a great resource if you want to DIY your new fire pit.

6. Upgrade your garden

Now’s the time to start planning your planting! Consider skipping the typical tulips or daisies, and investigate other greenery. Adding edible plants is a smart way to save money and indulge in the farm-to-table dining trend. Or you can build a butterfly garden, which is good for the environment. (Plus, what’s more beautiful than seeing butterflies flit around your yard?)

 


This article was first published on realtor.com by Jillian Pretzel.

And at GettheWReport.com

Posted on March 19, 2020 at 11:53 pm
Karen Prins | Category: For Your Home, Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , ,

Local Market Update – March 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has not yet dampened demand in the housing market. Traffic at open houses remains heavy. Buyers who had waited last year for a drop in prices have now seen several months of home prices increases. With demand far outstripping supply and record low interest rates, the market heading into spring looks hotter than ever.

EASTSIDE

Buyers that may have been in wait-and-see mode at the end of 2019 jumped off the fence in February. Pending sales (offers accepted but not yet closed) jumped 27%, snapping up already-tight inventory. 55% of homes on the market sold in 15 days or less. The median home price jumped 9% over a year ago to $985,000, an increase of $58,000 from the prior month. Development on the Eastside continues to surge and includes the recent groundbreaking for a 600-foot tower in Bellevue and a proposed 11-acre mixed-use project.

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

The tight housing market here got even tighter. There were 40% fewer homes on the market in King County in February than there were in January. The median home price rose 3% over the prior year to $675,000, up from $630,525 in January. With mortgage rates and the local unemployment rate both hitting record lows, demand isn’t likely to drop any time soon.

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

With just six weeks of available inventory, competition for homes in Seattle remains fierce. Multiple offers were the norm, and 34% of homes purchased in February sold for over the listing price. The median price for a single-family home in February was $730,500, unchanged from a year ago and up from $719,950 in January.

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

The numbers in Snohomish County tell the story. There were 42% fewer listings in February than a year ago, and 42% more pending sales. With inventory at under a month of supply, there just aren’t enough homes to meet demand. That scarcity translated into higher prices, with the median price of a single-family home rising 8% over a year ago to $515,000.

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Posted on March 12, 2020 at 10:48 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Buying a Home, Local Market Update, Selling a Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Designing your Home Office

Image Source: Canva

Working from home is an aspiration for many of us, but to do so effectively takes effort. A disorganized space at home can be just as troublesome as a hectic office. The most disciplined telecommuters will tell you that you need a structured routine and organization in order to be successful.

Having a designated workspace is one of the most important elements to your success when you make the switch to telecommuting. Even if you live in a small space, you need to find a balance between home and office. People who work from home often have a difficult time separating their work hours from their non-work hours because it’s so easy to keep at it late into the night. But maintaining a balance and shutting down the computer is important for overall wellbeing. What are some other must-haves for a successful home office? Here are the top five:

 

  1. Natural Light – Study upon study tells us that natural light is needed to boost productivity and mood. Make sure to set your desk up as close to a window as you can. If being near a window isn’t an option, a natural light lamp is the next best thing. It helps balance your body clock and leaves you feeling rested and refreshed.
  2. To-Do List or Planner – Start each day off by making a to-do list outlining what you need to get done before the end of the workday. Make sure to set a realistic time frame in which all of that should be completed, so you can check each one off the list and feel immense accomplishment once you’ve completed them all.
  3. Storage – If you have a big enough space, put in a large bookshelf where you can organize everything (think storage boxes). It reduces clutter and looks stylish. Using your walls and cabinetry is the most efficient use of space.
  4. Calendar – Many people tend to rely on digital calendars these days because of their convenience. When all of your devices sync together and pop up with reminders, you never have to worry about missing an appointment. However, many people find that it helps to keep a paper calendar handy too so you can easily view your whole month at a glance. Choose which options works best for you by playing with both options, or something in between and see which one lets you be more productive with the least amount of stress.
  5. Space for Inspiration – It doesn’t matter what field you work in, having a source of inspiration in your workspace is essential. Whether it’s a photo of your family, your dream car, or that vacation you’ve been dying to take, having that inspiration right in front of you provides a constant reminder of why you do what you do.

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

Posted on March 12, 2020 at 8:45 am
Karen Prins | Category: For Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Seattle Home Sellers See Some of the Highest ROI in the Nation

 

As the housing boom continued to roar across the country and home prices soared in 2019, median home sales profits and returns-on-investment (ROI) achieved record highs, according to an annual year-end report from ATTOM Data Solutions.

Western states and metropolitan areas, especially those on the coast, continue to reap the highest returns on home sales. (In the report, returns are expressed both as a dollar amount and as a percentage and are factored by analyzing the difference between the median sales price of homes and the median sales price of the previous sale of those same homes.) Seattle is comfortably situated in the top five of 220 metro areas surveyed nationwide with an average of 65.6% return on investment. Seattle sellers’ ROI is nearly double the new nationwide average.

The other metros with the highest home seller ROIs are: San Jose, CA (82.8%), San Francisco, CA (72.8%), Merced, CA (63.2%) and Salem, OR (62.1%).

Nationally, raw profits and ROI have improved for eight straight years. In 2019, the average home price gain and percent return on investment also reached a 13-year high. The average seller saw a home price gain of $65,500 on a typical sale, which represents a 34% return in investment compared to the original purchase price.

This rise in ROI may remain a trend locally as home prices continue to rise and the Puget Sound region is squeezed for inventory and the Seattle area remains a sellers’ market.

Read more from ATTOM on 2019 market trends here.

 


A version of this article was first published on realtor.com and GettheWReport.com

Posted on March 5, 2020 at 10:36 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Local Real Estate News, Real Estate Investing, Selling a Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Local Builder Brings New Townhome Communities to Bellevue & Kirkland

Bellevue-based builder Quadrant Homes has introduced two new communities in Kirkland’s Totem Lake neighborhood and Bellevue’s Spring District. Featuring rooftop entertainment spaces, plenty of windows for natural light, and the latest home tech (including electric vehicle charging and whole-home voice control), these exciting new communities are sure to satisfy buyers.

 

Minutes from The Village at Totem Lake, the Lake Washington School District, and Google and Tableau campuses, the Vareze community promises convenient access to work and play plus open floor plans, in-home tech offerings and community spaces. Select floor plans are now available with more options coming soon.

 

 

 

Debuting in March 2020, the Lario community will be part of Bellevue’s Spring District, surrounded by beautiful parks, shopping and plenty of restaurants. Ranging from 2 to 4 bedrooms, each residence is complete with a 2-car garage and the community boasts its own park and rooftop entertainment spaces.

 

These townhomes offer buyers proximity to plentiful amenities and transit opportunities — from highways to walking trails and the future light rail stations. In booming Eastside neighborhoods where inventory is already low, these communities are sure to be welcome additions!

 

Reachout it you want to view these beautiful homes! karen@karenprinsrealestate.com 

 


A version of this article was first published on 425 Business and GettheWReport.com

Posted on February 27, 2020 at 10:32 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Buying a Home, Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

5 Cool New Smart Home Gadgets from CES 2020

An international springboard for consumer tech, the CES conference this year did not disappoint, with plenty of new technologies, gadgets galore and even innovative food products (plant-based Impossible pork, anyone?).

A veritable smorgasbord of smart home tech was on full display for every space, from garages and walkways to under-sink cabinets and showerheads. Here are seven new smart home products that caught our attention:

KOHLER SMART SHOWERHEAD WITH SPEAKER

Kohler offers a range of high-tech shower speakers, from basic bluetooth to Amazon-Alexa-enabled. The luxurious showerhead option has a magnetic docking system that holds the speaker — crafted with Harmon Kardon audio tuned to cancel out water noise — right in the center.

BOSCH FRIDGE WITH FOOD RECOGNITION

We’ve all lost food containers to the depths of our refrigerators. While reducing food waste isn’t the top goal for Bosch’s Home Connect Fridge, it’s inventory abilities can certainly help. In partnership with Chefling — a recipe planning app — this fridge keeps track of what you have on hand and can recommend recipes so nothing goes to waste.

LG ThinQ Washing Machine

Working to make your weekly washing a little easier (on you and your water bill), the ThinQ washing machine is equipped with AI that can sense the type of fabric and automatically determine the best cycle for your clothing. As an added bonus, if you have the compatible dryer, the machines can communicate and share the optimal drying settings too.

HUB FREE SMART SWITCHES (THAT DON’T NEED A NEUTRAL WIRE)

GE Lighting is swinging for the fences with it’s smart home lighting lineup — from color-changing bulbs to motion-sensing switches. It’s latest offering includes three-wire and hub-free switches that are available in 5 different designs, are well-priced, include dimming and motion-sensing functionalities. Most impressively, only need three wires to connect (line, load, and ground), making them an excellent option for older homes.

BALLIE ROLLING BUTLER

Unlike Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, this AI assistant from Samsung is on the move. It can navigate your home and interact with you and other smart home devices. Like a rolling butler, it can do everything from dim lights to active your Roomba. Outfitted with a camera, Ballie (and you) can keep eyes on what goes on around the house.

 


This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com

Posted on February 26, 2020 at 10:00 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Local Market Update – February 2020

New jobs and low interest rates continue to fuel the housing market boom. While January is traditionally a slower month for activity, the new year saw steady buyer demand. With the number of sales exceeding new listings, all indicators point to a strong spring market.

EASTSIDE

The tech industry on the Eastside continues to grow rapidly. Microsoft and Alibaba both have significant expansions underway. Amazon expects to increase its workforce in Bellevue to 15,000 in the next few years, a sevenfold increase from today. As the economy continues to grow, inventory keeps being squeezed. There were 47% fewer single-family homes on the market in January than the year prior. Home prices have been stabilizing for some time, fluctuating slightly from month to month. In January the median home price slipped 2% over a year ago to $892,000.

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

The number of single-family homes on the market in King County was down nearly 44% from a year ago. That lack of inventory has resulted in more multiple offers and the return of review dates, where sellers identify a date to review all offers. Strong competition for a small supply of homes boosted the median home price 3% over the prior year to $630,525.

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

The jobs outlook in Seattle for 2020 remains robust, and demand for homes continues to outstrip supply. Traffic at open houses in January reflected that demand, with one central Seattle homes priced in the $1.2 million range drawing more than 300 visitors. Home prices in the city have been relatively stable for the past 12 months. That remained the case in January where the median price for a single-family home inched up 1% over last year to $719,950.

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

With 35% less inventory than last January, competition among buyers in Snohomish County is fierce and multiple offers have become the norm. The median price of a single-family home soared 12% over a year ago to $509,950. Home prices have been playing catch up, increasing at a much faster pace over the past year than King County. While the prices gap has closed, the median price here is still nearly 20% less than King County.

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Posted on February 17, 2020 at 10:51 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Local Market Update | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Kick-Starting a Kitchen Remodel

Image Source: Canva

Ask a homeowner which room they would most like to improve, and most will point to the kitchen – the starting point for every meal and the heart of the home.

Ask those same people why they don’t move forward with a kitchen remodel, and many will say the project seems so overwhelming they don’t know where to start. If your kitchen needs an upgrade, here are some step-by-step suggestions to get you started.

 

Gather your thoughts

The steps that follow will all progress much easier if you take time beforehand to form a strong opinion about the desired look and layout of your new kitchen.

 

Start by reviewing kitchen magazines and photo-heavy kitchen remodeling guides and/or websites. Compiling clippings and printouts in a notebook helps you refine your vision. Clip or print the photos that capture your imagination, add notes, and draw circles and arrows around the things you like most.

 

Once you have a clearer vision of what you want, search online for better examples and new solutions, if necessary. If you live with a significant other, share your ideas with them and don’t allow yourself to become too committed before getting buy-in from them. Contractors and sales associates will expect a unified front.

 

Focus on the flow

Another major factor you’ll want to consider is how your new kitchen will be used, and by whom:

 

  • Do you want to cook with others?
  • Do you want family and guests to gather in the space while you cook?
  • Do you want to serve meals in the kitchen?
  • Do you want to display your dishware?
  • Where would you like things stored for maximum efficiency?

 

Imagine yourself happily cooking and entertaining in your new kitchen, then note the key elements necessary to make those dreams a reality. Having a list of your desired kitchen features and storage needs will help ensure your plan meets your vision.

 

Determine your budget

According to the annual Remodeling Magazine survey of costs, a “midrange,” “minor” kitchen remodel will cost homeowners living on the West Coast about $23,000. Those same folks can expect to pay about $70,000 for a midrange “major” kitchen remodel. Determine what you can afford before you start work to ensure that your vision is within reach, or to help prioritize what’s most critical.

 

What to do with the cabinets

Replacing the cabinets is one of the most expensive improvements you can make in a kitchen remodel (typically consuming 20 to 40 percent of the overall budget, according to Architectural Digest).

 

Consider refacing instead. This can include one of the following: 1) Installing completely new cabinet doors and drawer fronts or 2) installing new wood or laminate veneer over the existing cabinet and drawer fronts or 3) simply refinishing the existing cabinet and drawer fronts.
Shopping for contractors

The contractor you choose will determine much of the cost, the pace of your project, the amount of disruption, the final results, and your level of satisfaction. So be thorough in your search:

 

  • Ask friends and family for referrals and advice.
  • Interview at least three of the leading prospects in-person.
  • Ask to see samples of past work.
  • Look for someone who complements your operating style (similar personality and communication style).
  • Once you’ve narrowed your choice to one or two, ask to speak with a few past clients.

 

You’ll be tempted to latch onto the first contractor who gets rave reviews from a friend or family member. But remember: You and your project are unique, and it’s worth the time and effort to be rigorous in your search.

 

Selecting appliances

If you’re planning to replace appliances, here are three factors you’ll want to consider:

 

Finish – Stainless steel is still the most popular option, but beware: smudges, fingerprints, water spots, and streaks will be obvious. Black stainless steel has a warmer feel and is better at hiding spots.

 

Extended warranty – According to Consumer Reports, extended warranties are hardly ever worth it because today’s appliances are so reliable. And if something does fail, it’s often less expensive to just pay for the repair.

 

Unbiased testing and reviews – Before making an appliance purchase, use the information resources available through Consumer Reports.

 

A final note

Moving walls and extending your home’s foundation are both very expensive options. If your kitchen plans call for these architectural renovations, perhaps you’ve outgrown your home and need something larger (with an already-improved kitchen).

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

Posted on February 5, 2020 at 9:50 pm
Karen Prins | Category: For Your Home, Selling a Home | Tagged , , , , ,