The Gardner Report – Q2 2020 Western Washington

 

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

It appears as if the massive COVID-19 induced contraction in employment that Washington State — along with the rest of the nation — experienced this spring is behind us (at least for now). Statewide employment started to drop in March, but April was the real shock: total employment dropped almost 460,000 between March and April, a decline of 13.1%. However, this turned around remarkably quickly, with a solid increase of 52,500 jobs in May. Worthy of note is that, in May alone, Western Washington recovered 43,500 of the 320,000 jobs that were lost in the region the prior month. Although it is certainly too early to categorically state that we are out of the woods, the direction is positive and, assuming we respect the state’s mandates regarding social distancing and mask wearing, I remain hopeful that Washington will not have to re-enter any form of lockdown.

 

HOME SALES

  • There were 17,465 home sales during the second quarter of 2020, representing a drop of 22.2% from the same period in 2019, but 30.6% higher than in the first quarter of this year.
  • The number of homes for sale was 37% lower than a year ago, but was up 32% compared to the first quarter of the year.
  • Given COVID-19’s impacts, it’s not surprising that sales declined across the board. The greatest drops were in Whatcom and King counties. The smallest declines were in Grays Harbor and Cowlitz counties.
  • Pending sales — a good gauge of future closings — rose 35.7% compared to the first quarter of the year, suggesting that third quarter closings will grow as well.

 

 

 

HOME PRICES

 

  • Home-price growth in Western Washington rose by a relatively modest 3.5% compared to a year ago. The average sale price in the second quarter was $559,194.
  • Compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Grays Harbor County, where home prices were up 14.3%. Clallam County also saw a double-digit price increase.
  • It was interesting to note that prices were up a significant 6.6% compared to the first quarter. This suggests that any concern regarding negative impacts to home values as a function of ​    COVID-19 may be overblown.
  • I will be watching for significant price growth in less urbanized areas going forward. If there is, it may be an indication that      COVID-19 is affecting where buyers are choosing to live.

 

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the second quarter of this year matched the second quarter of 2019.
  • Across the entire region, it took an average of 40 days to sell a home in the second quarter. I would also note that it took an average of 14 fewer days to sell a home than in the first quarter of this year.
  • Thurston, King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties were the tightest markets in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 17 days to sell. All but two counties, Grays Harbor and Cowlitz, saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop compared to the same period a year ago.
  • Market time remains well below the long-term average across the region. This is due to significant increases in demand along with the remarkably low level of inventory available.

 

 

 

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.

What a difference a quarter makes! Given that demand has reappeared remarkably quickly and interest rates remain historically low, it certainly remains a seller’s market and I don’t expect this to change in the foreseeable future.

The overall housing market has exhibited remarkable resilience and housing demand has rebounded faster than most would have expected. I anticipate demand to remain robust, but this will cause affordability issues to remain as long as the new construction housing market remains muted.

 

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


Posted on July 25, 2020 at 12:30 am
Karen Prins | Posted in Local Market Update, Local Real Estate News, The Gardner Report | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Local Market Update – July 2020

While our lives are very different than they were a year ago, the local real estate market has recovered to 2019 levels. Record low interest rates are helping spur demand. Sales were up, home prices increased and multiple offers were common.

  • The number of pending sales, a measure of current demand, was higher in June than for the same period a year ago.
  • The supply of homes on the market remains very low, with just a month of available inventory. When inventory is this low, quick sales over full price are common. That was the case in June when about 40% of homes sold for more than the asking price.
  • Home prices in King County rose 4% over a year ago. Snohomish County home prices increased 5%.
  • More sellers put their homes on the market. While total inventory remains low, the number of new listings in June was similar to the same time last year.

The monthly statistics below are based on closed sales. Since closing generally takes 30 days, the statistics for June are mostly reflective of sales in May. 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


Posted on July 14, 2020 at 12:02 am
Karen Prins | Posted in Local Market Update, Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Reopening Real Estate, the Right Way.

 

As King County enters Phase 2 of reopening, residential real estate services providers must follow a strict set of rules. These control how brokers may conduct business inside and outside their offices and homes for sale (listings).

Windermere has developed protocols for reopening that meet or exceed all of the state requirements. From the beginning of the shutdown, we have lived by the mantra “Go slow, do no harm.” This philosophy remains firmly in place during the current reopening phase.

Staying Safe: Inside a Listing

Pete Richmond, owner of Windermere’s Greenwood office, discussed how brokers and their vendors must follow strict guidelines when inside a listed home. “For safety reasons, we can’t allow more than three people – including ourselves – inside a listing at once,” Richmond said. He noted that all visitors must observe social distancing guidelines and that all activities inside a listing must take place by appointment only. “So we can’t host open houses, other than by virtual means like live-streaming,” he added.

During Phase 2, brokers and their vendors must wear face coverings at all times when inside a listing. Richmond pointed out that Windermere brokers are encouraged to provide masks, gloves, booties and hand sanitizer to each vendor or client entering a listing.

“Normally we’re required to leave a business card in every home we preview,” Richmond said, explaining that this obligation has been suspended during COVID-19. “We’re also no longer traveling in the same car as clients or colleagues,” he added.

Staying Safe: In the Office

Windermere offices in King County have moved to reopen and are operating under a strict set of guidelines that brokers and staff must follow.

Deanne Wilson, co-owner of Windermere East Inc., and Laura Smith, co-owner of Windermere Co., used the state’s Safe Start guide to establish a reopening plan for their 12 offices. “We’re doing everything possible to keep everyone safe by following the protocols established by the state,” Wilson said.

Windermere’s reopened offices have implemented numerous rules, including restrictions on the amount of people allowed inside at any one time. While staff are permitted in the office to perform essential functions, employees rotate between being onsite and working from home. Total occupancy may not exceed 50% during Phase 2. Visitors must have appointments to enter the office and must limit visits to 30 minutes.

Brokers and staff must observe social distancing at all times. They also must wear face coverings when entering and leaving the office, while in common areas, and whenever not working alone. Windermere kitchens are closed, office entry is required through the primary entrance only, and smaller conference rooms where social distancing is not possible have been closed.

Windermere offices are providing masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to brokers, staff, and the limited number of guests who enter. Many offices have installed sneeze guards to protect front office personnel. They have also installed sanitizing stations at entry points and in common areas. “We’ve even rearranged furniture to encourage social distancing,” Wilson said.

 


This post originally appeared on the GettheWReport.com Blog


Posted on July 1, 2020 at 12:37 am
Karen Prins | Posted in Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Local Market Update – June 2020

 

As we move to the next phase of reopening, life feels like it’s slowly inching back towards normal. The same is true in real estate. Statistics on home sales in May provided the first true picture of the effects of COVID-19. Those reports confirmed the incredible strength and stability of the local real estate market.

  • The Stay Home order, as expected, continued to impact the number of sales. However, the market is starting to move its way towards more normal activity. Pending sales, a measure of current demand, have risen every week since April.
  • The slight drop in median closed sale price is a result of a proportionately larger number of lower priced homes selling than is normal. It should not be interpreted as a decrease in individual home value.
  • There were significantly fewer homes for sale in May than the same time last year. With less than a month of available inventory, competition among buyers was intense. Bidding wars and all-cash offers were common.

The monthly statistics below are based on closed sales. Since closing generally takes 30 days, the statistics for May are mostly reflective of sales in April. 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. As we adapt to new phases of reopening, know that the safety of everyone remains our top priority.

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 June 11, 2020 at 11:23 pm
Karen Prins | Posted in Local Market Update, Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Windermere Insights: How COVID-19 is Really Impacting Local Real Estate

 

The challenges presented by COVID-19 have been felt locally by every home buyer, seller and real estate broker. Residential real estate, which was moving at breakneck speed through February, came to a screeching halt for two weeks in March after the initial Stay Home order was implemented.

As soon as Governor Inslee declared real estate an essential business, the engines started to rev again. Despite job losses and a nosedive in general consumer confidence and spending, home buyers started to jump back into the market. Theories abound about why this could happen in the middle of a pandemic:

  • With some exceptions, our local tech sector has generally performed well during COVID-19 and its employees may feel reasonably insulated from the worst of the economic fallout. For some, their stock options may have actually increased in value during the worst of the coronavirus.
  • Many buyers were already feeling the squeeze of low housing inventory and the defeat of losing out in multiple-offer situations. Some likely saw the lower competition during the shutdown as an opportunity to finally gain a foothold.
  • Mortgage rates in the early stages of the shutdown dropped to historic lows, with some 30-year fixed loans carrying percentage rates in the low threes.
  • Renters and homeowners with sustained income security found themselves suddenly doing everything from home – working, schooling, exercising – which may have motivated them to pursue a change in space, moving from dreamers to active buyers.
  • Lots of real estate “window shoppers” suddenly had a lot more time on their hands and spent hours perusing eye-candy listings online and watching more HGTV than ever, accelerating their property lust and their entry into the buyer pool.

Some of these theories have metrics behind them and some remain just theories. Regardless of the motivation, buyers are back “out” in force, touring prospective homes online, via livestream video with a broker or pre-produced 3D tours and videos. Brokers are showing them homes in person too – while following many safety precautions. Because of this strong buyer interest, prospective sellers are hearing from their brokers that now may be a good time to list.

For weeks now, we have seen multiple offers on homes in popular neighborhoods. Brokers, for whom business was put on hold at the end of March, are as busy as at any other point this year. Though the new normal is still not completely normal, the market in many neighborhoods and price points seems to be skipping along as if it were.

To learn how various sectors of our local real estate market are performing during COVID-19, we asked Windermere experts from Seattle and the Eastside what they are seeing.

Real Estate Across Seattle

Laura Smith, co-owner and principal broker of Windermere Real Estate Co., which operates multiple real estate offices in Seattle, has been busy helping brokers ramp up quickly and navigate a hefty transaction load along with new protocols for listing and showing homes. “It’s been a total whirlwind,” she said. “The market went from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.”

Smith explained that out of nine MLS areas in the city of Seattle, seven had less housing stock (measured as months of inventory) than what was available in May 2019, and the other two areas had the same inventory levels as last year. She noted that Seattle’s pending home sales during Week 3 of May already had reached 95% of the transaction count from the same week in 2019.

“Right now buyers want in,” Smith said, “and inventory numbers favor sellers.” Prices, as a result, have “stayed strong,” according to Smith, even in the midst of a health-related shutdown.

Bouncing Back on the Eastside

According to Matt Deasy, President of Windermere Real Estate / East, Inc., the volume of business has bounced back quicker than expected and brokers are busy helping buyers and sellers while following new practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“After reentering the market, buyers are finding the competition as fierce as it was before COVID-19,” Deasy said. His analysis shows that while Eastside pending sales are still down from a year ago, by Week 2 of May they were at 73% of last year’s figure from the same week. “Each week we are seeing the market steadily catch up to last year,” Deasy observed, “and I think it will soon head north of 2019 weekly transaction yields.”

Deasy pointed out that low Eastside housing supply is a challenge for buyers rushing back in to the market. “There is so little for sale” he said, noting that of the Eastside’s eight MLS areas, all but one had extremely low levels of inventory. “In fact,” Deasy continued, “three Eastside areas have a month or less supply of homes.” As a result, he predicts that “prices in popular neighborhoods will continue to climb” for the foreseeable future.

The Luxury Market

Patrick Chinn, owner of Windermere Real Estate Midtown, regularly works with luxury brokers and their clients. He observed that the luxury market was proceeding at a seasonally appropriate pace prior to the shutdown but has appeared a little slower to come back online as restrictions on real estate lifted. “Luxury sellers are typically not in a rush,” Chinn noted, “and the safety considerations of listing a home during COVID-19 may have delayed” their entry into the market.

Due to their high net worth, luxury buyers on the other hand may have been “less adversely impacted by the very real economic impacts of the shutdown,” Chinn said. But he also observed that fluctuations in the stock market usually make for “a restless luxury market, despite greater potential access to capital.” Chinn expects the pace of new high-end transactions and inventory to remain below what it was pre-shutdown, at least until there’s a clearer economic picture in sight.

Chinn did note that if a singular property is listed during an economic downturn such as the one we now find ourselves in, there can still be great urgency by luxury buyers to purchase. He gave as an example a Medina property listed during the topsy-turvy days just before the shutdown that quickly went under contract at its asking price of $11.75 million. “Iconic homes on iconic streets will still generate lots of enthusiasm, even during a downturn,” Chinn said.

He reported that one of his brokers went full speed ahead to list a one-of-a-kind beachfront property in Magnolia. Even during the lingering impacts of COVID-19, “there’s no time like the present for listing incredible homes,” Chinn explained.

Continuing New Construction

Joe Deasy, co-owner of Windermere Real Estate / East Inc., says that the early phase of the shutdown created significant waves for residential builders. Initially both the building and listing/showing of all residential new construction projects were stopped due to the Stay Home order.

As builders start building again and brokers start showing finished units, “the early pace will naturally be a bit slower,” Deasy said. He explained this as a result of builders needing to rehire furloughed workers and buyers’ agents implementing safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“I expect things to accelerate pretty quickly as we move forward,” Deasy predicted. His reason? “There’s so little inventory out there, both new construction and resale,” he explained. “The product that is available looks pretty attractive right now, since it’s brand new and no one’s ever lived in it.”

Deasy remains positive about the region’s new construction market. He pointed out that leading into the Stay Home closure, Windermere’s King County new construction business was through the proverbial roof. “Even factoring in the shutdown, our year-to-date unit sales are up 41% over last year,” he noted, “and our sales volume is already at $700 million.”

Looking ahead, Deasy predicts that demand for new construction homes will remain strong and that supply will have the biggest impact on the sector’s overall market performance. “Low inventory may influence 2020 sales more than the shutdown,” he explained, “which, all things considered, was relatively brief.”

 

This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com


Posted on May 29, 2020 at 12:06 am
Karen Prins | Posted in Local Market Update, Local Real Estate News | 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 | Posted in For Your Home, Local Real Estate News | 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 | Posted in 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 | Posted in Buying a Home, Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Matthew Gardner – Will There Be A Recession in 2020?

Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, answers the most pressing question on everyone’s minds: Will there be a recession in 2020? Here’s what he expects to see.

Originally posted in on Windermere.com’s Economics 101 Videos and Market News by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate


Posted on January 23, 2020 at 10:01 pm
Karen Prins | Posted in Local Real Estate News, Real Estate Investing, The Gardner Report | Tagged , , , ,

A Star is Reborn: Iconic Seattle Macy’s Star to Return in Time for the Holidays

It looks like the iconic downtown Seattle holiday star will be back this year for at least one more time. Sources say a local sign company has been hired to repair and restore the 62-year-old holiday decoration that has graced the old Bon Marche (or, more recently, Macy’s) department store at the corner of 4th Avenue and Pine Street since the 1950s. Workers have been visible on the roof of the building since earlier this week.

When Macy’s announced in September that the store would close in early 2020, it was also revealed that the old star was in disrepair and would not be installed this year. A Macy’s spokesperson said that new owners of the building would display a “reimagined” star next year.

Multiple KIRO Radio listeners had contacted the station when news first broke hoping to learn more about the condition of the star and the feasibility of it being repaired in time for this year’s holiday season. In the past several weeks, Wendy James, daughter of late star designer Bob James, launched a Facebook page and began a campaign to bring the star back.

No details have been confirmed, but it looks like the old star — repaired and refurbished — will be part of the traditional tree-lighting and holiday parade scheduled to take place at Westlake Park on Friday, Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving.

This was originally posted on mynorthwest.com by Feliks Banel, and again on GettheWReport.com


Posted on November 26, 2019 at 1:50 pm
Karen Prins | Posted in Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , ,