While daily life may seem unpredictable, the local real estate market remains extremely stable. Activity in September acted more like the traditional peak spring market with home sales soaring and prices hitting record highs. Inventory remains very tight and new listings are selling quickly in every price range.
There just aren’t enough homes on the market to meet demand. King County had about half the inventory of a year ago. Snohomish County had 63% fewer available homes. On the other hand, the number of condos on the market in King County jumped by 24% over last September. Brokers attribute the flood of new inventory to COVID remote workers looking to trade their in-city condo for more living space. Despite the increase in inventory, condo prices rose 8% in September and pending sales — the best indicator of current demand — shot up 36% over the same period last year.
The slim supply of single-family homes means bidding wars and all-cash offers were the norm, driving prices to record highs. King County saw the third consecutive month of record-setting values. The median home price hit $753,600 in September, a 14% jump over last year. Prices in Snohomish County soared 16% from a year ago to $569,997, just shy of its all-time high of $575,000. For both counties, half the homes sold for over list price in September as compared with just a quarter of the homes a year ago.
The market doesn’t show signs of cooling off any time soon. In September the greater Northwest area saw the highest number of transactions since June 2018. Pending sales were up 32% in King County and 29% in Snohomish County. Interest rates continue to be at historic lows. With the area posting some of the fastest population growth in the country, expect the market to stay unseasonably hot.
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.
This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com
Across Lake Washington from Seattle, quiet Kirkland is in for a bustling future. Prior to the pandemic, the city was experiencing growth as it worked to accommodate 8,361 new housing units and 22,435 new jobs by 2035, averaging out to about 363 housing units and 975 jobs per year. Even with the pandemic in mind, Kirkland is preparing for a growth spurt.
The cause of this exponential growth? Everything from continued investment from businesses like Google, new construction projects and the annexation of land from nearby Finn Hill, Juanita and Kingsgate. The result is a population increase of 82 percent between 2011 and 2019, and a sizeable increase in land area thanks to the newly incorporated areas.
To accommodate a growing population and increasing job opportunities in the area, Kirkland is also developing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that will include a new station in the city which will serve the greater I-405 corridor. The station will also allow for transit-related development and new construction within a half-mile radius of the station. Currently, the area includes multi-family residences, schools, parks and commercial/retail and office spaces.
One of the other notable new projects includes the completion of the Village at Totem Lake. The 26-acre urban lifestyle village has been under construction since 2016, but the development plans to wrap up by the end of this year. The Village includes commercial tenants such as Cinemark, Whole Foods and Nordstrom Rack, while the nearby Aura Totem Lake apartments have 202 housing units available, with two more complexes to be completed by spring 2021.
Another developing property, Kirkland Urban, is a mixed-use project on 11.5 acres in downtown Kirkland. The project caught the attention of Google, who purchased most of the property for $435.7 million in 2019, and has now added 1.1 million square feet of office space in the city. Google already had offices in the area, and during the pandemic many of its employees will continue to work from home. Additional businesses in the area will include restaurants, bars, shopping and more housing at the recently-opened Uptown Apartments.
Thanks to its rapid growth, Kirkland is now more committed than ever to the “Innovation Triangle” it forms with Bellevue and Redmond. Together, the three cities have formed an attractive hub for tech businesses and workers alike, as they foster improved commutes, residential areas, job opportunities and positive growth.
Please feel free to reachout with any questions you have!
As the pandemic drags on, many of us are continuing to struggle while working from home in less than ideal conditions. Whether it’s the lack of an actual desk, or the distractions of kids, pets or even the dishes you meant to do last night, it can be difficult to stay focused during your working hours.
Luckily, office space designer Autonomous has created the home office of your dreams — and they’ll deliver it right to your door.
Comfortingly titled the “Zen Work Pod,” this portable office space promises to create a calm, organized workspace free from distractions. Complete with a SmartDesk 2 – Home Office, a Kinn Chair and plenty of shelves, the Zen Work Pod is your office away from the office.
Floor-to-ceiling tempered glass walls, a high sloped ceiling and pre-installed lighting fixtures ensure that you’ll have plenty of breathing room and space for your creativity to flow. But the Zen Work Pod is more than just a temporary solution. Built with sustainable wood, strong aluminum and tempered glass, the pod can handle almost any weather, no matter where you choose to place it.
Not only will Autonomous deliver just about anywhere in the U.S., they’ll also install the Zen Work Pod for you at no extra charge. The pod’s lightweight and innovative design requires no in-ground fixtures, meaning it can be installed on just about any flat surface — including concrete, grass, gravel or soil.
This minimalistic paradise can also function as more than a simple office space. The surprisingly versatile design makes the pod perfect for everything from a personal yoga studio or music room to a backyard bar or reading room.
Normally retailing around $14,900, early-bird subscribers can purchase the pod for as little as $5,400 — practically a steal.
So if you’ve got the working-from-home blues and a backyard begging for a new addition, the Zen Work Pod could be your ticket to a more tranquil workspace.
Check it out for yourself here.
This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com
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.
- 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-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.
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
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.
This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com
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In recent months, homes have taken on additional roles as offices, schools, and places of entertainment as staying at home has become the norm. With the extra time spent inside and the additional wear and tear on your home, this is a perfect time for those Do-It-Yourself projects you’ve been wanting to get done.
Before getting out the power tools, take time to consider the projects you have in mind. Assess your budget to see if certain projects should be prioritized over others, or if you have the financial capacity for only one or two projects at this time. If you’re questioning how the renovations will affect resale value, please feel free to reachout to me!
Here are a few ideas:
Landscaping and garden projects: the steppingstones of your home’s DIY outdoor makeover.
- A great first step is to start with your front yard—it’s the first thing people see when approaching your home and upgrades to it will improve the curb appeal.
- Start with the hardscaping projects—driveways, decks, fencing, walkways—before installing plants.
- When it comes time to plant, add organic material to your soil such as peat moss, mushroom compost, or leaf mold for added health.
- Add in different shapes and textures of plants to give your landscaping a varied, vibrant look.
Repainting a room: follow these steps to give any room a fresh look and feel.
- The repainting process begins by moving all furniture out of the room. If you want to pile everything in the center and work around it, be sure to lay your drop cloths on the floor before doing so and cover your furniture to prevent damage.
- Repair any damage to the walls and fill in cracks with putty. This is a good time to remove all electrical outlets and switch covers to get the walls completely flat.
- Choose the appropriate brush or paint roller depending on the size of the surface area.
- Once the walls are painted, remove your painter’s tape and paint the trim.
Flooring projects: how to repair or add flooring that will have you walking through your house comfortably.
- Wood floor damage: To remove surface scratches from wood floors, use steel wool or fine grit sandpaper and finish with a top coat of polyurethane. For deep scratches, use wood filler that closely matches your flooring in color, and apply a wood finish layer on top.
- Vinyl floor damage: If your vinyl flooring has ripped up, apply a vinyl flooring adhesive and lay the ripped piece into place. For sections that are completely torn off, use a utility knife to cut a new piece of flooring and apply adhesive when matching the piece back into the floor.
- New tile flooring: Before you start tiling, wash the floor with a commercial detergent to remove dirt and stains. If you are laying new tile over old tile, make sure the original layer is secure. Begin by laying out the pattern before making your tile cuts. Then you are ready to apply the mastic or mortar, and finally lay the tiles. Let the tile sit for at least a day before grouting the joints.
With so many people staying at home, DIY projects are at an all-time high. Doing projects like these yourself may not be easy, but it gives a greater sense of ownership, and can often save you money by not outsourcing the work. For additional help on these projects and to find new ones, check out YouTube’s vast DIY resources.
This post originally appeared on Windermere.com
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