Are we Headed Towards a Repeat of the 2008 Housing Meltdown?

Are we Headed Towards a Repeat of the 2008 Housing Meltdown?

The pressure the COVID-19 global pandemic is putting on the economy is a reality. As a real estate broker, I take great pride in having the honor of being your trusted advisor when it comes to your investment in the housing market and protecting the value of your home. I have been asked several times, “Is this the Great Recession all over again?”

At Windermere, we have continued to rely on the expertise of Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist. Above is a chart he shared from Black Knight Financial comparing the housing market as we headed into this global health crisis versus the start of the Great Recession in 2007. Below is an 11-minute video going over the chart line by line. I urge you to watch the video and key in to his expertise versus what you might hear in the media. Matthew predicted the Great Recession and does not shy away from heeding the truth, even if it is not great news. I trust him and I hope you do too.

Bottom line, we are heading into this economic challenge with a much more formidable foundation based on more stringent lending practices, higher equity levels, and we are anticipating a shorter 1-2 year V-shaped recovery, compared to the long U-shaped recovery of the 5-year Great Recession. In fact, we have seen pending sales rise over the last three consecutive weeks, some even with multiple offers. Every neighborhood and every price-point has its own story. Please reach out with any questions or concerns. It is my goal to help keep you informed and empower strong decisions.

 

 

 

 

We’re on a mission to help our local food banks keep their shelves stocked during this uncertain time. For every dollar our office raises, the Windermere Foundation is matching up to $3,500 through May 5th! This is a part of a total of $250,000 in matching funds from the Windermere Foundation, with the goal to give $500,000 to food banks across the areas that Windermere serves.

The need has never been greater, so we’re partnering with the trusted Volunteers of America (VOA) of Snohomish County, who know how to stretch every dollar to its fullest extent and successfully manage many of the food banks and food pantries across the county. In addition, a portion of the total raised will go towards buying vegetable starts for the Martha Perry Veggie Garden (MPVG) managed by the Snohomish Garden Club (SGC)which will supply local food banks with thousands of pounds of fresh produce throughout the summer and early fall. 

Our team of agents at Windermere North will be planting close to an acre of starts on behalf of the VOA at the MPVG with the SGC the end of May into early June in small groups practicing proper social distancing. We have done this project for three years as a larger group and we are thrilled to creatively get it done this year. Food Banks have always coveted fresh produce and this effort will be more meaningful than ever this year.  

If you are able to give, any amount will help make an impact and directly benefit our Neighbors in Need: gf.me/u/xy7ikd

Thank you!!

 

 

Posted on May 2, 2020 at 1:03 am
Kristine Stevens | Category: Monthly Newsletter

Shred Event Postponed & COVID-19 Update

Due to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy orders being extended through May 4th, our annual Shred Event & Food Drive has been postponed to July 18, the first Saturday after the new income tax filing deadline. The safety of the attendees, our agents, staff and the public at large is our highest priority. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to seeing you in July!

This is our 9th year partnering with Confidential Data Disposal; providing you with a safe, eco-friendly way to reduce your paper trail and help prevent identity theft.

Saturday, July 18th, 10AM to 2PM
4211 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Lynnwood.
Bring your sensitive documents to be professionally destroyed on-site. Limit 20 file boxes per visitor.

We will also be collecting non-perishable food and cash donations to benefit Concern for Neighbors food bank. Donations are not required, but are appreciated.

**This is a Paper-Only event. No x-rays, electronics, recyclables, or any other materials.

 

As we head into week four of the Stay Home/Stay Healthy orders in Washington State, I turn my thoughts towards my gratitude for housing. It’s safe to say that over the last few weeks we’ve become quite intimate with our four walls, the brick and mortar that we call home. Concrete, steel, wood, and glass make up the structure that keeps us safe and protected, but it’s who and what is inside that makes it a home.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never spent so much time in my home. This has developed a greater appreciation of the little things that make it special and even an acceptance of my not-so-favorite features. That quiet corner I can sneak away to, a blooming spring garden, a functional kitchen to create meals, and the community that surrounds us during a time of isolation are just a few items on my list of thank-yous. Our homes have become our sanctuaries, now more than ever. It goes beyond the sticks and stones that hold it upright; it is the heart in which our lives are pulsing.

I’ve always taken my role in helping people with their housing very seriously. To be asked to assist people in the purchase or sale of their home is an honor. The careful steps taken to protect liabilities and keen negotiations to ensure the highest and best value are very important components and ones I have a passion for. Now though, envisioning the connection one has or could have with a home is seen more deeply.

It is customary to have a list of features that one desires in a home and to pursue those features in the hunt for new housing or to celebrate them when selling. Buying and selling real estate is an emotional process and this experience has highlighted that connection more than I’ve ever realized before. Navigating finances is sensitive, but getting to the core of where you will spend your days or say good-bye to the place that housed you is meaningful. I’ve always seen real estate as a relationship business; while we do transactions that have a beginning and an end, the relationships are ongoing beyond the closing of a sale.

I wanted to take this time to say thank you for allowing me to be your trusted advisor when it comes to your housing. It means a lot to be a part of something so special and important in people’s lives. Also, just a reminder to please use me as a resource if you need any help maintaining your home. I have a list of reputable contractors and service providers that can help you care for your home should you have something break or want to make an improvement.

We’ve never navigated an environment like this before and I am committed to helping you stay informed.  I’m happy to report that we are still seeing positive real estate activity happening during the Stay Home/Stay Healthy orders. My next newsletter, in two weeks will re-cap the latest statistics and will start to tell the more complete story of COVID-19 and real estate. We headed into this health crisis on the shoulders of a very strong first quarter in real estate and still have many positive economic influences in the PNW. I am certain there will be pent up demand on the other side of this historical time and I am hopeful many jobs will return. Stay tuned for this upcoming report and please reach out if you’d like to discuss now. In the meantime, I wish you and yours good health, a warm heart, and a happy home. Be well!

Posted on May 2, 2020 at 1:03 am
Kristine Stevens | Category: Monthly Newsletter

North Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2020

As we head into the second quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new real estate listings and transactions have slowed after a strong first quarter. What would typically be the seasonally brisk Spring Market has tempered in respect of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

 

During this time, some sellers are still coming to market and there are motivated buyers carefully viewing and purchasing homes. I’m happy to report that sellers are maintaining their home sale values through these negotiations. We anticipate pent-up demand for both sellers and buyers once the orders are lifted, and see the summer season becoming the new spring for real estate and a more normal second half of 2020, bearing control of the virus. We also look forward to many jobs returning once the orders are lifted.  We are fortunate to be in the Greater Seattle Area, as many industries such as tech and biotech will hold small businesses on their shoulders once their workers return to the brick and mortar locations.

 

Prior to the outbreak, we anticipated complete year-over-year price growth to be 4-6%. That has been adjusted to 1-3% due to this health crisis. Another important element to consider is equity levels: 33% of homeowners in Snohomish County have more than 50% equity in their home.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!

Posted on May 2, 2020 at 1:02 am
Kristine Stevens | Category: Quarterly Market Updates

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2020

As we head into the second quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new real estate listings and transactions have slowed after a strong first quarter. What would typically be the seasonally brisk Spring Market has tempered in respect of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

 

During this time, some sellers are still coming to market and there are motivated buyers carefully viewing and purchasing homes. I’m happy to report that sellers are maintaining their home sale values through these negotiations. We anticipate pent-up demand for both sellers and buyers once the orders are lifted, and see the summer season becoming the new spring for real estate and a more normal second half of 2020, bearing control of the virus. We also look forward to many jobs returning once the orders are lifted.  We are fortunate to be in the Greater Seattle Area, as many industries such as tech and biotech will hold small businesses on their shoulders once their workers return to the brick and mortar locations.

 

Prior to the outbreak, we anticipated complete year-over-year price growth to be 4-6%. That has been adjusted to 1-3% due to this health crisis. Another important element to consider is equity levels: 33% of homeowners in Snohomish County have more than 50% equity in their home.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!

Posted on May 2, 2020 at 1:01 am
Kristine Stevens | Category: Quarterly Market Updates

North King County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2020

As we head into the second quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new real estate listings and transactions have slowed after a strong first quarter. What would typically be the seasonally brisk Spring Market has tempered in respect of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

 

During this time, some sellers are still coming to market and there are motivated buyers carefully viewing and purchasing homes. I’m happy to report that sellers are maintaining their home sale values through these negotiations. We anticipate pent-up demand for both sellers and buyers once the orders are lifted, and see the summer season becoming the new spring for real estate and a more normal second half of 2020, bearing control of the virus. We also look forward to many jobs returning once the orders are lifted.  We are fortunate to be in the Greater Seattle Area, as many industries such as tech and biotech will hold small businesses on their shoulders once their workers return to the brick and mortar locations.

 

Prior to the outbreak, we anticipated complete year-over-year price growth to be 4-6%. That has been adjusted to 1-3% due to this health crisis. Another important element to consider is equity levels: 43% of homeowners in King County have more than 50% equity in their home.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!

Posted on May 2, 2020 at 1:00 am
Kristine Stevens | Category: Quarterly Market Updates

Seattle Metro Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2020

As we head into the second quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new real estate listings and transactions have slowed after a strong first quarter. What would typically be the seasonally brisk Spring Market has tempered in respect of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

 

During this time, some sellers are still coming to market and there are motivated buyers carefully viewing and purchasing homes. I’m happy to report that sellers are maintaining their home sale values through these negotiations. We anticipate pent-up demand for both sellers and buyers once the orders are lifted, and see the summer season becoming the new spring for real estate and a more normal second half of 2020, bearing control of the virus. We also look forward to many jobs returning once the orders are lifted.  We are fortunate to be in the Greater Seattle Area, as many industries such as tech and biotech will hold small businesses on their shoulders once their workers return to the brick and mortar locations.

 

Prior to the outbreak, we anticipated complete year-over-year price growth to be 4-6%. That has been adjusted to 1-3% due to this health crisis. Another important element to consider is equity levels: 43% of homeowners in King County have more than 50% equity in their home.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!

Posted on May 2, 2020 at 1:00 am
Kristine Stevens | Category: Quarterly Market Updates

Eastside Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2020

As we head into the second quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new real estate listings and transactions have slowed after a strong first quarter. What would typically be the seasonally brisk Spring Market has tempered in respect of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

 

During this time, some sellers are still coming to market and there are motivated buyers carefully viewing and purchasing homes. I’m happy to report that sellers are maintaining their home sale values through these negotiations. We anticipate pent-up demand for both sellers and buyers once the orders are lifted, and see the summer season becoming the new spring for real estate and a more normal second half of 2020, bearing control of the virus. We also look forward to many jobs returning once the orders are lifted.  We are fortunate to be in the Greater Seattle Area, as many industries such as tech and biotech will hold small businesses on their shoulders once their workers return to the brick and mortar locations.

 

Prior to the outbreak, we anticipated complete year-over-year price growth to be 4-6%. That has been adjusted to 1-3% due to this health crisis. Another important element to consider is equity levels: 43% of homeowners in King County have more than 50% equity in their home.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!

Posted on May 2, 2020 at 12:59 am
Kristine Stevens | Category: Quarterly Market Updates

South King County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2020

As we head into the second quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new real estate listings and transactions have slowed after a strong first quarter. What would typically be the seasonally brisk Spring Market has tempered in respect of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

 

During this time, some sellers are still coming to market and there are motivated buyers carefully viewing and purchasing homes. I’m happy to report that sellers are maintaining their home sale values through these negotiations. We anticipate pent-up demand for both sellers and buyers once the orders are lifted, and see the summer season becoming the new spring for real estate and a more normal second half of 2020, bearing control of the virus. We also look forward to many jobs returning once the orders are lifted.  We are fortunate to be in the Greater Seattle Area, as many industries such as tech and biotech will hold small businesses on their shoulders once their workers return to the brick and mortar locations.

 

Prior to the outbreak, we anticipated complete year-over-year price growth to be 4-6%. That has been adjusted to 1-3% due to this health crisis. Another important element to consider is equity levels: 43% of homeowners in King County have more than 50% equity in their home.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!

Posted on May 2, 2020 at 12:58 am
Kristine Stevens | Category: Quarterly Market Updates

Stay Home, Stay Healthy: The Impact on Real Estate

Stay Home, Stay Healthy: The Impact on Real Estate

 

 

 

On March 28, 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee amended his statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to allow certain real estate activities to operate in the coming weeks. It’s important to understand that this change does not mean that real estate is returning to business as usual. Rather, there are strict protocols that brokers and their clients must follow as mandated by the amended order. Windermere brokers are committed to safely helping their clients move their lives forward during these challenging times. To do so, here are the guidelines we must follow:

 

WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT DO IN THE COMING WEEKS:

  • No open houses under any circumstances.
  • In-person meetings with clients are prohibited, except when necessary to view a property or sign documents.
  • When deemed necessary, home showings of active listings are by appointment only.
  • Only two persons allowed in a home at a time, including the representing broker.
  • Scheduled inspections and appraisals for pending transactions are allowed.
  • Buyer walk-throughs for pending transactions prior to closing are allowed.
  • Providing keys to buyers at closing is allowed.
  • Photographers, videographers, stagers and movers are considered non-essential and remain prohibited under the order.
  • All real estate activities must meet social distancing, appropriate health standards, and worker protection measures.

 

While real estate brokers have more latitude now to perform certain duties, we want you to know that Windermere’s highest priority is the safety of our brokers, our clients, and our community. To minimize personal contact, we strongly encourage using virtual tours, video chat, and other forms of technology to view homes, stay connected to your broker, and conduct business.

Despite the challenges we’re facing, our brokers are more focused than ever on taking care of their clients and helping them achieve their real estate goals with outstanding professionalism, attention to detail, and an over-commitment to service.

 

Stay Home, Stay Healthy: The Impact on Real Estate

 

 

 

On March 28, 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee amended his statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to allow certain real estate activities to operate in the coming weeks. It’s important to understand that this change does not mean that real estate is returning to business as usual. Rather, there are strict protocols that brokers and their clients must follow as mandated by the amended order. Windermere brokers are committed to safely helping their clients move their lives forward during these challenging times. To do so, here are the guidelines we must follow:

 

WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT DO IN THE COMING WEEKS:

  • No open houses under any circumstances.
  • In-person meetings with clients are prohibited, except when necessary to view a property or sign documents.
  • When deemed necessary, home showings of active listings are by appointment only.
  • Only two persons allowed in a home at a time, including the representing broker.
  • Scheduled inspections and appraisals for pending transactions are allowed.
  • Buyer walk-throughs for pending transactions prior to closing are allowed.
  • Providing keys to buyers at closing is allowed.
  • Photographers, videographers, stagers and movers are considered non-essential and remain prohibited under the order.
  • All real estate activities must meet social distancing, appropriate health standards, and worker protection measures.

 

While real estate brokers have more latitude now to perform certain duties, we want you to know that Windermere’s highest priority is the safety of our brokers, our clients, and our community. To minimize personal contact, we strongly encourage using virtual tours, video chat, and other forms of technology to view homes, stay connected to your broker, and conduct business.

Despite the challenges we’re facing, our brokers are more focused than ever on taking care of their clients and helping them achieve their real estate goals with outstanding professionalism, attention to detail, and an over-commitment to service.

 

 

 

Posted on April 4, 2020 at 6:14 pm
Kristine Stevens | Category: Monthly Newsletter

Monthly Newsletter: March 2020 – COVID-19 & the Real Estate Market: Real Time Numbers from the Front Lines

Things are changing rapidly these days, and if I had a dollar for how many times I have said “one day-at-a-time” over the last two weeks, I’d have a nice stack of cash. There are lots of questions swirling about simple everyday life and big life decisions like buying and selling real estate. I’m a believer in studying the numbers and sharing that data. It has always been my practice in my business to provide my clients with the information they need to help empower their decisions. With that said, I did a real-time pull of numbers on 3/18/20 in order to gain some understanding of the current trends amongst the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

I pulled three different market areas: Lake Stevens (North Snohomish County), Lynnwood (South Snohomish County) and Shoreline (North King County). I felt this would give a good representation of some different geographical markets and would avoid making any sweeping observations.

 

Below is an accounting of all of the active listings on the market in each of these cities along with all of the sales that went under contract from 3/11/20 to 3/18/20 (pulled around 1:30 pm PST) and the percentage relationship between those numbers. As you can see, we have had quite a bit of sales activity over the last week. Schools shut down through April 24th on 3/12/20 and restaurants and bars closed for dine-in business on 3/16/20, and homes continued to sell. We are certain that the historically low interest rates are fueling this demand. As of 3/17/20, the rate for a conventional, conforming loan was right around 3.5 – 3.65%.

Below you can see a chart that reports the average days on market for the homes that are currently active and the homes that went under contract over the last week. The average days on market for the homes that were absorbed over the last week were markedly shorter, indicating that the homes that sold were newer to the market, well-presented, and appropriately priced. The longer market times for the actives indicate possible overpricing, as the average days on market for the month of February were 27 for Lake Stevens, 53 for Lynnwood, and 50 for Shoreline. This also shows a trend for March average days on market to be shorter than February.

The last set of data that I pulled below is the average prices of the active listings and the average prices of the homes that went under contract last week. These percentage differences are in line with a similar comparison from February. In February, the percentage difference in the average active list price to the sold price was -22% in Lake Stevens, -9% in Lynnwood, and -29% in Shoreline. Since the under-contract sales have not published a closed sale price yet, we cannot take into consideration if there were any escalations above the list price. With the shorter-than-normal days on market and the stories I am hearing on the front lines of multiple offers, I believe we will have some escalations reported once these transactions close. I am sure there will be some concessions reported as well.

You may be wondering if this is still a good time to buy or sell, and the answer to that is different for each person. What I can say with certainty is that I am committed to bringing current facts and statistics to our conversations, and answering your questions as best I can. I hope you found the above figures to be encouraging, I did! Real estate is a cyclical business, and although the current economic shifts may be unsettling, we have weathered these cycles before. At this moment, record-low interest rates and low inventory are creating continued demand for homes, and from the figures reported, homes are going under contract. This is what I know today, and I felt it was worth sharing.

 

Below is a video from Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner that was released on Monday, 3/16/20 assessing the fate of the Greater Seattle real estate market during this time. Please contact me with your questions and concerns, I am here to help keep you informed!

Be well!

   

At this time, we are still planning to hold our annual Shred Event and Food Drive on April 18th. We will update you if anything changes due to crowd requirements and your safety.

 

This event will be vitally necessary to help stock our local food bank, which is struggling to meet demands. We also know that since many of you are staying home for extended periods of time, you will be cleaning and organizing, and will need the shredding services come April. We hope to meet these needs and bring our community together in a safe way.

 

Celebrate Earth Day with us! We are partnering with Confidential Data Disposal for our 9th year; providing you with a safe, eco-friendly way to reduce your paper trail and help prevent identity theft.

Saturday, April 18th, 10AM to 2PM
4211 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Lynnwood
Bring your sensitive documents to be professionally destroyed on-site. Limit 20 file boxes per visitor.

We will also be collecting non-perishable food and cash donations to benefit Concern for Neighbors food bank. Donations are not required, but are appreciated.

Hope to see you there!

**This is a Paper-Only event. No x-rays, electronics, recyclables, or any other materials

 

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the power of mindset. It is proven that what you focus on, expands. Setting aside time every day to focus on gratitude has been hugely beneficial in my business as well as my personal life, and I am finding this discipline to be even more important in today’s uncertain world. We are surrounded with scary news, unprecedented government announcements, and a whole lot of uncertainty. We are in uncharted territory, but the one thing we do have control over, is our own mindset.

 

Here are a few practical ideas to foster positivity in your life.

 

Daily Gratitudes. Carve out just a few minutes every day to write down two or three things you are grateful for. Make this part of your morning routine to help center yourself before the day begins, or part of your evening routine to help calm your mind before bed.

 

Savor small moments. No matter what situation you find yourself in, there are still many small moments to be enjoyed. The smell of coffee in the morning, or the quiet house in the evening when the children are all asleep. A hot shower or a luxurious lotion. Don’t rush through these. Stop and take a moment to really enjoy.

 

Look to the past. Humans are resilient. You have weathered uncertain times before, perhaps during the Great Recession, 9/11, or a major natural disaster. You made it through those, and you are stronger and better for the experience. Take a moment to look back at all you have been through as a reminder of your own resilience.

 

Follow social media accounts that provide good news only. There is quite a bit of doom and gloom out there right now. In addition to watching some funny YouTube videos or some heart-warming animal stories on Facebook, make sure you are plugged in and following some accounts that are all good, all the time. Some good ones on Facebook are

@GoodNewsGMA

@TanksGoodNews

@GoodNewsMove

 

If you’re on Instagram, be sure to check out

@Good

@UpWorthy

@TanksGoodNews

@GoodNews_Movement

 

Take social media breaks. This will be important. Not only because social media can be a hotbed of misinformation, but it can also provide an overload of general information. Many people are beginning to feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of news, suggested kids activities, and overall noise happening on all social channels right now. Take some time every day to be intentional about closing these apps, putting your phone or laptop away, and focusing your attention on something else. #DigitalDetox

 

Above all, be deliberate with integrating positivity into your daily life, knowing that together, we will get through this.

If you have ideas of how to stay positive, please share them with me!

Posted on April 4, 2020 at 6:12 pm
Kristine Stevens | Category: Monthly Newsletter