Quarterly Reports: Q1 North Snohomish

Q1: January 1 – March 31, 2018

It is the time of year when our market starts to take off. Spring is here and we are starting to see seasonal increases in inventory.

In fact, there was a 54% increase in new listings in March compared to February. That increase was matched by a 50% rise in pending sales, illustrating very strong demand for housing in your area. Last month, the average list-to-sale price ratio was 100%, and average days on market was 35 days. We ended the quarter with 0.7 months of inventory – the lowest level yet. More inventory would be absorbed by happy buyers looking for more selection and would help temper price growth, which is up 12% year-over-year.

North Snohomish County is one of the most affordable markets in the area. In fact, the median price in March was 28% higher in south Snohomish County. Buyers are migrating to the area, especially if they don’t have to commute into the city. Sellers are enjoying amazing returns due to this phenomenon, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. This is a very strong seller’s market, but buyers who are securing a home are already enjoying appreciation in equity.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in north Snohomish County; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 


Posted on April 16, 2018 at 11:45 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in North Snohomish County, Quarterly Market Updates |

Quarterly Market Trends: Q1 South Snohomish

Q1: January 1 – March 31, 2018

It is the time of year when our market starts to take off. Spring is here and we are starting to see seasonal increases in inventory.

In fact, there was a 47% increase in new listings in March compared to February. That increase was matched by a 48% rise in pending sales, illustrating very strong demand for housing in your area. Last month, the average list-to-sale price ratio (how the sale price relates to the list price) was 103%, indicating that multiple offers were the norm. We ended the quarter with 0.5 months of inventory – the lowest level yet. More inventory would be absorbed by happy buyers looking for more selection and would help temper price growth, which is up 15% year-over-year.

South Snohomish County real estate has been a hot spot due to reasonable commute times and overall affordability compared to “in-city” real estate. In fact, the median price in March was 47% higher in Seattle Metro. Sellers are enjoying amazing returns due to this phenomenon, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. This is a very strong seller’s market, but buyers who are securing a home are already enjoying appreciation in equity.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 


Posted on April 16, 2018 at 11:45 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Quarterly Market Updates, South Snohomish County |

Quarterly Market Trends: Q1 North King County

Q1: January 1 – March 31, 2018

It is the time of year when our market starts to take off. Spring is here and we are starting to see seasonal increases in inventory.

In fact, there was a 55% increase in new listings in March compared to February. That increase was followed by a 41% rise in pending sales, illustrating very strong demand for housing in your area. Last month, the average list-to-sale price ratio (how the sale price relates to the list price) was 106%, indicating that multiple offers were the norm. We ended the quarter with 0.6 months of inventory based on pending sales. More inventory would be absorbed by happy buyers looking for more selection and would help temper price growth, which is up 14% year-over-year.

North King County real estate has a very high premium due to close-in commute times and desirable neighborhoods. In fact, the median price in March was $808,000, up 4% from the month prior! Sellers are enjoying amazing returns due to this phenomenon, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. This is a very strong seller’s market, but buyers who are securing a home are already enjoying appreciation in equity.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in north King County; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 


Posted on April 16, 2018 at 11:44 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in North King County, Quarterly Market Updates |

Quarterly Market Trends: Q1 Eastside

Q1: January 1 – March 31, 2018

It is the time of year when our market starts to take off. Spring is here and we are starting to see seasonal increases in inventory.

In fact, there was a 54% increase in new listings in March compared to February. That increase was topped by a 58% rise in pending sales, illustrating very strong demand for housing on the Eastside. Last month, the average list-to-sale price ratio (how the sale price relates to the list price) was 103%, indicating that multiple offers were the norm. We ended the quarter with 0.7 months of inventory – the lowest level yet. More inventory would be absorbed by happy buyers looking for more selection and would help temper price growth, which is up 14% year-over-year.

Eastside real estate has a very high premium due to close-in commute times and desirable neighborhoods. In fact, the median price in March was $927,000! Sellers are enjoying amazing returns due to this phenomenon, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. This is a very strong seller’s market, but buyers who are securing a home are already enjoying appreciation in equity.

This is only a snapshot of the trends on the Eastside area; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 


Posted on April 16, 2018 at 11:43 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Eastside, Quarterly Market Updates |

Quarterly Market Trends: Q1 Seattle Metro

Q1: January 1 – March 31, 2018

It is the time of year when our market starts to take off. Spring is here and we are starting to see seasonal increases in inventory.

In fact, there was a 69% increase in new listings in March compared to February. That increase was followed by a 48% rise in pending sales, illustrating very strong demand for housing in your area. Last month, the average list-to-sale price ratio (how the sale price relates to the list price) was 105%, indicating that multiple offers were the norm. We ended the quarter with 0.6 months of inventory based on pending sales. More inventory would be absorbed by happy buyers looking for more selection and would help temper price growth, which is up 16% year-over-year.

Seattle Metro real estate has a very high premium due to close-in commute times and vibrant neighborhoods. In fact, the median price in March was $800,000, up 5% from the month prior! Sellers are enjoying amazing returns due to this phenomenon, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. This is a very strong seller’s market, but buyers who are securing a home are already enjoying appreciation in equity.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in the Seattle Metro area; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 

 


Posted on April 16, 2018 at 11:42 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Quarterly Market Updates, Seattle Metro |

Quarterly Market Trends: Q1 South King County

Q1: January 1 – March 31, 2018

It is the time of year when our market starts to take off. Spring is here and we are starting to see seasonal increases in inventory.

In fact, there was a 47% increase in new listings in March compared to February. That increase was matched by a 48% rise in pending sales, illustrating very strong demand for housing in south King County. Last month, the average list-to-sale price ratio (how the sale price relates to the list price) was 101%, indicating that multiple offers were the norm. We ended the quarter with 0.7 months of inventory – the lowest level yet. More inventory would be absorbed by happy buyers looking for more selection and would help to temper price growth, which is up 12% year-over-year.

South King County real estate has been a hot spot due to reasonable commute times and overall affordability compared to “in-city” real estate. In fact, the median price in March was 78% higher in Seattle Metro. Sellers are enjoying amazing returns due to this phenomenon, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. This is a very strong seller’s market, but buyers who are securing a home are already enjoying appreciation in equity.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south King County; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 


Posted on April 16, 2018 at 11:40 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Quarterly Market Updates, South King County |

What the same house sold for 3 years later!

Price Appreciation Case Studies in South Snohomish & North King Counties

Since 2014, home values have grown by over 10% each year, resulting in a resounding 35% or more return in pricing. Below are some examples of actual homes sold in late 2017 to early 2018 that also sold in 2014, and that were not remodeled or significantly improved in between sales. These examples show the growth in home values that we have experienced over the last three years due to our thriving local economy. I pulled these examples to show you actual pound-for-pound market data versus the statistical percentages I often quote in these market updates. I thought these examples were pretty telling and quite exciting.

4 bedroom,  2,917 sq.ft.  Shoreline Home:

Sold in November 2014: $560,000

Sold in January 2018: $800,000

$240,000 INCREASE IN HOME VALUE: 42.85%

 

This phenomenon has been driven by a lack of available housing inventory and super high demand due to the robust job market in our area influenced by companies like Amazon. In 2017, there were 1,000 people moving into our area each week! According to census data, that trend is supposed to continue.

The large price gains might seem familiar to the gains of the previous up market of 2004-2007 that resulted in a bubble, but this environment is much different, which is why we are not headed toward a housing collapse. Previous lending practices allowed people to get into homes with risky debt-to-income ratios, low credit scores, and undocumented incomes. A large part of why the housing bubble burst 10 years ago was due to people getting into mortgages they were not equipped to handle, which lend to the eventual fall of sub-prime lending and the bubble bursting. Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist speaks to this topic in this video.

It is supply and demand that is creating these huge gains in prices. An increase in inventory would be healthy and would temper price growth. Many folks who have been waiting for their current home values to return in order to make big moves involving their retirement, upgrading homes, investing, or even buying a second home are well poised to enter the market. If you are one of those people, I hope these examples provide insight on the increase in home values and how they might pertain to your goals.

Potential buyers might shy away from the market due to affordability. While it is expensive to buy a home in the Greater Seattle area, the people that have become homeowners over the last three years have built some amazing wealth. Interest rates remain low, helping to absorb the cost of a home in our area. Last month, I wrote a Love Letter to Buyers which helped layout the advantages of participating in today’s market and how to be successful. If you or any one you know is considering making a purchase, it is worth the read.

As we head into the active spring and summer months, if you’d like a complimentary Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) on your home, so you have a better understanding of your home’s value, any of our agents would be happy to do that. This would be an important component in charting your 2018 financial goals, and what a great time of year to gather that information! It is our goal to help keep our clients informed and empower strong decisions.

 

3 bedroom,  1,305 sq.ft.  Lynnwood Home:

Sold in September 2014: $315,000

Sold in July 2017: $540,000

$135,000 INCREASE IN HOME VALUE: 42.85%

 


Posted on April 16, 2018 at 11:38 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Lynnwood, Market Update, Shoreline |

Cost vs Value for Home Improvements

I am commonly asked which improvements sellers should make to get the greatest return on their home sale. Every year The Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) compiles all the information and analyzes the estimated percentage return on home improvements in each region. Getting a home prepared for market requires a keen eye and great resources. To access the entire Cost vs. Value report please visit www.costvsvalue.com and follow the steps to locate the Seattle area report.
Also, I have a great list of reputable contractors from HVAC to plumbing to roofing who are licensed and bonded in the State of Washington. Please call on me whenever you need a solid recommendation. I am happy to help whether you are getting your home ready for market or just want to find a good window washer now that the sun is starting to shine a little more.
Complete data from the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com
© Hanley Wood Media Inc.


Posted on March 4, 2018 at 10:57 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in The More you Know |

A Love Letter to Buyers

I hope your Valentine’s Day was a sweet one, but it got me thinking. I am often sharing with you the advantages of this market for home sellers, which is unbelievably positive. With that said, I thought I’d take some time to give the potential buyers in our marketplace some love, hope, and of course, data!

Dear Greater Seattle Home Buyer,

Let’s just be up front: buying a home in today’s market is not easy. Quite frankly, it can be a wild roller coaster ride with twists and turns; but remember, folks pay a lot of money and stand in long lines for roller coaster rides. Imagine the excited pit in your stomach as the cart clicks up to the highest point before you plunge down a steep drop, and the thrill of raising your hands up because you trust that you are going to be okay. These emotions also accurately reflect the feelings of today’s home buyer – it can be a wild ride! Let’s also note that many roller coaster riders return to the back of the line right after getting off. Home ownership is also a good exercise to repeat and is often the investment that leads to the most built wealth in one’s life.

So how does one ensure that they are not the Nervous Nelly who stands in line for over an hour, finally makes it to the front to be strapped in to the cart, but who then chooses to bow out? The one that sits on the sidelines watching others throw up their hands with a thrill in their eye; the one with that tinge of regret as their friends rejoin them back on hallowed ground to recount their adventure. Wow, this is getting dramatic! Here are a few tips to follow that will ensure that one can find success securing a home in today’s market and get on the equity building train.

Waiting is Even More Expensive
In 2017, the year-over-year median price gains across our region were strong. In fact, here is a little break down.

North Snohomish County: $371,000  up 13%
South Snohomish County: $508,000  up 14%
North King County: $715,000  up 14%
Seattle Metro: $710,000  up 15%
South King County: $405,000  up 13%
Eastside: $865,000  up 15%

The appreciation is for real and as each month ticks by, prices are going up. That is why it is incredibly important to have a plan and realistic expectations. In referring to the chart above, it is plain to see the affordability of each area. Buyers have had to get creative and honest with themselves regarding the city or neighborhood in which they land. Commute times are one of the biggest indicators of home cost. It is paramount to line your budget up with a realistic commute time and then dig in. Too often I’ve seen buyers tightly grip to the idea of an in-city commute, only to have it end up being a more suburban choice in the end. The months wasted trying to perform in a market that didn’t match their budget ended up costing them at least 1% a month, based on last year’s appreciation. Getting real saves time, money, and heartache.

Interest Rates are a’Rising
This aspect is actually one to pay very close attention to. We have been amazingly spoiled with historically low interest rates over the last five years. In fact, there is an entire generation of buyers who only know rates that have hovered from 3.5 – 4.5% – that is close to 3 points under the 30-year average! A good rule of thumb regarding interest rates, is that for each 1-point increase a buyer loses 10% of their buying power. That means that if you have a $500,000 budget and the rate goes up by a point, that you are now shopping for a $450,000 house if you want the same payment. Note, that shift does not take appreciation into consideration. Today’s rates have helped buyers bear the home prices in our area. It is predicted that rates will rise in 2018 by .5 to 1%.

Rents are High and Don’t Build Wealth
Seattle is now the 5th most expensive city to rent in the country according to the US Census Bureau. With rising rental rates, still historically low interest rates, and home prices on the rise, the advantage of buying versus renting has become clear for folks who have a down payment saved, good debt-to-income ratios and strong credit. Currently, the breakeven horizon (the amount of time you need to own your home in order for owning to be a superior financial decision vs. renting) in the Greater Seattle area is 1.6 years according to Zillow research.

Partner with a Broker Who Will Get the Job Done
A broker that has a process is key! It starts with an initial buyer consultation. I liken the buyer consultation to the seat belt you would wear on the roller coaster ride. When you go to the Dr. they start with your intake, check your vitals, ask questions, etc. The buyer consultation aims to unearth a buyer’s goals, research the areas they are interested in, address financing, and illustrate the challenges of the environment, so one can be successful. Time is money, and this consultation brings clarity, efficiency and trust. This upfront education coupled with a high level of communication and availability is paramount. The depth of the relationship will lead to success, and is the ingredient that enables a buyer to throw up their hands and take the thrilling plunge. It is hard to do that without a seat belt!

Get Your Finances in Order
Aligning with a trusted real estate professional is key, but so is aligning with a reputable and responsive mortgage lender. Getting pre-approved is the minimum, but getting pre-underwritten is a game changer. Finding a lender that is willing to put in the work up-front to vet credit, income, savings, debt, and all other financial indicators will lead to being pre-underwritten, which listing agents and sellers appreciate! Also, be aware that you do not always need to have a huge down payment to make a purchase work. Employment, assets, credit, and what you have saved all work into your ability to acquire a loan. I have seen plenty of people secure a home with 3-5% down. Education and awareness create clarity, and investing into understanding your financial footing equals empowered and more efficient decisions. Note that I mentioned “responsive”. This is a 24/7 market, and lenders who don’t work evenings and weekends can get in the way of a buyer securing a home. If you need a short list of lenders that fit this description, please contact me.

‘Tis the Season – Inventory is Coming
Have hope! This is the time of year where we see inventory climb month over month. There will be more selection, but bear in mind it is also the time of year that the appreciation push happens. If you are feeling 75-80% in love with a home, it is one to act on. You’re never going to “get it all”, so a willingness to focus on priorities will pay off, because waiting will have an expense.

If you or someone you know is considering a purchase in today’s market, please contact me. It is my pleasure to take the time to educate, devise a plan, and help buyers find success in a challenging, yet advantageous market.

Celebrate Earth Day with us! Bring all your sensitive documents to be professionally destroyed on-site by Confidential Data Disposal. Limit 20 file boxes per customer.

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.

Saturday, April 21st, 10am – 2pm.
4211 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Lynnwood 98036

*This is a shredding-only event. Only paper will be accepted – no electronics or recyclables.

We are so fortunate here at Windermere to have Matthew Gardner help keep us informed on our economy and the real estate market.  Each quarter Matthew compiles in-depth research on counties from across Western Washington. Click here to download Matthew’s full Q4 2017 report.  Also, I recently hosted Matthew’s 2018 economic forecast for the Greater Seattle area and had it professionally recorded.  If you are interested in receiving access to view the entire presentation, please contact me and I’ll send it to you.

 


Posted on February 18, 2018 at 10:06 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Monthly Newsletter |

Kenmore

 

Essential Kenmore Commuting Tips: Seaplanes, Buses, Bikes, Cars, & More!

Nestled along the northern shores of Lake Washington and in between Bothell, Brier, and Lake Forest Park, the city of Kenmore is in a central location. Whether you need to head north to Everett or south toward Bellevue or Seattle, several commuting options await at your fingertips!

With the help of local Jen Richardson-Bowman, we’ve put together this handy guide to commuting from Kenmore. From the more unique options of seaplanes and biking to more traditional driving and transit options, Kenmore offers a little bit of everything to suit your style.

Commuting in Kenmore by Plane

Perhaps the most unique commuting option in Kenmore is to commute by seaplane via Lake Washington. “Kenmore Air is a great options for chartering or taking scheduled flights to the San Juans, Canada, and beyond!” shares Jen. Kenmore Air also provides private charters to other areas—need to hop over to Lake Union? It’s a possibility with Kenmore Air!

Commuting in Kenmore by Car

“522 is the main drag in Kenmore and it connects commuters to Eastside and Seattle,” says Jen, and Kenmore is located in between Highway 405 (to the east) and Interstate-5 (to the north). There’s also the Kenmore Park-and-Ride as well, a facility with 603 parking space, bicycle lockers, and several buses coming and going all day long.

Commuting in Kenmore by Bus

“Bus stops are plentiful here!” shares Jen. Served by both King County Metro and Sound Transit, you can hop on a bus heading almost anywhere from Kenmore. Whether you need to get to Shoreline or head into Downtown Seattle to work, the vast network of buses makes it all possible. Click here to find more information on specific routes!

Commuting in Kenmore by Bike

“The Burke-Gilman Trail runs between 522 and Lake Washington [and] makes a VERY scenic route to work for cyclists who have a final destination in Redmond or Seattle (and places in between),” shares Jen. With beautiful views of Lake Washington and a convenient route that begins in Kenmore, the Burke-Gilman Trail is the perfect way to squeeze your daily workout and commute into one and the same! Click here to see a map complete with road access points.

Commuting by Light Rail

With Light Rail expanding north from Seattle, Kenmore residents will be able to take advantage of commuting while being able to skip car traffic! The Light Rail has several new stops planned from University of Washington to Everett that you might be able to take advantage of if you live in Kenmore. Click here to check out the complete list of projects, light rail station locations, and timelines.


Posted on December 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm
Windermere Real Estate North | Posted in Kenmore |

Coming Soon to Kenmore: What You Can Expect in Kenmore’s Near Future

While Kenmore already offers a long list of excellent city amenities and a variety of housing options, there is always something new happening in the neighborhood. We wanted to take a moment to highlight 3 things you might especially be interested if you’re thinking about moving to Kenmore, and we talked to a couple of locals who have the scoop!

 

New Construction Homes

 

Curious about buying a home in Kenmore, WA? According to Jen Richardson-Bowman, “New construction abounds in Kenmore! It’s Northshore School District, so get ready for a little sticker shock!”

In Kenmore, you can expect to find some truly gorgeous homes. There are some incredible new construction homes, but there are older more established homes in the mix as well.

Lakepointe Waterfront Development

According to Michele Tenhulzen Kimes, “The waterfront development Lakepointe will transform the city by turning nearly 50 acres of industrial use space into shopping, dining and residential units.”

Located right on the shores of Lake Washington the Lakepointe development is a mixed-use development that will include a variety of land uses, and has been designed to “integrate the usage among residents, shoppers, vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.” The plan was actually started back in 1989, and the proposed development has gone through several years of a citizen task force working with the developer to create a successful space. Weidner and Associates plans to invest $1 billion in the project.


Downtown Kenmore

Downtown Kenmore has been undergoing some serious changes, and there are even more redevelopment projects underway in the near future! While the Kenmore Town Square is complete, a new Hangar community building is in the works, and upcoming developments also include a large restaurant, commercial space, healthcare facilities, and more. Click here for the full overview of what you can expect in this Kenmore destination!


 

Your Guide to Enjoying the Lake Washington Waterfront in Kenmore

Though the warm weather has passed, that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about next summer’s adventures. We asked our locals for some tips on enjoying the Lake Washington waterfront and they gave us their top insights.

Here is your guide to enjoying the Lake Washington waterfront in Kenmore (as recommended by our locals):

Saint Edward State Park

  • Located at 14445 Juanita Dr. N.E. Kenmore, WA 98028

When it comes to enjoying the waterfront in Kenmore, Saint Edward State Park (“set on the eastern shore of Lake Washington,” according to Claudette Meyer) cannot be beat. “This is the highlight of Kenmore in terms of getting out into the woods and feeling like you’re miles from home, but you’re not,” shares Jen Bowman. “Miles of hiking and wooded biking trails are found at this stunning state park. There’s a pretty hike from the top of the hill all the way down to Lake Washington (don’t forget good shoes since it’s a little steep). A huge playground next to the old seminary is a highlight for families.” Claudette seconds Jen’s recommendation, adding that “although we don’t get there often enough, my family and I love to explore the low forest hiking trails in Saint Edward State Park…Our more adventurous friends regularly go mountain biking on the many miles of trails in the park, with their 5 and 3-year-old in tow—there’s terrain for every skill level.” For a breath of fresh air the whole family will love, check out Saint Edward State Park today.

Log Boom Park

  • Located at 17415 61st Ave. N.E. Kenmore, WA 98028

Whether you’re looking to cool off or explore the local waters, you can do that and so much more at Log Boom Park. “Log Boom Park, just off the north end of the Lake and right next to Burke Gilman Trail is an awesome place to take a dip in the lake off of a huge elevated dock,” says Jen. “Lots of places to launch kayaks or stand up paddleboards. Great views of Mount Rainier can be found here and fireworks on the Fourth of July. Also, it’s a great spot to watch Kenmore Air departures and arrivals.” For a day filled with fun and relaxation, Log Boom Park has you covered.

Kenmore Boat Launch

  • Located at 17150 68th Ave. N.E. Kenmore, WA 98028

For those looking to get out on the water, the Kenmore Boat Launch is a secret gem. “The Kenmore boat launch is a hidden access point to Lake Washington,” says Casey Bui. “While it lacks a dock, it’s one of the few public boat launches in the northern half of Lake Washington. Its 2 boat launches and about 30 parking spaces are popular in the summer.”

“Launch the boat in Lake Washington,” says Jen. “[This] is the only public boat launch at the north end of Lake Washington. Parking can be very tight, so best to get there early on sunny summer days. Also a good spot to launch the paddle board or kayak and head east towards downtown Bothell on the slough. Lots of bird watching and very calm waters along the slough.” So, if you’re quick enough when those sunny summer days roll around, you can take advantage of all that Lake Washington has to offer at the Kenmore Boat Launch.

Sammamish River

Finally, if you’re still looking for ways to enjoy Lake Washington’s waterfront, rent a kayak and take it along the slow-moving Sammamish River. “Sammamish River [offers] kayaking rentals, located at the mouth leading to the north end of Lake Washington,” says Michele Kimes. Perfect for both beginners and more experienced kayakers, this river is one of the best ways to take in all of the beauty that makes the Lake Washington area such a popular warm-weather destination.



Posted on February 1, 2018 at 9:29 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Kenmore |