Q2: April 1 – June 30, 2018
As we head into the summer months we are seeing a healthy jump in inventory in our area. In May, we saw the biggest jump in new listings in a decade!
Price appreciation has created this phenomenon, motivating many people to make big moves with their equity. In fact, prices are up 13% year-over-year. We currently sit at 1.3 months of inventory based on pending sales. This more-equal balance of homes for sale compared to the first quarter has created great opportunities for buyers, finally! While it is still a seller’s market, it has eased up a bit. The average days on market in June was 11 days and the average list-to-sale price ratio was 102%.
South Snohomish County real estate has been an affordable option compared to “in-city” real estate. In fact, the median price in June was 41% higher in Seattle Metro. Sellers are enjoying great returns due to buyers choosing to lay down roots in our area, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. The easing of inventory is a welcome change and is helping to temper price growth.
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.
The late spring market brought about some welcomed change to our local real estate markets. In May, we experienced the largest increase in inventory in a decade! North King County and South Snohomish County are two examples of what is happening in all the markets across the Puget Sound as we head into the second half of 2018. Below is a breakdown of the current environment; further is an explanation of what it all means.
North King County (Ship Canal to Snohomish County Line):
- 38% increase in new listings from April to May 2018
- 16% more new listings in May 2018 vs. May 2017
- Overall 5% more new listings over the last 12 months vs. the previous 12 months
- Average list-to-sale price ratios reduce to 104% from 105% in May 2018
- Median Price up 15% complete year over year, but down 1% vs. the previous month, landing at $815K.
South Snohomish County (Snohomish County Line to Everett):
- 27% increase in new listings from April to May 2018
- 10% more new listings in May 2018 vs. May 2017
- Overall 2% more new listings over the last 12 months vs. the previous 12 months
- Average list-to-sale price ratios reduce to 102% from 103% in May 2018
- Median price up 12% complete year over year, but equal with the previous month, landing at $500K.
This increase in inventory is awesome! It is providing more selection for buyers and is helping temper price growth, which was increasing at an unsustainable level. It is still a Seller’s market by all means, which is defined by having three or less months of available inventory. Both market areas are still just under one month of inventory based on pending sales, but not as low as the two-week mark they were experiencing in March.
The increase in inventory is the result of pent up seller demand. From 1985-2008 the average amount of time a homeowner stayed in their home was 6 years. From 2008-2017 it grew to 9 years. With a resounding amount of equity under their belts, many homeowners are now deciding to make moves. Some are moving up to the next best thing and others are cashing out and leaving the area for a new beginning or retirement. This is providing buyers with the selection they have been waiting for after a very tenuous, inventory-starved start to 2018. The buyers that have stayed on the forefront of the market are now being rewarded with choices. These choices are best accompanied with keen discernment in order to craft the best negotiations – the broker they choose to align with is key.
The price analysis above indicates strong equity positions for sellers, but also a leveling off in price growth. Over the first quarter we saw prices increase month-over-month quite handily; now that more inventory is appearing and demand is being absorbed, price growth is not as extreme. This has highlighted the importance of having a strategic pricing and marketing plan for sellers wanting the highest price and shortest market time. The broker they choose to align with is key.
The importance of both buyers and sellers aligning with a knowledgeable, well-researched and responsive broker is paramount. One might think that it is “easy” to sell a house in this market, but the pricing research, home preparation, market exposure, varied marketing mediums, close management of all the communication, and how negotiations are handled can make or break a seller’s net return on the sale. With market times increasing, having a broker with a tight grasp on the changing environment will help create an efficient market time, resulting in the best price and terms for a successful closing. It is important that sellers do not overshoot this market, and it takes a broker with a keen gut sense rooted in in-depth research to help get them their desired results.
If you’re a buyer, it is overwhelmingly important that you are aligned with a broker that knows how to win in this market. The increase in selection has left some room for contemplation in some cases. Considering possible terms and price based on thorough market research as you head into negotiations are what set a highly capable selling broker apart and are required to prevail. With more selection coming to market, buyers have more to consider, and having a broker alongside them to help craft a strategy of negotiations will ensure they don’t overpay.
If you have any curiosities or questions regarding the value of your current home or purchase opportunities in today’s market, please contact us. It is our goal to help keep you informed and empower strong decisions.
The Fourth of July is right around the corner. With it being on a Wednesday, keeping it local makes sense. Here is a list of local firework shows to help you celebrate the great U.S. of A!
Bellevue – Downtown Park 10:05 p.m.
Des Moines – Marina 10:20 p.m.
Edmonds – Civic Stadium 10 p.m.
Everett – Port Gardner Bay 10:20 p.m.
Federal Way – Celebration Park 10:15 p.m.
Kent – Lake Meridian Park 10 p.m.
Kenmore – Log Boom Park 10:00 p. m.
Kirkland – Marina Park 10:15 p.m.
Lakewood – Joint Base Lewis-McChord 10 p.m.
Newcastle – Lake Boren Park 10 p.m.
Renton – Coulon Park 10 p.m.
SeaTac – Angle Lake Park 10 p.m.
Seattle – Lake Union 10:20 p.m. BIG!
Tacoma – Ruston Way 10:10 p.m. BIG!
Tukwila – Fort Dent Park 10 p.m.
Don’t forget your blanket and the popcorn! It is the time of year when it’s nice enough to grab a movie outdoors – how fun! Here is a list of local outdoor movies planned for this summer.
7/6 Star Wars: The Last Jedi (at the Airport Fly In)
7/12 Early Man
7/19 Peter Rabbit
Frances Anderson Center Field
Thornton Sullivan Park, Camp Patterson Field
7/20 Early Man
8/17 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Jennings Park, Lioins Centennial Pavilion
7/14 Despicable Me 3
7/28 Cars 3
8/4 Wonder Woman
8/11 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Willis Tucker Park
7/26 The Greatest Showman
8/16 Beauty and the Beast
7/10 Despicable Me 3
7/17 Boss Baby
7/24 The Lego Ninjago Movie
7/31 Goodbye Christopher Robin
8/7 Paddington 2
8/14 The Greatest Showman
Carillon Point Plaza
7/7 Despicable Me 3
7/21 The Wedding Singer
8/18 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
6/28 The Goonies
7/5 Wonder Woman
7/25 The Greatest Showman
8/2 10 Things I Hate About You
8/8 Thor: Ragnarok
8/22 Black Panther
8/29 The Princess Bride
Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre
7/20 A League of Their Own
7/14 Best of the Children’s International Film Festival
Shilshole Bay Marina
Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre
7/28 The Princess Bride
8/4 Get Out
8/11 Little Shop of Horrors
8/18 I am Not Your Negro
8/25 Wonder Woman
South Lake Union Discovery Center
6/16 The Goonies
7/21 Jurassic Park
8/25 Black Panther
7/21 Wonder Woman
7/28 The Secret Life of Pets
8/4 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
8/11 A Wrinkle in Time
8/25 Black Panther
It is that time of year when the sun comes out and the kids need to cool down and get their wiggles out outside. Below is a list of local Splash Parks.
19015 64th Ave W, Lynnwood WA 98036
600 3rd Ave S, Edmonds WA 98020
18510 44th Ave W, Lynnwood WA 98037
802 E Mukilteo Blvd, Everett WA 98203
6705 Puget Park Drive, Snohomish WA 98296
750 S Home St, Seattle WA 98108
12718 1st Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125
1800 S Main St, Seattle WA 98144
999 164th Ave NE, Bellevue WA 98008
7031 148th Ave NE, Redmond WA 98052
801 228th Ave SE, Sammamish WA 98074
Recent research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that more than 13 million children in the U.S. experience food insecurity. That’s one in six children who live in households where they do not have enough food to eat on a regular basis. And over 20 million children rely on free or reduced-price school lunches for their meals during the school year.
For those families relying on the free and reduced meals during the school year, summer can be especially stressful. Many families do not have access to food assistance programs during the summer. And the national summer meal programs reach only a small percentage of children who need help when school is not in session–around 16 percent. That is why many of our Windermere offices choose to support local non-profits that provide weekend and summer meals to children and families in need.
One of those non-profits that Windermere offices support is the Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) in Seattle, Washington, whose mission is to increase food security for underserved populations in North King County through nutritious meals, educational programs, and advocacy. According to HIP, one in four children in Washington State live in households where families experience hunger. Their Healthy HIP Packs Program is a weekend food backpack program that provides nutritious and kid-friendly foods, enough for six meals and two snacks per child, when school meals are not available during the school year. And HIP’s Summer Eats for Kids program provides freshly made, nutritious lunches at kid-friendly locations around the north Seattle community during the summer.
The Windermere Northgate, Sand Point, and Wedgwood offices have supported Hunger Intervention Program since 2013 with donations via the Windermere Foundation. A total of $14,700 has been donated to HIP over the years, to help fund meal programs so that children do not have to go hungry on the weekends or over summer break.
Thanks to donations from our Windermere owners, offices, and agents, and donations from the public, the Windermere Foundation is able to provide support to local nonprofits that provide nutritious meals for children in need. If you’d like to help support food programs for children experiencing hunger in your community, please consider making a donation to the Windermere Foundation through a Windermere office near you. Just click on the Donate button.
To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit https://www.windermere.com/foundation.
The current break-even horizon* in the Seattle metro area is 1.6 years!
*The amount of time you need to own your home in order for owning to be a superior financial decision.
With rising rental rates, historically low interest rates, and home prices on the rise, the advantage of buying vs. renting is becoming clearer each month.
In fact, Seattle has seen some of the sharpest rent hikes in the country over the last year! Snohomish County has seen a huge increase in apartment growth and rising rental rates as well. There are several factors to consider that will lead you to make the best decision for your lifestyle and your financial bottom line. Zillow Research has determined the break-even point for renting vs. buying in our metro area. In other words, the amount of time you need to own your home in order for owning to be a superior financial decision. Currently in Seattle the break-even point is 1.6 years – that is quick! What is so great about every month that ticks away thereafter is that your nest egg is building in value.
I am happy to help you or someone you know assess your options; please contact me anytime.
These assumptions are based on a home buyer purchasing a home with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and a 20 percent down payment; and a renter earning five percent annually on investments in the stock market.
It’s not too late! If you’re thinking about planting some fresh veggies but haven’t started yet, you still have time to get things in the ground for a late summer/early fall harvest. On average, the Puget Sound’s frost-free growing season is mid-March through mid-November, so with a little knowledge of when and how to start things, you can still see a bountiful harvest this year.
Some plants can be direct seeded into your garden, while others should be started indoors before being transplanted to your garden space. Deciding what to grow is the fun part! Plant what you like to eat, keeping in mind that some plants do better in our area than others.
Broccoli is arguably one of the most productive veggies you can grow in this area, although it can be vulnerable to root maggots and aphids. Giant Italian Parsley is easy to grow, highly productive, and expensive in the grocery store. Leeks are another that can be costly to buy in the store but trouble-free to grow in your own small space. Chard, Kale, Lettuce and Arugula are all full of vitamins and great for Northwest gardens. Carrots, Snap Peas, Snap Beans, Tomatoes and Basil all taste amazing fresh from the garden and grow relatively well in this area.
Check out the great resources at Garden.org for a full list of when to plant all these vegetables and more. They have detailed timelines for both spring and fall gardening; as well as information on transplanting seedlings vs. direct-sowing seeds.
Double-digit price appreciation has taken place for over 3 years now, so prices are up. Way up. In fact, in just the last year we have seen prices rise 14% year-over-year. When talking with people about our real estate market, the conversation often involves the question, “are we headed toward a bubble?” We get asked this question often, and it is understandable. With the Great Recession not too far back in our rear-view mirror, the fear that surrounds the bottom dropping out in our home values is real. The large price gains might seem familiar to the gains of the previous up market of 2004-2007, but the environment is much different, and that is why we are not headed toward a housing collapse.
Lending Requirements & Down Payments
Previous lending practices allowed people to get into homes with high debt-to-income ratios, low credit scores, risky loan programs, and undocumented incomes. They called this sub-prime lending. This led to the housing bubble bursting 10 years ago – because people received mortgages they were not equipped to handle. Borrowers were not properly qualified for their monthly payments, and with minimal down payments they had no skin in the game. There were also a ton of adjustable rate mortgages and interest-only loans, which created negative equity positions. In July 2007, the sub-prime loan products disappeared and literally became history overnight. This eliminated a large part of the buyer pool creating over supply, not to mention the foreclosures that followed due to these ill-equipped homeowners walking away. The combination of these two factors caused prices to plummet.
Conversely, in March of this year, the average credit score for an approved conventional loan according to Ellie Mae was 752. Banks are scrutinizing their borrowers much more thoroughly than in the past. Credit scores are only the start; solid documentation of employment, assets, and debt are all passed through strict underwriting standards before closing. During the days of sub-prime lending, banks were funding loans with scores as low as 560! This, coupled with many zero-down loan programs and the risky terms mentioned above, left many new homeowners with little to no equity. When you have little or no equity it is very easy to bail.
In addition to heartier credit scores, down payments have increased significantly. According to Attom Data Solutions the average down payment is 18%. To put this in perspective, the median price in Seattle Metro in the first quarter of 2018 was $775,000. 18% of that is $139,500! There is a marked difference in the connection to one’s investment with such a large amount on the line versus the common 0% down loans of the sub-prime era. When people have high equity levels they are not likely to abandon their home or miss payments.
Our Thriving Local Economy, Job Creation & Californians
According to Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist, it is forecasted that there will be 46,000 more jobs in the Seattle Metro area in 2018. This has created high numbers of residual migration into our area from other states. In 2016 there were 50,000 people that moved here, and 47,000 in 2017. Many of these new Washingtonians are former Californians, specifically from the Bay Area. Unbelievably, our prices are attractive to this group, as they can take a similar tech job here and make the same income with a lower cost of living. If untethered and up for a move, it’s a no-brainer.
The most influential factor that has led the run on prices has been low inventory levels coupled with high housing demand. It’s simply the concept of supply and demand. The growth of companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook in our area has created increased demand, especially for homes closer to job centers resulting in shorter commutes. When you have increased demand and not enough homes to absorb the buyers, prices go up. Over the last three years we have easily seen a 10%+ increase in prices year-over-year. That is above the norm, and will slow down once inventory increases. That slowdown will be welcomed and it will not be a collapse in values or a bubble bursting.
Interest rates are increasing, and it is predicted they will reach close to 4.95% by the end of the year. This will naturally curtail price growth because it will not be as cheap to borrow money, which will cause buyers to temper their pricing ceilings. Bear in mind, that an interest rate of 4.95% is still historically low, we’ve just been incredibly fortunate to be able to secure long term loans with minimal debt service. The average interest rate over the last 30 years is 7%.
We understand that the recent increase in home prices has been big and that it might remind you of the previous up market before the crash. Hopefully digging into the topics above has shed some light on how it is different. We always welcome the opportunity to have conversations about these hot topics and discern how they relate to you. As always, it is our goal to help keep our clients informed and empower strong decisions. Please let us know if we can answer any questions or help you or anyone you know with their real estate needs.