Quarterl Reports: Q2 Eastside

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 11% year-over-year. We currently sit at 1.5 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 19 days and the average list-to-sale price ratio was 101%.

Eastside real estate has a very high premium due to close-in commute times, great neighborhoods and strong school districts. In fact, the median price in June was $980,000. 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 on the Eastside; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 


Posted on July 25, 2018 at 11:23 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Eastside, Quarterly Market Updates |

Quarterly Reports: Q2 North King

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 1.1 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 16 days and the average list-to-sale price ratio was 103%.

North King County real estate has a very high premium due to close-in commute times and vibrant neighborhoods. In fact, the median price in June was $800,000. 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 north King County; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 


Posted on July 19, 2018 at 10:13 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in North King County, Quarterly Market Updates |

Quarterly Reports: Q2 South Snohomish

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.


Posted on July 18, 2018 at 7:17 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Quarterly Market Updates, South Snohomish County |

What’s in your Toolbx to Navigate the Changing Market?

 

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.


Posted on June 29, 2018 at 4:54 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Lynnwood, Market Update, Monthly Newsletter, North King County, Seattle Metro, Shoreline, South Snohomish County, The More you Know |

Where to Watch Fireworks 2018

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.


Posted on June 7, 2018 at 12:52 am
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Uncategorized |

Outdoor Movie Schedule Summer 2018

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.

 

South Snohomish

Arlington’s Old Time Movies

Terrace Park

7/6       Star Wars: The Last Jedi (at the Airport Fly In)

7/12     Early Man

7/19     Peter Rabbit

Edmond’s Outdoor Movie Night

Frances Anderson Center Field

7/27     Moana

8/3       Wonder

Everett’s Cinema Under the Stars

Thornton Sullivan Park, Camp Patterson Field

7/20     Early Man

7/27     Coco

8/3       Wonder

8/10     Moana

8/17     Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Marysville Popcorn in the Park

Jennings Park, Lioins Centennial Pavilion

7/14     Despicable Me 3

7/21     Jumanji

7/28     Cars 3

8/4       Wonder Woman

8/11     Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Sundquist Family Movies in the Park

Willis Tucker Park

7/12     Jumanji

7/19     Ferdinand

7/26     The Greatest Showman

8/2       Coco

8/9       Wonder

8/16     Beauty and the Beast

Eastside

Bellevue Movies in the Park

Downtown Park

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

8/21     Ferdinand

8/28     Ghostbusters

Crossroads Movies in the Park

Crossroads Park

8/2       TBD

8/9       TBD

8/16     TBD

8/23     TBD

 

Carillon Point Outdoor Movies

Carillon Point Plaza

7/7       Despicable Me 3

7/21     The Wedding Singer

8/4       Jumanji

8/18     Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movies at Marymoor

Marymoor Park

6/28     The Goonies

7/5       Wonder Woman

7/11     Jumanji

7/18     Coco

7/25     The Greatest Showman

8/2       10 Things I Hate About You

8/8       Thor: Ragnarok

8/15     Ferdinand

8/22     Black Panther

8/29     The Princess Bride

Seattle Area

Bite of Seattle

Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre

7/20     A League of Their Own

Cinema under the Stars

Columbia Park

7/14     Best of the Children’s International Film Festival

8/18     Coco

Movies at the Marina

Shilshole Bay Marina

8/3       Overboard

8/17     Moana

Movies at the Mural

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

Seattle Outdoor Cinema

South Lake Union Discovery Center

6/16     The Goonies

7/21     Jurassic Park

8/25     Black Panther

West Seattle Outdoor Movies

Fauntleroy Triangle

7/21     Wonder Woman

7/28     The Secret Life of Pets

8/4       Star Wars: The Last Jedi

8/11     A Wrinkle in Time

8/18     Coco

8/25     Black Panther


Posted on June 7, 2018 at 12:44 am
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Uncategorized |

Local Splash Parks

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.

South Snohomish

Daleway Park

19015 64th Ave W, Lynnwood WA 98036

Edmonds City Park

600 3rd Ave S, Edmonds WA 98020

North Lynnwood Park

18510 44th Ave W, Lynnwood WA 98037

Rotary Centennial Water Playground

802 E Mukilteo Blvd, Everett WA 98203

Willis D. Tucker Park

6705 Puget Park Drive, Snohomish WA 98296

Seattle

Georgetown Playfield

750 S Home St, Seattle WA 98108

Northacres Park

12718 1st Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125

Pratt Park

1800 S Main St, Seattle WA 98144

Eastside

Crossroads Water Spray Playground

999 164th Ave NE, Bellevue WA 98008

Grass Lawn Park

7031 148th Ave NE, Redmond WA 98052

Sammamish Commons

801 228th Ave SE, Sammamish WA 98074


Posted on June 7, 2018 at 12:34 am
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Uncategorized |

May Monthly Newsletter

May Monthly Newsletter
Have you had dreams of owning a home or know someone that does?  Jumping into the market as a first-time home buyer can be intimidating, especially within the wild ride of the Greater Seattle market; but there is hope! In an effort to illustrate the reality for first-time buyers in today’s market, my office got together and identified several sets of buyers who recently found success in today’s market and asked them to share their stories. We think this is timely because it is the time of year that we see a surge in inventory, which gives buyers more selection and opportunity. We have two stories to share below, but before we dive into those let’s defy some first-time home buyer myths.

First, many people think it is necessary to have a 20% down payment saved in order to make their first purchase. That is simply not true. While a 20% down payment can help make you more competitive and naturally lowers your monthly payment, it is not the only option. There are loan programs with down payments as low as 3%. Nationally, in March the average down payment for all loans was 10%. For first-timers it was 6% and repeat buyers it was 14%.

Second, expectations around credit scores can use some clarification as well. In March, the average credit score for all loans was 722. For Conventional loans it was 742 and for FHA it was 677.  If your credit needs some work, contact me and I can put you in touch with one of my preferred lenders that can help with credit repair. There is hope, as these numbers are just the average. You’d be surprised that you don’t have to have perfect credit to get the process started.

Lastly, the cost to be a renter is high, and the return on your investment is nothing. Recently, Rent.com did a survey of landlords and 88% said they planned to raise their rents in the next 12 months. In the same survey, 53% said they’d rather place a new tenant with a higher rent versus renegotiate and renew with a current tenant.  This sounds expensive and unstable. Owning leads to building wealth and putting down permanent roots.

Now that we’ve gained some clarity on what it takes to qualify in today’s market, let’s jump into these two honest, yet heartwarming local first-time home buyer stories.

Three Teenagers, One Bathroom, No More

A happy family of five just moved in to this house earlier this month. Two hard working parents, Brandy and Juan, with three teenagers were renting a 3-bedroom, 1-bath rambler in Edmonds and needed more space. It was time to make a move, and they had saved up a 3% down payment for a new home. Their budget was $400,000.

The first step in the home buying process was sitting down with their agent for the initial buyer consultation. This is where they discussed market conditions, desired features such as bedrooms, bathrooms and garage, and their budget. This lead them to explore which locations had the inventory that met their needs in order to stay within their budget. They had to marry these three key points – we like to call this the Triangle of Buyer Clarity. They then identified a few workable locations that had inventory which supported their desired features and their budget and went for it. This upfront research and partnership with their agent lead to Brandy and Juan finding success rather quickly, saving them money in an appreciating market, and a whole lot of strife.

They did this and ultimately bought a great house in Marysville which fit their budget, afforded them the features they desired, and still provided a manageable commute into Lynnwood. Their mortgage payment is higher than their rental rate, but relative to the size of their new home and their investment. Not to mention, they are now on the equity-building train and don’t have to worry about a landlord displacing them. Their monthly mortgage payment is fixed with an awesome low interest rate, and they are super happy to have more than one bathroom for their teenagers.

From North Seattle to West Seattle

First, how cool is this house? Super cool! That’s just how Paul and Ange feel about their newly purchased home in the Highland Park neighborhood of West Seattle. They just closed in early April and have already attended two neighborhood BBQ’s, received gifts from their new neighbors, discovered new parks and restaurants and, wait for it…shortened their commute.

Paul described his new neighborhood, Highland Park, as “magical.” Previously, Paul and Ange were renting in Wedgwood for six years and loved it there. So much that they could not imagine living anywhere else. When they started their home search in late 2017, they kept to strict search criteria of North Seattle because that is what they knew and it was comfortable. After making two offers and not prevailing because they were getting beat out on price, West Seattle was suggested to them as a more affordable option by their agent. The price corner of the Triangle of Buyer Clarity was making itself known as a challenge in North Seattle, so it was time to reconvene.  They sat down with their agent and evaluated the market conditions in West Seattle compared to North Seattle and applied them to their feature list and budget, and voila: West Seattle was calling their names. You see, they wanted a more turn-key home, and the homes they were encountering in their price range in North Seattle needed a lot of work.

They went out on a limb and traveled over the bridge to start looking at homes. They quickly saw the difference – the homes they were interested in were not, as Paul said, “scary”!  The anticipated repairs they would have to make to the homes they were able to afford in North Seattle were daunting and unexciting. They felt much more at ease with the features that the West Seattle homes provided within their price range. They just needed to get comfortable with the idea of moving to a different community.

When they found the house featured above, the leap of faith to West Seattle started to take shape. They prepped a strong offer, did their due diligence, and believe it or not, secured the home in a multiple offer situation at $805,000, which was not the highest price! They listened to their agent and wrote an offer with very strong terms as well as a very well-researched price.  Their agent kept in close contact with the listing agent and the Sellers chose their offer due to all of these factors.

Since moving in almost two months ago, they find themselves in a state of excitement and discovery every day. The community has been welcoming and conversations with neighbors and the random stranger at the grocery store come easily. Paul has observed a strong sense of curiosity within his new community as people are new to the area and are encouraged to build relationships and make discoveries.

In the end, Paul and Ange remained within their price range, bought a home with all the features they wanted, but made what seemed to be at the time, a compromise on location. That compromise ended up being, as they put it, magical! They have never looked back to Wedgwood with regret, only excitement over what their new neighborhood might bring.

The point of these two stories is to debunk the sentiment we hear from time to time, that first-time home buyers cannot find success in our market. With a well-laid-out plan strategically constructed by the agent and client, we are seeing many happy stories for first-timers. The end result is putting these new homeowners on the path to building wealth, growing thriving communities, and making their house their home.

If you or someone you know has dreamed about buying their first home, please reach out. It is my goal to help identify the opportunities that are available, the strategies that find success, and to educate along the way.

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 Q1 report.
When you shop at a local Farmers Market, you’re buying outstanding freshness, quality and flavor. Knowing exactly where your food comes from and how it was grown provides peace of mind for your family. Plus, you’re supporting a sustainable regional food system that helps small family farms stay in business; protects land from development, and provides the community with fresh, healthy food. Find one near you!

 


Posted on May 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Monthly Newsletter |

Help Fight Hunger in our Communities

 

 

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.


Posted on May 13, 2018 at 1:00 am
Kristine Stevens | Posted in Uncategorized |

Does it make sense to Rent vs Own?

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.


Posted on May 13, 2018 at 12:41 am
Kristine Stevens | Posted in The More you Know |