According to a recent report by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, well-priced homes are drawing multiple offers, with jumps in both pending and closed home sales compared to this time last year. While the number of new listings is also up, the overall inventory of available homes is still low compared to buyer demand…and with interest rates starting to climb, the competition among buyers has reached a fever pitch.
Click here for the full article and a county-by-county statistical summary!
The housing market recovery, locally and nationally, and the low inventory in our region are both hot topics of interest. Windermere Blog featured posts on both subjects this week. Windermere's president, OB Jacobi, discusses the low inventory in our region in his post Time to Reality Check the Real Estate Market. From the post:
"Here are the current inventory levels in key markets along the West Coast, all of which fall below six months of supply and report strong competition among buyers. · Seattle: 1.4 months · Portland: 4.2 months · San Francisco: 1.8 months · Las Vegas: 3.8 months · Palm Springs: 2.5 months"
Mr. Jacobi discusses what this means to buyer and sellers, along with discussing the impact of current interest rates and its effect on affordability. Matthew Gardner, principal at Gardner Economics, compiled a report on how our region fared during the 4th Quarter of 2012. He provides analysis of Western Washington's job market along with the housing market. He, too, touched on our region's low inventory:
"As stated previously, I do worry about the lack of homes for sale. If we do not see a fairly dramatic increase in inventory, I fear that the market will be forced to give some of its recent gains back— albeit temporarily. Because of this fact, and regardless of the solid price growth that we are witnessing, I am still unable to raise my grade above the 'C' that I gave it last quarter."
With that being said, Gardner goes on to state in his conclusions:
"From a real estate standpoint, it is clear that we are now well removed from the days when home prices were hemorrhaging. Home values have stabilized and a recovery in values is underway. The credit markets have thawed and getting a mortgage is easier now than it has been since the housing “bubble” exploded. Interest rates remain at historic lows, and although I believe that they will rise in 2013, the increase should be modest."
Please take time to read both blog posts. They are full of pertinent data for those interested in our current housing market. To quote OB Jacobi, "It goes without saying that nobody wants to sell at the bottom of the market, yet at the same time, everybody wants to buy at the bottom. Obviously these two scenarios can’t exist at the same time, but I hope the information in this blog shows there are definitely opportunities to be had by both buyers and sellers that are worth considering."
While only you can decide when it’s the right time to purchase a new home for your family, there are some compelling reasons to consider a move now rather than later…
Did you know that sellers moving up to a more expensive home actually fare better when prices are low? As you can see in the chart below, even move-up sellers who bought in the peak of the market will come out ahead. This is because the money you save on your more expensive home will outweigh the loss of value on your current home.
While waiting may increase the value of your current home, it will also increase the purchase price of your new home. According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices–the leading measure of US home prices–prices are already up 7.4% year-over-year in the Seattle Metropolitan area. If you’re moving up to a more expensive home, this means you’ll actually have less net gain by waiting to sell and purchase your new home.
Rising interest rates will also have a direct impact on your bottom line. Our current 3.4% interest rate represents a phenomenal low. How low? Buyers now actually pay less monthly interest on a median-priced $399,950 house in Seattle today than they did on a median-priced $265,000 house back in 2000. Considering wage inreases since then, that's pretty incredible! However, rates have started slowly creeping up since December and are expected to rise to 4.4% by the end of the year. Even this small change can mean a huge difference in both your monthly mortgage payment and the loan amount you can can qualify for…
A shortage of homes for sale in the current market means less competition for sellers. Right now, there are less homes for sale in the Seattle-Eastside area than we've seen in the past 15 years (as long as we've been keeping record!). While that might make it harder to find the right home to purchase, it will also reduce the time it takes to sell your current home. Buyers are quickly snapping up homes as they become available, and we're even seeing multiple offers on homes that are strategically priced and well-prepared for market. Selling your house faster will minimize the typical household disruptions–such as showings and open houses–that you would typically have to contend with during a slower market.
Have questions? Contact me any time…I am never too busy to help!
*1: Projected increase based on current 7.4% year-over-price gains for the Seattle area as shown in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
*2: Projected average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate in Q4 2013 based on the Mortgage Bankers Association predictions.
S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release, January 29th, 2013
© Copyright 2013, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island.
Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics and is considered to be one of the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest. In his third quarter report for 2012, he continues to see positive growth in the economy and real estate in Western Washington, but the rate of growth has tapered. This is mainly due to very low levels of inventory and likely to be temporary. He does not see the ‘shadow inventory’ of distressed housing flooding the market, but rather as inventory that will play an important part of the housing recovery. To see the entire report, click here.
I am just starting my gift shopping and wanted to share a few great gift ideas for those people on our list who are tough to shop for…
Unusual gifts – How about whiskey rocks (shown on left) that will keep your drink chilled but not watered down? I found unusualgifts.com and they have lots of fun ideas, including a portable ping pong set – don’t we all need one of those?
Personalized stationary – I am big believer in hand written notes and this can make a wonderful gift that you know will get used. Check out Minted.com or TinyPrints.com for inspiration. Also, a nice pen makes a great gift; Silberman Brown Stationers has a great selection of pens and a multitude of options for personalized stationary.
Cooking classes – Not only a gift, but a fun experience as well. SurlaTable.com features classes like “Better with Bacon” and “Cooking without Recipes” to bring out your inner chef.
Terrarium – If you prefer something homemade, find an interesting glass vase or jar and add rocks, shells, mosses, orchids or succulents, these are beautiful on bathroom counters and make great hostess gifts.
Most importantly, your presence is the greatest gift you can give, so be sure not to over-do it this holiday season and remember to take care of yourself so you can fully enjoy your time with friends and family. Enjoy the season!
As winter approaches and temperatures start dropping, will you be warm and snug in your house? Is the outside of your home ready to face cool temps and windchill?
Now is a great time to winterize your home…while the weather is still mild, take some time to complete winter basic maintenance; you'll be glad you did when the freezing temps of January hit. Also, putting together a winter action plan for inside your home will help. Your time and money are important; doing a little now will save you both in the long run.
Here’s a list of things to check on the outside of your home:
- Outdoor faucets: detach those hoses from the faucet. Insulate the faucet with a styrofoam cover. During extended cold, turn off the water running to the outdoor faucet.
- Gutters: make sure they are free of debris. Ice can form when water collects in plugged gutters, a situation which can create the potential for water seepage into your home. While checking out the gutters, see if water draining out of the downspout is flowing away from the house’s foundation.
- A/C Lines: make sure the lines are drained if you have an a/c unit. If the air conditioner has a water shut off valve , it’s a good idea to turn it off for the winter.
- Check for Air Leaks: look in those areas where two different materials meet. Inside your home, carefully carry a lit incense stick around potentially leaky spots (electrical outlets, door and window frames, recessed lighting, cable entries). You’ll see the smoke being moved by any drafts present. You and a friend can also try out a hair dryer test. The person outside operates the hair dryer around the window frame. The person inside holds carefully a lit candle. If the flame flickers, the window frame needs caulking or weatherstripping around it.
Strategies to use indoors to stay warm:
- Ceiling fans: reverse the direction the fan turns to push warm air down away from the ceiling.
- Electrical Outlets: Add foam insulation gaskets around the outlet and use outlet covers when not in use.
- Exterior doors: add doorsweeps to each exterior door and use draft stoppers.
- Furnace: change the filter. Have the furnace serviced regularly. Make sure registers are open and not covered by furniture, drapes or loose carpeting.
- Fireplaces: keep the damper closed when not in use. Remember to open the damper before building a fire. Have your chimney inspected— it may need to be swept by a chimney sweep.
Don’t forget that extra layers go a long way. Putting on a long sleeve, light-weight sweater adds about two degrees of warmth to our bodies. Throw on a heavier sweater and receive a 4 degree warmth bonus.
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
With the weather changing and the upcoming holidays, many of us are enjoying more time in one of the most important rooms of the house, the kitchen. It's the hub for not only food preparation and dining, but socializing as well. In Feng Shui the kitchen relates to your health and wealth; based on the premise that as we nourish our bodies with healthy food, we are enabled to go out into the world and create wealth and other resources for our lives.
Here are five easy ways to tune up your kitchen in time for the holidays…
1. Add a fresh fruit and a fruit bowl to symbolize the abundance of nature
2. Place a shiny tea kettle on the stove top that reflects the burners and symbolically double your wealth potential
3. Display glass containers of grains and colorful pastas as a visual reminder to eat healthy
4. Rotate the use of the stove top burners keeping the fire element energized
5. Fix any plumbing leaks – water represents money energy in Feng Shui
Considering a kitchen remodel? I have some great resources to help you maximize your layout design.
Tips courtesy of Cynthia Chomos, Feng Shui Consultant and Color Designer, cynthiachomos.com.
The Seattle market has remained incredibly active with sales up 15% over the same quarter last year—1855 homes sold in the third quarter of 2012 compared to 1609 homes sold during the same period in 2011. The average sales price slipped ever so slightly to $474,633 while the median sales price increased 4% to $407,000.
Condominium sales are up a whopping 33% in the third quarter. Mimicking the single-family trend, the condo average sales price is down while the median sales price is up.
Click here for the full report and to see how prices have changed in your neighborhood!
Mercer Island has seen brisk sales activity once again this quarter with sales up over 10% compared to the same quarter last year. A larger percentage of high end homes sales (deceptively) increased the average sales price to $1,405,792. The median sales price increased from $800,000 last year to $900,000 this year.
Brokers in the field note that the most desirable homes have received multiple offers and have seen moderate price appreciation in the past year, whereas more challenged properties have continued to languish. A handful of luxury estates have changed hands in the past quarter indicating continued strength in the upper end of the high-end market.
Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!
The Eastside has been a hotbed of activity with sales up over 28% compared to the same quarter last year—2086 homes sold in the third quarter of 2012 compared to 1634 homes sold during the same period in 2011. The average sales price, $623,836 was up 6% from third quarter 2011 while the median price remained the same at $510,000. The cost per square foot increased to $231.
Condominium sales were up 22% to 616 units sold this quarter with an increase in average sales price to $296,732 and a median sales price of $230,000.
Click here for the full report and to see how prices fared in your neighborhood!
© Copyright 2012, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.
Fall: what a perfect excuse for change around your home and in your wardrobe! This autumn, fashion designers are combining versatile mocha, grey and gold neutrals with a boost of spirited hues. Where the muted rust of autumns past blended quietly with the natural scenery, this year's palette sets out to rival it with vivid tangerine, jewel-tone greens and a brilliant blue surpassing even the clearest autumn sky. Rounding out the palette are feminine shades of rich lavender, smoky rose and a sizzling pink sure to warm up those chilly days.
Whether you're looking for fun seasonal decor or that perfect fall scarf, try out these hot new hues for an instant style update…
View Pantone’s full report for designer quotes, sketches and more!
Picnic on the beach, build sandcastles, find a treasure, or just read a book and relax. I hope you enjoy these great spots to visit as you explore our beautiful Puget Sound region.
Best Beaches for Sand
Alki Beach—West Seattle
Golden Gardens—North Seattle
Carkeek Park—North Seattle
Dash Point State Park—Federal Way
Best Beaches for Fires (In designated pits only)
Alki Beach—West Seattle
Golden Gardens—North Seattle
Best Beaches with Playgrounds
Golden Gardens—North Seattle
Best Beaches for Sea Creatures
Best Beach Walks
With a stroller:
Alki Beach—West Seattle
Lincoln Park—West Seattle
With a backpack:
Best Beaches for Picnic
Kayak Point Regional Park—Stanwood
Saltwater State Park—Des Moines
Dash Point State Park——Federal Way
Lake Sammamish State Park—Issaquah