After King County home prices fell to a two-year low in January, the market is already showing signs of a rebound. With more inventory available, buyers now feel like they have something to shop for. Inventory = Opportunity. Not shown in the year-over-year stats: February saw multiple offers returning in some areas. While prices are down from this time last year, the current market is healthy for both buyers and sellers, and having an experienced agent who can translate year-over-year stats vs. real-time conditions is critical. Want to know more? I also have reports for Snohomish and Pierce counties as well.
By Chris Doucet
I start every morning (early, about 4:30 am) by jumping on the Multiple Listing Service and checking on new inventory for all of the many market areas where I work. This area encompasses north to Mukilteo, south to Normandy Park and Seattle east to Sammamish. A broad area, I know, but one where my clients take me. It has been a point of discussion in many of my agent groups that the pickings are slim and the spring listing rush has not yet begun. It is widely known that, historically, spring is the best time to list and sell a home. Flowers are popping up, lawns are green and we are favored with a few more hours of daylight. Every year there are more people who get an early start and list in February. So far, that hasn’t happened and we are now into the 3rd week. Granted, we have been digging ourselves out of a historically long snowfall but this is unusual.
Yesterday, in 9 market areas there were 3 new listings in a 24 hour period.
Why should this be so when the interest rates have decreased and the buyers are out of the holiday hiatus? Prices have stabilized to a more balanced market so perhaps greedy sellers are not as predominant, but this is crazy.
It is the old adage of Supply and Demand. We have buyers but not sellers. The few properties that I have listed over the last few weeks are getting tons of interest and multiple offers. Multiple offers are not a thing of the past, they are happening RIGHT NOW.
If you are a seller, get that home listed NOW before everyone else does who is dragging their feet and waiting for spring to arrive. Take advantage of the demand without the competition that will invariably appear in mid March and April.
The early bird gets the best buyers
#MiniMarketReport: The latest numbers are in, but what’s the real story? Inventory is growing, but prices are still higher than they were this time last year. Thinking of selling? The market is very strong with trade up buyers looking and new hires coming to the area. And for buyers, this is your chance to finally have some choices. We have the market knowledge and expertise to help you succeed in this market. Reach out if you’re ready for a new home in the new year! #CompassEverywhere #FindYourPlace #ClientsFirst
I hope that you are enjoying this beautiful weather and the last days of summer.
I am settling into my new brokerage and the innovation and support that Compass Real Estate provides. If you haven't downloaded the compass.com app yet, it is a wealth of information.
So fortunate to be a Founding Member.
What is happening NOW
You have seen the for sale signs out longer in front of homes, and I'm sure that you are reading the media--especially if you are a seller. For the first time in over three years, home appreciation is flattening a bit. Down from an 18% increase last year to 5%. This still means that we are in a Seller's Market, but the numbers are influenced by a number of factors.
Inventory has increased since June by 48% in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties, the first increase since early 2015. The old supply and demand dynamic. Buyers seem to be taking a break from the crazy bidding wars of this spring.
Also of consequence is our lovely summer weather and Seattle area residents taking much-needed vacations before Labor Day. It happens every year but not usually this dramatically.
What this means for buyers is less frenzy and fewer multiple offers, especially in the under $1M price ranges in desirable neighborhoods. This is good news to buyers who were scrambling to secure a home after submitting up to a dozen offers. After two interest rate increases by the FEDS in 2018, the rates are down slightly. Although we have been jaded by interest rates below 4% in recent years, mortgage rates are still historically low. (I remember building my first house in 1981 at 18%).
To sellers, it means that market time is longer and listing prices need to be realistic. This is the time to make sure that your property is well presented and well represented. My team always goes the extra mile to fine tune your home to mint showing condition, marketing to that specific buyer and negotiating to your best interest.
I predicted that the market would stabilize but no need to panic. The dynamics that created the last housing crash are not relevant. A balanced market is 4-5 months of inventory, and we are now between 1.5 and 1.8 (area specific). This is sustainable growth. As long as there is a growing job market (Seattle/Bellevue added 30,000 net jobs through May of 2018) and demand for housing is strong, we should see more movement in September. Labor Day is coming soon.
Remodel Before You Sell
One of my neighbors is looking at moving sometime over the next few years to a luxury retirement community but was struggling with living with a dated kitchen until then. I came to the rescue with a plan to keep the footprint and update the look and a design that would have broad appeal to the next buyer.
A stainless undermount sink and new faucet, quartz countertops, tile backsplash and new cabinet pulls have brought them joy for today and renovation that will pay off in the future. As a former designer as well as a seasoned real estate professional, I hear too often that the seller wishes that those renovations had been done during their occupancy and not right before listing. Let me help with making the choices that will pay off now and later.
Do you know how much to insure your home? Many of us are dealing with outdated policies but today, I saw one so high it gave me pause. The owners are paying about 30% more than they should. Why? The residence is overvalued as are the contents but even more important is that your insurable value should be placed on the cost of a rebuild and not the land under the home. In Seattle, up to 50% of property values can be in the "dirt". Worst case scenario, you still have the location. Unless a tsunami or an earthquake happens, no need to insure. Save the premiums!
The Real Estate Sign, Reimagined
I am thrilled to be one of the few hundred lucky Compass agents to procure a new, illuminated and intelligent real estate sign. This is the talk of the real estate industry and the first major improvement to yard signs since the 1940s. A circle surrounded with light, QR code and a link to home information via the Compass app, this sign eliminates those rain-soaked flyer boxes and makes walking the dog an informational experience! Watch for a few of them popping up in the Seattle market soon and here is a video about the sign provided by Compass Real Estate
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Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to the accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage.