I’m still amazed at the residential housing market’s resiliency through all that his happening in our economy.
Cliff notes below from our designated broker, Laura Smith –
Expect more new listings. Expect more new pending sales. Historically March to July are the five months with the most new listings (10 year average for King County Residential shown in table below). The coronavirus likely delayed new listings by 45 to 60 days. What will happen with more new listings? More new sales. My guess is starting in July number of sales in 2020 will exceed the number of sales in 2019.
King County Residential Only for the weeks ended Wednesday (5/27/20):
Summary (details below):
The number of new pending sales in the last seven days exceeded the same week in prior year.
- Expect next week for sales to be between 80% and 100% of the prior year.
- Memorial Day under the stay order had less impact on sales than Memorial Day with no stay order.
Number of King county pending sales increased for the last nine weeks:266, 309, 367, 460, 489, 508, 598, 622, and 645.
We need inventory! Inventory is down over 40% and sales are equal to a year ago.
Months Supply of Inventory is low enough to make multiple offers commonplace:
- King County is 0.9 > down 40% from a year ago (1.6).
- Seattle is 0.9 > down 53% from a year ago (1.9).
- Eastside is 1.0 > down 50% from a year ago (2.0).
This is a great article from our Windermere Blog by Sandy Dodge in our new reality of real estate.
Questions to Ask During Your Virtual Home Tour
Image Source: Canva
Thanks to COVID-19, the new reality is that many open houses and home tours are being conducted virtually. For prospective home buyers, this new territory brings an added element to prepare for in the home buying process. Some of the questions that should be asked in a virtual home tour parallel those of in-person tours, but others are unique to today’s virtual world.
Could you zoom in?
- Sometimes it can be difficult to get a true glimpse at what you want to see in a room. Asking the agent to zoom in on specific features is commonplace in virtual home tours, and they understand this is part of the viewer experience. Don’t hesitate to ask multiple times. Getting a better look at everything you want to see will help you feel like you’ve gotten the most out of your virtual tour.
How many square feet are in this room?
- Virtual tours can slightly distort space, making it tough to gauge the size. The room-to-room square footage is information the agent is sure to have handy. Since you can’t be there in person, it will help you piece together the virtual visuals with the sense of physical space that we’re all accustomed to feeling in the places we live.
What color is that?
- In the smartphone era, and computer era at large, we have come to understand that digital representations of color are not always true to the eye. Ask the agent to confirm specific colors so you can plan accordingly. Have a color swatch on hand or look the colors up online as you go through the tour.
When were the appliances last updated?
- The importance of this question rings true in past, present, and future. Knowing the state of the home’s appliances, and the likelihood and timing of when they will need replacement, is vital information for both assessing the move-in readiness of the home and understanding what costs might lie ahead.
Has the seller provided an inspection?
- This is another example of a critical question, whether your home tour is virtual or physical. If the seller has already done an inspection, ask the agent to lead you to any areas of concern based on the inspector’s findings. If there is anything that has not yet been addressed by the seller, have your agent ask what their plan is for making the necessary repairs/updates.
When is the offer review date?
- Understanding the seller’s timeline for reviewing and accepting offers will help guide your decision-making process and allow you to strategize based on the timeline.
Whether your home tour is physical or virtual, getting the information you need to make an informed decision remains paramount. Although there is no substitute for physically being in the home you are looking to buy, keeping these questions in mind will position you well as you progress through the home buying journey.
Gov. Inslee lays out our plan
A 4 Phase plan to re-open Washington from the Stay Home Order.
In this letter, I will give my interpretation of this plan and how it relates to real estate along with updates and clarifications from the WA Realtor Association.
This plan is similar to many other states including NY and CA in that it has specifics about what can open at each Phase but doesn’t put a timeline on future phases.
But, Phase 1 started on Monday the 5th! Each phase should last about 3 weeks.
The WA Realtor Assc. announcement, below, interprets the governors announcement for real estate activity.
It says that all real estate activities will be allowed in Phase 2, with the exception of maybe in person open houses since gatherings are restricted to 5 people total.
Also in Phase 2, housecleaning is allowed which I think gives way to allowing contractors into your house to prep your home for sale.
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES 4 PHASE APPROACH – from WA Realtors Assc.
On Friday, May 1st Governor Inslee announced an extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to May 31st and laid out a phased approach to re-opening the State economy. Phase 1 begins Tuesday, May 5th. Please note that this does not affect the modifications that were made to the original Stay Home, Stay Healthy order that allow certain real estate activities to take place.
Phase 2 businesses will include all other real estate activity including commercial real estate, the re-opening of real estate offices, and services such as sign installation. Phase 2 also allows gatherings outside your residence for up to 5 people, which presumably would apply to parts of the real estate transaction such as showings, appraisals notarizations, etc. The Governor’s phased-in plan will apply in counties that have been harder hit by COVID-19. The 10 counties that have not been as impacted by the virus will be allowed to apply for waivers that will let them open up faster (see KING5 story for summary).
Although it is not yet clear when Phase 2 will begin, we will be in constant dialog to make our case for the earliest possible start date that is consistent with maintaining public health as the number one priority, and we also will continue urging the Governor’s office to approve additional, and safe, modifications that we’ve requested to allow brokers to more fully meet the needs of their clients.
RE Transactions Rebound
Transactions in Seattle and King Co. bottomed out the first week of April, down -65% vs LY but have been increasing since this low.
This data plus a decrease in market time to sell a home and a +8% increase in sold home prices in April in Seattle show us that there are still buyers in the market and they are transacting.
The residential real estate market is still active and I think it will be headed back to “normal” once we are further along into Phases 2 & 3 this summer.
Only time will tell how the Stay Home Order will ultimately impact our housing market.
So far, real estate is fairing better than most segments of our economy.
Almost $700k for our neighbors in need!!
Thank you, thank you to all that helped support this incredibly worthy cause to help our neighbors in need and bring food and resources to our local food banks.
Our agent supported Windermere Foundation matched $250,000 to the $440,000 raised to get the total donation to almost $700,000! Amazing!
Life goes on…
more challenging for the most vulnerable in our city.
Things around my house have been moving forward, sometimes without me. I owe so much to my incredible family!
They have all stepped up and kept a positive attitude while spreading some kindness.
With love, the Johnson’s
My wife, Lari, and I celebrated our lucky
13th wedding anniversary in early May!
WR & NWMLS RELEASE REAL ESTATE GUIDANCE FOR PHASE 2
May 20, 2020
Governor Inslee announced that ten additional Washington Counties have been approved to apply for Phase 2 recovery status. Additional counties will be considered by the administration to apply when their infection rates per thousand residents meet the threshold set by the Governors recovery plan. Counties must also demonstrate the health care capacity and tracing ability to qualify.
The counties now approved for Phase 2 must comply with the regulations and protocols set forth by the Governor to protect public safety.
Washington REALTORS® and the NWMLS have revised the Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions to assist you in applying those regulations to your day-to-day business. Please discard previous copies of your FAQs for this revision.
Leadership and your Government Affairs team have worked very hard to earn these modifications, please continue to demonstrate compliance with the regulations so we can expand Phase 2 eligible counties.
Phase 1 counties (gray) status has not changed and business practices have not changed from previous weeks. When infections rates go down and other requirements are met, they too can apply for Phase 2.
Recap of modifications for Phase 2 include:
- Real estate firms may open their offices in a limited fashion;
- Commercial brokers can engage in the same in-person services as residential brokers;
- Three persons (as opposed to two persons) are allowed on site for permitted in-person real estate activities for both residential and commercial brokerage (for both improved and unimproved property); and
- Sign installers may install real estate signs.
For both Phase 1 and Phase 2 in-person real estate activities, real estate brokers and industry partners (e.g. appraisers, inspectors, photographers, stagers, etc.) must wear cloth face coverings and should encourage clients and customers to do the same.
Public and broker open houses and similar invitations to view a property without an appointment are not permitted in Phase 1 or Phase 2. Only previews and showings by appointment are allowed.
Brokers must adhere to the “phase” protocols for the county where the property is located, regardless of the location of the broker’s office or home. Brokers conducting real estate activities in a Phase 1 county, must continue to abide by the Phase 1 protocols, which include only allowing two persons in a property, including the broker, at one time.
Duncan Place is an amazing investment condo!
Superior location with easy access to the best of Seattle – University of Washington, Trader Joe’s & Upcoming U District Link Light Rail to everywhere.
Exceptional 2nd floor unit on SW corner opens to large deck.
Well maintained like new 2009 building. Secure parking & storage in garage.
Great Room – kitchen with granite counter tops & upgraded appliances. hardwoods throughout + carpet in bedroom.
NO RENTAL CAP. Walk Score(TM) of 94! Location is everything for living this Seattle lifestyle!
Minutes walk to the U District Link Light Rail station coming early 2021!
Minutes to the South End of Lake Union.
Zero (0) step building is well maintained inside and out with secure lobby for mail and packages + secure common garage.
Artist rendering of the U District Link station coming early 2021 – 12 minutes to downtown Seattle!
I was able to listen to our chief economist for Windermere yesterday for his annual economic forecasts heading into 2020. The slides below illustrate his forecast for the Seattle area moving into 2020. #realestateislocal
Matthew Gardner, while being one of the brightest minds in our company, knows how to deliver a message.
We all know that most economist are calling for a national recession in the not too distant future. But most are now pushing back for this to begin in mid 2021, be short lived and not focused on the housing market like the great recession.
Matthew feels the next recession will be due to the ongoing trade wars with China and the EU as well as our escalating national debt. With interest rates already at historic lows, the Fed will NOT be able to help end the recession by lowering rates.
But the Seattle area will be somewhat insulated to these national issues in the coming years, here’s why…
- We’re no longer a one trick pony. Like when this sign from 1973 went up during a Boeing slump. Seattle’s industries have diversified. There are now 34 Fortune 500 companies in the Seattle Area compared to 7 just a few years ago! Boeing is still king with over 80,000 employees in the area but their ups and downs don’t threaten the Seattle economy like they did not too long ago.
- The tech industry is the largest employer in the Seattle Metro area and have driven our unemployment #’s down to 3%.
- The other employers to round out the top 5 for the Seattle area are JBLM, Joint Base Lewis McCord (56,000), Microsoft (42,000), Amazon (25,000) and UW, University of WA (25,000). A healthy mix of different industries that are projected to grow their employment by 2.2% next year, again leading the nation.
- All of these growing companies in the Seattle area are why our economy will continue to expand through 2020.
- There is still no signs of a Housing Bubble.
Our Windermere Wedgwood office does our market stats monthly and reviews them together at our Monday Morning Mtg, MMM.
Yesterday, the consensus was that based on current market conditions, we’re going to have an active early Spring market here in North Seattle!
We’re seeing more activity (# of homes sold graph) this winter despite lower inventory (months of inventory graph).
This is causing prices to increase this winter and exceed prices from LY (Average Sales Price graph).
So if you’re going to be in the Spring 2020 housing market, start your prep as soon as the tree comes down.
Our esteemed economist, Matthew Gardner, has released his 3rd quarter assessment of our Western WA real estate market. Enjoy!
Hot off the press, the Gardner Report on the Western WA housing market. Matthew is always insightful and brings his expert opinion on our local economy, jobs & policies and how they will impact housing. A good read for anyone planning a move in W.WA!
Posted July 25 2019, 11:00 AM PDT by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate
Western Washington Real Estate Market Update
The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.
Washington State employment jumped back up to an annual growth rate of 2.4% following a disappointing slowdown earlier in the spring. As stated in the first quarter Gardner Report, the dismal numbers earlier this year were a function of the state re-benchmarking its data (which they do annually).
The state unemployment rate was 4.7%, marginally up from 4.5% a year ago. My current economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will rise by 2.6%, with a total of 87,500 new jobs created.
- There were 22,281 home sales during the second quarter of 2019, representing a drop of 4.8% from the same period in 2018. On a more positive note, sales jumped 67.6% compared to the first quarterof this year.
- Since the middle of last year, there has been a rapid rise in the number of homes for sale, which is likely the reason sales have slowed. More choice means buyers can be more selective and take their time when choosing a home to buy.
- Compared to the second quarter of 2018, there were fewer sales in all counties except Whatcom and Lewis. The greatest declines were in Clallam, San Juan, and Jefferson counties.
- Listings rose 19% compared to the second quarter of 2018, but there are still a number of very tight markets where inventory levels are lower than a year ago. Generally, these are the smaller — and more affordable — markets, which suggests that affordability remains an issue.
- Year-over-year price growth in Western Washington continues to taper. The average home price during second quarter was $540,781, which is 2.8% higher than a year ago. When compared to first quarter of this year, prices were up 12%.
- Home prices were higher in every county except King, which is unsurprising given the cost of homes in that area. Even though King County is home to the majority of jobs in the region, housing is out of reach for many and I anticipate that this will continue to act as a drag on price growth.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Lewis County, where home prices were up 15.9%. Double-digit price increases were also seen in Mason, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, and Skagit counties.
- The region’s economy remains robust, which should be a positive influence on price growth. That said, affordability issues are pervasive and will act as a headwind through the balance of the year, especially in those markets that are close to job centers. This will likely force some buyers to look further afield when searching for a new home.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home matched the second quarter of 2018.
- Snohomish County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 21 days to sell. There were five counties where the length of time it took to sell a home dropped compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in eight counties and two were unchanged.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 41 days to sell a home in the second quarter of 2019. This was the same as a year ago but is down 20 days compared to the first quarter of 2019.
- As stated above, days-on-market dropped as we moved through the spring, but all markets are not equal. I suggest that this is not too much of an issue and that well-priced homes will continue to attract attention and sell fairly rapidly.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I am leaving the needle in the same position as the first quarter as demand appears to still be strong.
The market has benefitted from a fairly significant drop in mortgage rates. With average 30-year fixed rates still below 4%, I expect buyers who have been sitting on the fence will become more active, especially given that they have more homes to choose from.
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.