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.
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 esteemed economist, Matthew Gardner, has released his 3rd quarter assessment of our Western WA real estate market. Enjoy!
My office, Windermere Wedgwood, publishes statistics for the transactions that we represent each month.
These statistics dive deeper than the basic info you get from online sources.
The pack below shows transaction details like type of financing, cash offers, # of offers and the one I find most interesting this month, median sold price.
The median sold price for the 16 transactions completed by my office in December 2018 was $839k vs. $759k from Dec. 2017 or +10.5%
Even with the Seattle Times headlines about Seattle’s rapid decrease in prices, the numbers don’t lie, +10% vs last year!
So much for the HQ2/3 impact on the Seattle employment picture.
This workforce report is pulled from LinkedIn data but a good indicator of what’s happening in the broader market.
While Amazon might be slowing down their rate of hiring in Seattle, others are ramping up for 2019 and beyond – Expedia, Facebook and Google to name a few.
Seattle is still a great place to invest your real estate dollar and looks to continue…
Has your lender told you about the upcoming changes for conforming loans in 2019?
Make sure you’re working with a knowledgeable lender that keeps you informed on the latest and the greatest.
Thank you Matt for always keeping me up to date.
New conforming loan limits for King/Pierce/Snohomish county – all the way up to $726,525.
Gives you more purchasing power and reach.
A $725,000 home purchase will now qualify for a conforming loan with as little as 5% down payment of $36,250.
You’ll be able to afford more home and still be competitive in the changing Seattle area market!
What you want to pay attention to in the attached eye chart of a graph is the bottom graph and how every winter (December) for the last 10 years, we see a dramatic slow down in sales.
So yes, the rate of appreciation has slowed in the Seattle area since May 2018.
But, we also see a slow down in transactional sales every winter.
Put them together and it seems more dramatic and remember we had quite a run up of prices over the last 5 years.
* Mortgage Rates will climb when Fed raises prime rate early 2019.
* Amazon announces HQ2 location(s), will Amazonians move? Not likely, Seattle is still one of the most desirable cities in US for tech workers.
* Facebook just announced, increasing office space in Bellevue + S. Lake Union.
* We have 34 Fortune 500 companies in Seattle, was only 7 in 2010!
* Seattle will still be hiring moving into 2019. We’re more than just Amazon.
* Home Prices will continue to increase at new slower rate but Still Increasing.
Because of all of these reasons, I think the Seattle housing market will continue to grow and appreciate.
So, waiting for prices to drop is a long shot and the wild card of increasing Interest Rates will lower buyer’s purchasing power next Spring.
We know where we are now, the future is a gamble with so many variables.
This is why buyer’s should purchase this winter in Seattle.
Seattle still at the top for Rental cost, #3.
We’ve had a big runup for Rents over the last few years because of a lot of population growth and a shortage of rental units.
This is good intel to have for investors and potential buyers waiting on the sidelines to buy in Seattle.
Most economist point to all of the building cranes around Seattle that are flooding the market with new rentals.
This is true but these new rentals are coming on in the upper end of the market so there is and will still be a shortage in Seattle of affordable rentals.
As with our housing prices, things are still rising just not as much as the last few years.
This fact along with the uncertainty of interest rates rising as well, this winter could be the best time to get into the Seattle real estate market.
If you’re waiting for prices to actually decline, for renting or purchasing, it doesn’t look like that will be happening in 2019.
But the slowdown in price appreciation this summer and fall has created a good opportunity to enter the hot Seattle market during a “pause” in the frenzy.
Goto SeattlePI for the complete list/story.