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!
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 esteemed economist, Matthew Gardner, has released his 3rd quarter assessment of our Western WA real estate market. Enjoy!
The Gardner Report will tell you what’s happening in WWA real estate and a forecast for 2019.
The other graphs show you how the Seattle real estate market is trending for Q1 of 2019.
Some of the hotter neighborhoods are seeing over +15% price appreciation Feb to Mar 2019.
But most economist don’t feel we’re returning to the craziness of the last few years.
A much more manageable growth rate moving forward for Seattle, that’s nice for everyone, buyers and sellers.
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…
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.
All things real estate in Western WA from our own Matthew Gardner.
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 continues to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation and there is little to suggest that there will be any marked slowdown in the foreseeable future. Over the past year, the state has added 105,900 new jobs, representing an annual growth rate of 3.2%. This remains well above the national rate of 1.65%. Private sector employment gains continue to be robust, increasing at an annual rate of 3.7%. The strongest growth sectors were Construction (+7.4%), Information (+6.2%), and Professional & Business Services (+6.1%). The state’s unemployment rate was 4.5%, down from 4.8% a year ago.
All year I’ve been predicting that Washington State’s annual job growth would outperform the nation as a whole, and we now know with certainty that this is going to be the case. Furthermore, I am now able to predict that statewide job growth in 2019 will be equally strong, with an expected increase of 2.6%.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- There were 22,310 home sales during the third quarter of 2018. This is a significant drop of 12.7% compared to the third quarter of 2017.
- The number of homes for sale last quarter was up 14.5% compared to the third quarter of 2017, continuing a trend that started earlier in the year. However, the increase in listings was only in Seattle’s tri-county area (King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties) while listing activity was down across the balance of the region.
- Only two counties had a year-over-year increase in home sales, while the rest of Western Washington saw sales decrease.
- The region has reached an inflection point. With the increase in the number of homes for sale, buyers now have more choices and time to make a decision about what home to buy.
- As inventory levels start to rise, some of the heat has been taken off the market,
- which caused home prices in the Western Washington region to go up by a
- relatively modest 6.2% over last year to $503,039. Notably, prices are down
- by 4.4% when compared to the second quarter of this year.
- Home prices, although higher than a year ago, continue to slow due to the
- significant increase in the number of homes for sale. This, in my opinion,
- is a very good thing.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in
- Lewis County, where home prices were up 15.3%. Six other counties experienced
- double-digit price increases.
- Slowing price growth was inevitable; we simply could not sustain the increases
- we’ve experienced in recent years. Lower rates of appreciation will continue until
- wage growth catches up.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by four days compared to the same quarter of 2017.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 39 days to sell a home in the third quarter of this year. This is down from 43 days in the third quarter of 2017 and down 2 days when compared to the second quarter of 2018.
- King County continues to be the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 19 days to sell. Every county in the region other than Skagit and King — which both saw the time on the market rise by 2 days — saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop when compared to the same period a year ago.
- More choice in the market would normally suggest that the length of time it takes to sell a home should rise, but the data has yet to show that. That said, compared to last quarter, we are seeing some marked increases in days on market in several counties, which will be reflected in future reports.
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 started to move the needle toward buyers last quarter and have moved it even further this quarter. Price growth continues to slow, but more significant is the rise in listings, which I expect to continue as we move toward the quieter winter period.
I believe that psychology will start to play a part in the housing market going forward. It has been more than 15 years since we’ve experienced a “balanced” market, so many home buyers and sellers have a hard time remembering what one looks like. Concerns over price drops are overrated and the length of time it’s taking to sell a home is simply trending back to where it used to be in the early 2000s.
Mr. Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.