The Gardner Report – Second Quarter 2017

Economic Overview

The Washington State economy has been expanding at a rapid pace but we are seeing a slowdown as the state grows closer to full employment. Given the solid growth, I would expect to see income growth move markedly higher, though this has yet to materialize. I anticipate that we will see faster income growth in the second half of the year. I still believe that the state will add around 70,000 jobs in 2017.

Washington State, as well as the markets that make up Western Washington, continue to see unemployment fall. The latest state-wide report now shows a rate of 4.5%—the lowest rate since data started to be collected in 1976.

I believe that growth in the state will continue to outperform the U.S. as a whole and, with such robust expansion, I would not be surprised to see more people relocate here as they see Washington as a market that offers substantial opportunity.

Home Sales Activity

  • There were 23,349 home sales during the second quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 1.1% from the same period in 2016.
  • Clallam County maintains its position as number one for sales growth over the past 12 months. Double-digit gains in sales were seen in just three other counties, which is a sharp drop from prior reports. I attribute this to inventory constraints rather than any tangible drop in demand. The only modest decline in sales last quarter was seen in Grays Harbor County.
  • The number of homes for sale, unfortunately, showed no improvement, with an average of just 9,279 listings in the quarter, a decline of 20.4% from the second quarter of 2016. Pending sales rose by 3.6% relative to the same quarter a year ago.
  • The key takeaway from this data is that it is unlikely we will see a significant increase in the number of homes for sale for the rest of 2017.

Home Prices

  • Along with the expanding economy, home prices continue to rise at very robust rates. Year-over-year, average prices rose 14.9%. The region’s average sales price is now $470,187.
  • Price growth in Western Washington continues to impress as competition for the limited number of homes for sale remains very strong. With little easing in supply, we anticipate that prices will continue to rise at above long-term averages.
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in San Juan County where sale prices were 29.2% higher than second quarter of 2016. Eight additional counties experienced double-digit price growth.
  • The specter of rising interest rates failed to materialize last quarter, but this actually functioned to get more would-be buyers off the fence and into the market. This led to even more demand which translated into rising home prices.

Days on Market

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the quarter dropped by 18 days when compared to the same quarter of 2016.
  • King County remains the tightest market; homes, on average, sold in a remarkable 15 days. Every county in this report saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop from the same period a year ago.
  • Last quarter, it took an average of 48 days to sell a home. This is down from the 66 days it took in the second quarter of 2016.
  • Given the marked lack of inventory, I would not be surprised to see the length of time it takes to sell a home drop further before the end of the year.

Conclusions

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the second quarter of 2017, I moved the needle a little more in favor of sellers. To define the Western Washington market as “tight” is somewhat of an understatement.

Inventory is short and buyers are plentiful.

Something must give, but unless we see builders delivering substantially more units than they have been, it will remain staunchly a sellers’ market for the balance of the year.

Furthermore, increasing mortgage rates have failed to materialize and, with employment and income growth on the rise, the regional housing market will continue to be very robust.

 

Matthew 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 over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

 

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

Posted on August 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, economy, interest rates, market trends, real estate, statistics

Seattle / Eastside Market Report – May 2017

The local real estate market—already the hottest in the country—set yet another price record in April. The number of homes for sale dropped 27 percent compared to a year ago, the lowest amount of inventory ever recorded for a spring month. The historically low supply of homes is making competition among buyers fierce. Sellers are in the enviable position of being able to structure sales agreements to include concessions such as rent-backs and longer closing time so they can take the time to find their next home.
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Posted on May 9, 2017 at 10:34 pm
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, economy, interest rates, market trends, real estate, seattle, statistics

2017 Annual Shredding Event

Taxes done? Boxes of  old documents? Join us at our annual shredding event at Windermere Bellevue South.

Posted on April 13, 2017 at 9:59 pm
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, community

Seattle / Eastside Market Update – March 2017

Home prices are growing faster in our region than anywhere else in the country. After a brief slowdown last month, home prices in February jumped to new record highs. The reason? The lowest number of homes for sale on record. The surge in prices came well ahead of the normal seasonal spring uptick, adding even greater urgency among buyers competing for already severely limited inventory. It remains to be seen if the predicted hike in interest rates will help moderate the market. For now, sellers are calling the shots.
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Posted on March 21, 2017 at 3:42 pm
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, economy, interest rates, real estate, seattle, statistics

Remodeled – Private – Somerset

Tasteful remodel in Bellevue’s beloved Somerset, where commuting is a breeze and schools are prized! Nearly every surface has been touched with today’s real-living in mind: quartz, stainless, and cherry custom cabinetry in new open concept kitchen. Sleek finishes in remodeled baths. Resilient IPA hardwoods. Cozy lower level rec room with gas fireplace. Updated systems and low maintenance tile roof. Park-like grounds create serene setting with Somerset Elementary and playground half a block away.

Open Saturday and Sunday 1 – 4 pm

Link to more information here

Posted on February 25, 2017 at 7:55 am
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, listings, real estate, somerset

Local Holiday Light Shows

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Ready to lift your spirits? Shimmering light shows are a brilliant way to celebrate the winter holiday season. Grab a warm coat and go exploring in gardens, zoos and even on the water.  Here are five local venues that are worth braving the cold to see…
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Posted on November 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, community, seattle

Bellevue Schools Foundation

When we moved to Bellevue, it was because of the schools.  My daughter, Mary was 5 years old and getting ready to start kindergarten.   We found Somerset Elementary, not only because of their test scores and achievements, but also because of the parent involvement.  They had 100% PTSA participation.

Getting a good education is more than test scores and national rankings.  It’s about creating emotionally healthy, curious minds and lifelong learners.  Bellevue Schools Foundation supports a wide variety of programs that make this possible through their innovation grants.

Mary is now in her first year at University of British Columbia in Vancouver and loving it.  One of the grants that helps makes the college search process easier is the BSF investment in the Naviance program.  It is a college and career planning platform that starts students out in middle school looking at their strengths and interests, then begins to research college options. In high school, Naviance helps to organize all the aspects of the college application process, communicates with their counselors and tracks their to-do list all the way to college acceptance.

We know one of the reasons people are moving to our area is because of our highly regarded schools.  I am pleased to be an Honor Roll Realtor, giving back to a program that has had a huge impact not only for our family, but also our community.

Please consider supporting the fall fund drive.  For more information or to donate click  ALL IN FOR KIDS or text KIDS to 71760 to give from your mobile device. Every gift dollar makes a difference for Bellevue students!

 

Posted on October 24, 2016 at 10:40 am
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, community, giving back, somerset

Seattle/ Eastside Market Update – September 2016

While homes prices were up by double-digits compared to a year ago, the market frenzy that has affected most of this year is showing some signs of moderating. With the exception of the Eastside, prices for most of the region were down from their peak. Home sales generally outpaced the same period a year ago, but a shortage of inventory continues to tip the advantage in favor of sellers.

Eastside

Click image to view full report.
Click image to view full report.

Bucking the trend of moderating prices, the Eastside saw the median home price soar 14 percent over last year to a new record high of $769,000. That eclipses the previous peak of $760,000 in May of this year. Very tight inventory in this highly desirable market was reflected in flat sales growth compared to a year ago.

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Posted on September 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, economy, market trends, real estate, seattle, statistics

Somerset Tree House

 

4408 photo

Seamlessly Integrated Indoor/Outdoor Space  This special residence was designed for people who seek a peaceful respite from busy urban life, but wish to be close the conveniences that living in the city brings. Set at the top of Somerset Hill and located on a quiet street backing to a greenbelt.  Beautifully updated with high-end finishes throughout. Gourmet kitchen featuring Wolf, Dacor, Sub-Zero, Bosch and Viking.  Walls of windows frame the tree lined views of Lake Sammamish and Cascade mountain range.  Short walk to Somerset Elementary and Rec Club, or drive to neighborhood shops and dining.  Easy commute to downtown Seattle and Bellevue and Sea-Tac airport.  Award winning Bellevue Schools, Somerset, Tyee, Newport High  You’ll love living here! 4408 144th Ave SE, Bellevue $1,298,000

Full listing information here.

 

Posted on September 25, 2016 at 12:16 pm
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, listings, real estate, somerset

Client Success Story – Moving to the Lake

clarke

On the 4th of July, friends were out on Lake Washington enjoying the sunshine and a day of boating.  They got to talking and decided they wanted to live on the water.  They were now empty-nesters and ready to make the move.  They got home, started looking online and found a house that they were interested in.  They called me and we got together the following day to start to make a plan on how to make it possible.

We discussed the elements of an offer.  The listing had been on the market a few weeks and we decided to make the offer contingent on the sale of their house.  After going back and forth on a few things, we reached an agreement and their offer was accepted.  Now we had to get their house on the market and get it sold.

We negotiated some extra time in order to get their house ready. Then my team leaped into action.  In the matter of two weeks, we met with the stager, installed new carpet, paint, granite countertops, and light fixtures. We had carpets, windows and the whole house cleaned.  The house was inspected, and the furnace was serviced. We were ready for photographer.

And then on Thursday, we got a call from the listing agent.  We were getting bumped. That meant we had 2 business days to get their house sold… and the photographer hadn’t even been to the house yet. We had until Monday at 9 pm to remove the contingency.   We discussed strategy and activated the listing while waiting for the professional photos to come back.  We decided to hold the house open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then review offers on Monday. We were cutting it close.

By networking with other agents, contacting those with buyers in the neighborhood, and online advertising, we had about 70 groups through their property.  When we sat down to review offers, we had four offers and the property sold for over list price with the inspection and appraisal waived.  We were able to remove the contingency on their purchase and proceed toward closing.

So from what started as an idea out on the water with friends, became a reality when they moved into their new waterfront home a short two months later. It’s so exciting when it works out so well.  It was a lot of work in short time frame, but by working together it had a very happy ending.

Posted on September 20, 2016 at 9:50 pm
Stephanie Kristen | Category: bellevue, listings, marketing, preparing your home, real estate, seattle, somerset