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 me.
Washington State employment has softened slightly to an annual growth rate of 2%, which is still a respectable number compared to other West Coast states and the country as a whole. In all, I expect that Washington will continue to add jobs at a reasonable rate though it is clear that businesses are starting to feel the effects of the trade war with China and this is impacting hiring practices. The state unemployment rate was 4.6%, marginally higher than the 4.4% level of a year ago. My most recent economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will rise by 2.2%, with a total of 88,400 new jobs created.
- There were 22,685 home sales during the third quarter of 2019, representing a slight increase of 0.8% from the same period in 2018 and essentially at the same level as in the second quarter.
- Listing activity — which rose substantially from the middle of last year — appears to have settled down. This is likely to slow sales as there is less choice in the market.
- Compared to the third quarter of 2018, sales rose in five counties, remained static in one, and dropped in nine. The greatest growth was in Skagit and Clallam counties. Jefferson, Kitsap, and Cowlitz counties experienced significant declines.
- The average number of homes for sale rose 11% between the second and third quarters. However, inventory is 14% lower than in the same quarter of 2018. In fact, no county contained in this report had more homes for sale in the third quarter than a year ago.
- Home price growth in Western Washington notched a little higher in the third quarter, with average prices 4.2% higher than a year ago. The average sales price in Western Washington was $523,016. It is worth noting, though, that prices were down 3.3% compared to the second quarter of this year.
- Home prices were higher in every county except Island, though the decline there was very small.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Grays Harbor County, where home prices were up 22%. San Juan, Jefferson, and Cowlitz counties also saw double-digit price increases.
- Affordability issues are driving buyers further out which is resulting in above-average price growth in outlying markets. I expect home prices to continue appreciating as we move through 2020, but the pace of growth will continue to slow.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped one day when compared to the third quarter of 2018.
- Thurston County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 20 days to sell. There were six 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 six counties, while two counties were unchanged.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 38 days to sell a home in the third quarter. This was down 3 days compared to the second quarter of this year.
- Market time remains below the long-term average across the region and this trend is likely to continue until more inventory comes to market, which I do not expect will happen until next spring.
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 and second quarters, as demand appears to still be strong.
The market continues to benefit from low mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed rates is currently around 3.6% and is unlikely to rise significantly anytime soon. Even as borrowing costs remain very competitive, it’s clear buyers are not necessarily jumping at any home that comes on the market. Although it’s still a sellers’ market, buyers have become increasingly price-conscious which is reflected in slowing home price growth.
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.
This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog.
While fall usually brings a decrease in sales activity, the opposite was true in September. The number of listings on the market dropped by double digits and home sales rose. It is still a seller’s market, however prices have stabilized. With interest rates near historic lows and employment levels at historic highs, the housing market is expected to stay strong throughout the fall and winter.
Long the most affluent area of King County, the Eastside continues to record the highest home prices in the region. The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside was $928,500 in September, an increase of 4% from a year ago and a decrease of less than 1% from August. The Eastside construction boom continues, indicating that developers remain confident in the strength of the local economy.
Welcome to the fall issue of Windermere Living! Are you a foodie who loves to travel? Inside this issue is an article about interesting destinations where you can enjoy edible, immersive experiences like making your own coffee on the Kona coast of Hawaii, or diving for clams in Cabo and cooking them with an executive chef.
If you’ve ever undergone a major home remodel, you know all too well how important it is to partner with the right architect. We explore that topic in this issue, along with some pro tips on how to match yourself up with the perfect architect for your project, a process that isn’t that different from dating.
Last but not least, there are more than 70 pages filled with homes for sale throughout the Western U.S. Whether you’re in the market for a country farmhouse or a high-rise condo, there’s a little something for everyone.
This is just a sampling of what you’ll find in this issue of Windermere Living; we hope you enjoy it!
If you are interested in having the magazine delivered to you, let me know and I’d be happy to get you subscribed.
Windermere is proud to partner with the Seattle Seahawks for the fourth season to help #TackleHomelessness. For every Seahawks home game defensive tackle, Windermere will donate $100 to Mary’s Place, whose mission is to help families on their journey out of homelessness. To date, we’ve raised nearly $100,000 through our #TackleHomelessness campaign and we’re looking forward to raising even more for our friends at Mary’s Place!
Check out Mary’s Place and see the positive impact they are having on our community.
It’s back to school time and that can make traffic a bit busy around here. Being aware of the school bell schedule might make it easier to plan your schedule accordingly. Also be aware of the changes made to the east side of Tyee along 138th and plan for drop off accordingly.
There are so many great reasons to carpool, and now Bellevue Schools have teamed with SchoolPool to make it even easier connect you to a carpool in your area.
Most importantly, please bring your patience and allow plenty of time as we adjust to our back to school routines.
Be safe and have a fantastic start to the new year!
Located on a quiet cul-de-sac, one block to elementary school, this updated Somerset home offers all the spaces you’re looking for. Light-filled open concept kitchen/family room, perfect for everyday living. Wall of windows soaks in the views and leads to expansive deck for easy entertaining. Remodeled master suite with custom walk-in closet and five-piece bath. Covered patio surrounded by gorgeous landscaping. So much more plus the best schools: Somerset, Tyee & Newport. You won’t want to miss! Check out the virtual tour here.
We are excited to be participating in the Congregation for Kids school drive again this year! If you haven’t heard about this yet, it is a great cause supporting the kids in the Bellevue School District. They are looking to help 1,656 kids this year with new school supplies to start their year off right.
Amazon links (below) you can use to easily purchase supplies and send them straight to the office, if you would like. You can also make check out to Congregations for Kids/EISCC and we can provide tax receipts to make it super easy for everyone!
We are taking donations and supplies until August 12th If you can’t make it in, I am happy to come by pick up any donations you may have.
4232 136th Pl SE – 3 bedroom – 3 bath – 2360 sq ft
Located at the end of a cul-de-sac in sought after Somerset where privacy and views abound. New deck soaks in the Olympic Mountains and Seattle to Bellevue skylines. Great flow on the main floor with open kitchen, dining and living room. Vaulted ceilings with open beam construction and large floor to ceiling windows create a spacious feel surrounded by nature. Updated kitchen with gorgeous white marbeled granite counters, stainless appliances and tailored beech cabinets. See full listing here.Sweeping views of Bellevue and Seattle skylines framed by snow capped Olympic mountains.
On May 4 the Montlake Cut will play host once again to the Windermere Cup rowing regatta. For the past 33 years, Windermere Real Estate and the University of Washington have joined together to host this event, which brings the world’s best crews to Seattle to compete against the perennially acclaimed UW men’s and women’s teams. Held annually on the first Saturday in May, the Windermere Cup is both an international sporting event and opening day party. The races are followed by the world’s largest boat parade which is put on by the Seattle Yacht Club.
The UW men will go up against one of the oldest programs in rowing, Boston University, and the German National Federation, who is the current World Champion after taking gold in the 2018 World Championship. This is the first time in the Windermere Cup’s 33 year history that the Germans have competed in this regatta. Both will oppose a Washington men’s crew that has been a dominant program in the United States for several decades and came second in last year’s national championship.
The UW women, who also came in second at the 2018 NCAA Championship, will be opposed by the UCLA Bruins who have been a consistent national competitor in the last four NCAA Championships and the German National Federation women’s team, who have rowed in the A final of the eight competition in the past three Under-23 World Championships.
In addition to the 24 crew races throughout the morning, the family-friendly Windermere Cup event also includes food vendors, booths to purchase UW and Windermere Cup apparel and commemorative gear, as well as a bouncy house for the kids and a selfie stand by Snap Bar. The crew races start at 10:15 am and end around noon, followed by the Opening Day Boat Parade.
Windermere Party on the Cut: Boats Brats Beers Bands
In honor of the German National Crews visiting Seattle to race in the Cup races, we’ll be celebrating German-style. So break out your lederhosen and dirndls and come on out to the party! This year’s pre-race Party on the Cut will take place Friday, May 3rd, from 6 PM to 10 PM. Join us on the northeast shore of the Montlake Cut for an evening of live music, lawn games, and food and drinks. Advance tickets are just $20, or $30 at the door. This year features live performances by Nite Wave and Brian DiJulio & the Love Jacks. This event is 21+ and tickets can be found through Brown Paper Tickets.
For more information please visit windermerecup.com and follow us at Facebook.com/WindermereCup, @WindermereCup on Twitter, and @Windermere on Instagram. Share your excitement and your day-of experience by including the official hashtag: #WindermereCup2019.